Motherhood. I have discovered that this new role in my life is full of love, anxiety and lack of sleep! Yet, it has been a life changing and completely rewarding experience. This month I’ll be highlighting 6 things I learned my first 6 months in, as a new mommy. These are merely a collection of my experiences and advice for soon-to-be moms.
☀️ 1: Labor can be hard but what happens during post-partum is just as challenging and you will be tested – emotionally, physically & mentally. Listen to your body, take naps when baby does, ask for help and remember that this phase is only temporary!
All of the books out there talk about pregnancy and labor – but why is it that no one really ever talks about what happens after? Every experience for a woman is different and I get that, but what I didn’t realize is that after hours of labor, lack of sleep, and the mixture of pure joy and anxiety that comes with being a new parent — you all of sudden are thrown into caring for this little human and you’re not at 100%. It sounds silly now when I think about it, but it came as a shock to me at the time. From the day your little one is born at the hospital you are bombarded with nurses, testing and you don’t get more than an hour of sleep at a time (if that!). This is due to the hospital rotations, check-ups for you and baby, as well as overall anxiety of being a new parent, making sure your baby is breathing, feedings, diaper changes and more!
For me (and to be frank), my recovery really sucked. At the hospital, when you have a natural birth, they say some folks can leave as early as 24 hours if the baby and momma looks good – but that most parents stay 48 hours after birth. For me, I had to stay longer because I couldn’t pee on my own and needed a catheter. Walking around with a pee-bag attached to my leg wasn’t exactly a highlight for me. While the situation sucked, staying at the hospital a little longer ended up being the best thing for me! Why? My husband needed a break and we had both not had any good sleep for about 72 hours. By me staying at the hospital to heal and get help from the nurses, my husband was able to go home to take care of our animals and sleep. That night alone ended up being a true saving grace for us. Not only were the nurses amazing and helpful with me while I was learning to breastfeed and pump, they also watched my daughter for me while I tried to get in 2 hours of solid sleep. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot of sleep, but for me, it made me somewhat better at functioning.
Once I was finally able to go to the bathroom on my own and our daughter passed all the health checks and hearing test, we were discharged from the hospital and we came home. Home was the best, but it was also a little hard to adjust to at first because I had liked being able to call a nurse if I needed some help breastfeeding or walking to the bathroom! My husband had called in some reinforcements, a.k.a. his Mom, who came to help! I must say, at first I wasn’t sure how I would feel about having family in our home the first few days, but for me, it was a BLESSING. She was so helpful and she was able to watch Rose while I slept or pumped! When you’re not at 100%, any little bit of help from cooking to laundry will go a long way!
In the end, you will figure out how to get through it. Trust me when I say, there is an inner strength that comes to you as a new mom. You are going to go through so many changes – hormonally, physically, mentally, and emotionally. There will be moments you may get angry or frustrated or just break down and cry when you realize that you really have no time for yourself or to even re-group. Just breathe and know you’re not alone. This little human you’ve brought into the world was meant to have you as a mommy and you will get through this time. You already know what to do – just trust your instincts.
“This period is only temporary”.
I’d recommend putting this mantra above on a sticky-note and place it in a spot you will see it often. Remember that any issues you may face after giving birth, most likely will only be temporary. 😉 Cherish the moments your munchkin is little and get every snuggle in that you can to strengthen your bond – they really do grow up so fast!