Saturday, October 5, 2013

Postpartum pretty much sucks


 
If you've had a baby, chances are you know what I'm saying.
 
When the birth high ends.
 
When the adrenaline winds down.
 
 When the company leaves (if you're lucky)
 
I'm almost six weeks out from having Rowen. Technically she's an infant now instead of a newborn. And goodness is she a doll.

 

 
 A fussy, spitting-up, still-sweet-as-can-be, doll.
 
I'm one of the lucky ones.
Her birth was completely uncomplicated.
I had no medical issues, not a stitch, nothing.
 
I'm just gonna say right now that if you had a c-section and managed to take care of your baby in those days afterwards, you are my hero.
 
She took to breastfeeding right away. Thanks to having nursed through my pregnancy I had no soreness whatsoever.
 
I'm just gonna say right now if you had a hard time breastfeeding at first (most of us do) and you stuck with it anyways, you are my hero.
I've been there and it sucks.
 
Even as lucky as I was, postpartum still sucks.
There is still seemingly incessant crying.
Feeling like you are the only one that can pacify your baby is frustrating at times.
 
Our culture isn't great about taking care of moms postpartum.
Our culture seems to have this attitude that moms are supposed to be back up and running in record time.
Magazines show us images of celebrity moms, who thanks to trainers and nannies and dieticians are back to their pre baby bodies in less time than it takes the rest of us to even think about exercising again.
 
Standard maternity leave in this country is six weeks. Unpaid.
 
There is no standard paternity leave.
 
We are one of a very few countries of our size and economic status where this is the case.
 
I'm just gonna say right now if you had to take your baby to childcare at six weeks so you could work to put food on the table, you are my hero.
 
There are these expectations that life is supposed to go back to exactly like it was before birth, and the shorter the time that takes the better.
We feed these expectations and we don't even know it.
We get on Facebook and see statuses and photos of new moms adoring their sweet babies.
New moms out and about with styled hair and perfect after maternity wardrobes.
And then we feel like we need to do the same.
 
I'm guilty of it. I went to a birth rally when Rowen was eight days old.
Even managed to get on the news.
The truth is, I had no business being there that day. And the next day I barely got out of bed.
Except you didn't see that on Facebook.
 
What I really should have posted was that I was tired, sore and needed some help.
What I really should have posted was that as lucky as we were for Will to have ten days off, I needed him to take some more time to help with our older kids.
What I should have posted was that I was scared to death to take care of all three by myself everyday.
 
But I didn't. And I had a week from hell a couple of weeks ago because of it.
I was completely overwhelmed before I finally asked him for some help.
I didn't do it in the most graceful way, either. I'm sure you're shocked.
He got the following week off. I informed him I would be laying in bed nursing Rowen and letting my body recover like it needed to.
And then we found out his Dad was sick. And we planned a quick trip to Oklahoma.
15 hours away with a 3 year old, 1 year old, a newborn and two dogs.
And people thought we were nuts.
Except that it wasn't bad. I got to just sit for several hours at once.
I got to talk to my husband.
My body and mind did more healing in that 15 hours than it had in the five weeks since Rowen was born.
 
With all the expectations we have its hard to let go of this blissful newborn stage image in our heads.
The truth is though, my house is still a wreck.
Rowen still nurses very frequently and it feels like I will never get anything done.
I still hate looking at my body and seem to find a new strechmark every day.
My older children are still adjusting and we deal with jealous behavior every day.
I'm not any nicer during three a.m. feedings than I was with my first two babies.
We're still rarely on time to anything.
I still feel like Will and I get no time together and miss him like crazy even though we live in the same house.
I still feel isolated at times.
Our bed and my clothing still constantly smell of spit up.

I'd do it all again, because they are oh so worth it.
But its hard.
And its okay to say that.
 
So, if you're a new mom and things aren't going like you pictured, try not to stress.
It never does. I promise.
I'm on my third baby and I still need that reassurance sometimes.
 
If you know a new mom, help her out.
Offer to take her older kids for a few hours.
Bring a meal, if you can.
Offer to help with chores.
 
It can make all the difference.
 
 

1 comment:

  1. Britni! YOU are killing me! I wish I could be there to help - even a some small way!! I know you will manage to make it through all of these days and nights, and if you were here, I probably wouldn't be around to help that much! I'm barely making it myself! LOL! I'm so glad you got all of those feelings written down and shared them. You will no doubt help someone feel better about her situation and help her realize life isn't all about cute dresses, bows, jeans and boots for her little ones! Those can be nice distractions, I guess? I believe you and Will have found a good way to manage three kids about as good as anyone has, though, and your connection to your friends and family on fb has to be a nice outlet - a place to share some of your joys and fears. Hang in there - only one minute at a time. Housekeeping can wait until you just can't stand it anymore and then you'll have a rush of energy and a moment in time to get it done! I don't know if you use music to lift your mood, but if I'm feeling down, I try to find uplifting Christian songs or fun pop songs to sing and dance around to! Chewing gum even makes me feel better! LOL! Love you kiddo! You are an inspiration to ME!!

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