Thank you to my big sister, who’s a midwife and helped me writing this article.
Post partum = Time after the birth of the child, from labor to the return of our periods.
After talking about the 6 things I wish I knew before having a kid, here, I wanted to talk about the day that made me a mother.
We are Tuesday, it’s 10 : 52 am I just gave birth to my first child. I had imagined this moment for 9 long months. No more walking like a penguin, pee breaks every 2 seconds. I don’t have the possibility to put my plate and cup on my big belly. The wrestling inside? Gone too. Time for the meeting is here.
After pushing for 10 minutes, I lay my eyes on my baby and I just can’t believe it. I don’t realize. The midwifes measure and weigh him. I’m just wondering “That’s it? That’s all? ” my mother in law is in tears by my side while my emotions left me. I look at my now empty belly then my son seeking an answer to a question I don’t have.
Everything’s fine, baby’s fine. Daddy is happy, everyone else in my family is joyful and mommy, well mommy is still waiting for a brain to comprehend that she’s a mommy, I lack words to describe what I feel. Once alone in my room, I can’t stop fix my baby who’s sleeping near me. And in the calm my feelings come back little by little finally the new of my labor had been accepted by my brain. This love built during 9 months is back, and almost made my heart burst.
My mother in law adviced me to enjoy and rest. I got only a few visits. And that was a great thing it helped me have an intimacy from the first moments with me, myself and my baby. The night of the birth in front of my room’s mirror, I lived my first physical upheaval, the body I used to know? I don’t recognize it. Stretch marks are everywhere, my belly looks like jelly.
That’s not what bothered me the most, it was how I felt. I was in pain, tired and I had to deal with this feeling of detachment with my own body that I couldn’t understand. It was mine but at the same time it wasn’t really anymore. And I was asking myself the same question over and over : “How I’m gonna use the toilet?! “
Now I have a superpower : making milk. Can you do that? A super power that hurted me the first week to be honest I almost gave up, thankfulky a nice person encouraged me to keep going. Having people helping us going through nursing is so essential, because it’s so easy to quit.
And when I thought the contractions were over and behind me, the trenches appeared ! Because madam uterus must go back to her place, causing us pain too with contractions…
But my baby was still perfect, after I get the grip on how to change a diaper, how to nurse everything was fine. The hospital had truly been a cocoon for me, this impression to be in a reality outside of the reality. Meanwhile I lost all the hair I haven’t lost during my pregnancy, my hormones were falling down. I had to deal with my lochia (blood we lost after giving birth) and once back at home I had to readjust all my life. It was all about the baby, which is normal yet strange. It was as if I didn’t have a life before him, and 3 days ago laying in the hospital bed was the first day of the rest of my life.
What’s not normal, it’s to feel depress for days, sometimes weeks after giving birth. I’m not talking about baby blues, but post partum depression. In that case we shouldn’t stay alone, we have to talk to someone and ask for help around us. Labor weakens us physically and mentally, we have to surround ourselves with people who are there for us, who understand what we are going through and know how to advice us. Our baby needs attention, but so do we. So no negativity, and it’s forbidden to compare ourselves with the others ! If someone else baby is calm and sleep at nights, good for her, it will be us too one day. Patience is required when we have a baby.
What’s not normal either, it’s this pressure we put on ourselves with this need that everything must be like it used to. Starting with our body, I made this mistake with my first, I was ashamed of my jelly belly, my stretch marks without telling myself :” Hey, chill you just got a baby! ”. My mother in law repeated that it takes 9 months to have a baby, it will take as long to recover.
There is also this need to do everything right, right now. After only a few weeks being at the top everywhere, without letting us the right to be wrong. Not letting us time to enjoy this new life, this new role. Yes we need to eat, have a house that’s not a mess but sometimes at what cost? When we have this dilemma where we don’t know what to choose between a nap, tidy a little or cook a lot. A decision that we rarely take without pression or guiltiness, especially when we choose ourselves.
Which shows once more the importance to have strong support, to say “yes, you can help me” because it’s too easy to feel overwhelmed by those new foreigns feelings. To feel like we can’t do it, or being crushed in front of those unknown challenges that make motherhood what it is : unique.
I keep a fond memory of my two labors and the life after. It was difficult of course, I made plenty of mistakes and that’s why I’m always telling myself, if there is a thrid pregnancy, I will be more indulgent with myself. I refuse to live with whatever pressure mental or physical, coming from me or the others.
Ok now tell me about your post partum, do you have a good or bad memory of it? What did you learn from it?