My Pregnancy: Postpartum Week 6

postpartumIt’s the end of the blogging journey for us, six weeks after baby’s birth. We’ve covered those first hesitant weeks of hoping this pregnancy would go all the way to feelings around gender and managing work while symptomatic. I spent time talking about the rough and happy parts of pregnancy and the great anticipation of waiting until baby finally arrives. I spoke to the exhausting challenges of having several children and my journey as a C-section mama, anticipating another cesarean birth. I spoke to the healing of it all, the challenges of breastfeeding, and now here we are.

What would I, as a mom of three, want to impart on a new family? If asked advice, what would I want them to know?

  • Life changes, and with that comes grief. It could be you wanted the natural birth and had an epidural or C-section. Or maybe baby came earlier, much earlier, than expected. Maybe you experience loss in those late nights when you just want sleep. When your friends want to catch dinner and drinks but you can’t stand the thought of leaving your young one or have to find the money for a sitter, this great bundle of joy is also a source of great change and sometimes it hurts. Life abounds around you but give a little space for your losses and don’t feel guilty. Process that pain.
  • Get out! It’s worth the trouble. If you can’t afford a sitter, simply accept when someone offers their time. You can also trade—you watch my kid an hour and I’ll watch yours an hour. Grab coffee with a friend, dinner with your hubby, run a few errands, take a longer shower, or just go for a quiet walk. Make it 20 minutes or 4 hours, whatever you can manage. If you don’t have someone, start investing in a person, a friend, someone else’s babysitter, a church member, or someone else with whom you can build trust. I’m not saying you need to go on three-day vacations, but I truly believe sanity can be found in short bursts of autonomy.
  • You have the opportunity to be more vulnerable than ever before. Sure, you can try to tidy up before someone brings you dinner or you can just let your life be as it is. Accepting help is a form of vulnerability. Or maybe you want to cover your tears when you cry for “no reason.” Don’t try to play strong when in reality you are super hero strength! Who else could manage staying up through the night, changing diapers endlessly, rationed showering, balancing one or more children, feeding non-stop, and all the other ceaseless needs of children while hyped up on a large dose of hormones and, for some, pain meds? Batman move aside!
  • You look great, mama. In all your swollen feet-dirty hair- comfy clothes glory, you are a rock star. How you “look” doesn’t matter, but I know deep down it probably does. So I say embrace the belly, the leaky breasts, and the stain-covered shirts. It’s the season of life you’re living. Live it. When you’re ready, take some walks and pull out something besides yoga gear—I find it lifts my spirits to carve out just a little space to care for myself.
  • Grace, grace, grace. Offer your mother grace when she says not quite the right thing. She’s learning to be a grandma just like you’re learning to be a mom. Same with hubby. Offer yourself grace when you mess up or think you did. It happens. Your worth is not dependent upon doing everything “right,” whatever that even means.
  • Break the rules you set for yourself. Maybe that means having a few disposables on hand when you committed to cloth. Use the co-sleeper, swing, or whatever else you have in your arsenal to let the baby sit while you take your shower or fix a lunch, even if it means baby cries for a minute and you swore you’d never make let your baby cry. A couple of minutes are ok when it brings you some respite to meet the day with renewed strength and patience.  Sit with the feelings of wanting to run away instead of covering them up because you said you really would “enjoy every minute.” It’s hard. Pretending it is not doesn’t help.
  • You got this mama.

Annie is a mom of two boys, ages two and four, and now a newborn gal. She is taking in every moment of every day because, let’s be honest, she’s not getting much sleep. 

Tags: family, fourth trimester, multiple children, new baby, postpartum, pregnancy, recovery, third trimester

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