I want to touch on a subject that I feel is placed on the backburner of pregnancy, babies and labor and delivery topics- the postpartum period.
This is my own experience and opinions and every women has a different experience.
Women go through pregnancy and the end result is a beautiful little bundle of joy. The process of bringing a child into this world is like none other. It’s the definition of life, it’s beautiful and I’m still in awe everytime I look at Aiden.
There is, however, another part of this process that is often time overlooked, especially in our society – the postpartum period women go through. I don’t want to sound negative, but I think this is something that women should be prepared for when they are pregnant. I know when I was pregnant, I researched all about the birth process and knew exactly how I wanted that to go. I took a childbirth class and learned all about the unnecessary medical interventions that I was going to try to avoid. I felt very prepared for the time I was going to spend in the hospital. I was not prepared for what came after I had Aiden in my arms. I don’t know why but I didn’t give much thought into what was next.
Here are the symptoms I wasn’t prepared for:
Blood loss. I didn’t realize the amount of blood loss that occurred. I knew that you bled, but I didn’t realize that it could last for the entire 6 week period. I was a little frightened the first time I went to the bathroom post baby.
Hair loss. I also knew this was a possibility, but I didn’t think that clumps would be coming out regularly. I have thick hair so I’m okay, but hair strands EVERYWHERE is a little annoying.
Dizziness. This is from being tired and anemic from all the blood loss. It doesn’t occur all the time, but does happen here and there.
Hot flashes. Again with the hormones, but at night I go to bed just fine and in the middle of it when I wake up for a feeding, I realize I’m drenched in sweat.
Body pain. Birth is hard. It’s especially hard on the mama’s body. I didn’t realize just how sore I’d be down there and for how long. It took about 1.5 weeks before I could move normally. Use witch hazel pads to help. My lower back and tailbone were sore for a couple of weeks also. I think it’s due to breastfeeding, but my upper back, neck and shoulders need either a massive cupping session or a massage pronto. Yesterday it hurt to take a deep breath!
The emotions. They are getting better now that I’m 7 weeks out, but in the first couple of weeks, they were all over the place. One minute, I’d be crying tears of joy and then the next feeling so overwhelmed. I’m still much more emotional than I was pre-baby. Just be patient with yourself if you’ve just had a baby.
With all the crazy symptoms, there were some things I did to help alleviate them.
1. Had help! My mom came and stayed for two weeks with us. She cooked, cleaned, alleviated me from baby duty so I could sleep, ran our errands, did laundry, and took care of any other business we needed. David was also off work for 4 weeks after that, so that helped a ton as well. He was a great help.
2. I got my placenta encapsulated. I didn’t get to take it due to being on coumadin for my blood clotting disorder until this week, but I’ve heard great things about taking that first thing. I’ll let you know how I do with it 7 weeks postpartum
3. Acupuncture treatments. I gave myself either acupuncture or did moxa treatments about 5 days a week for the first 2 weeks and then decreased it from there to now about 1 time per week. I know not everyone is an acupuncturist, but try to visit one postpartum. I promise it’ll be money well spent! You obviously don’t have to do it daily.
4. Prioritize. This was difficult for me because I have a hard time saying no to people and I hate letting things go, but during this time you just have to. There were times that I didn’t say no to people and it turned into me being exhausted and teary which translated into the baby doing the same. Take other people’s advice when they say that laundry and cleaning can wait. Only do the things that are a necessity for the first couple of weeks. Everything else will be there when you’re ready!
5. Support. Find a support system that you can talk to. I talk to my mom everyday and she helps me through the thick and thin. I also confide in my husband, although women understand better I think. I have started going to a mom’s group and hanging out with more moms. They give invaluable advice, camaraderie and friendship.
AND remember that when you think you can’t do this (as all mama’s do), you are already doing it. Each and everyday, you’re doing it!