Since I’ve gone through the process of giving birth and experiencing the first few weeks of a newborns life once already, I have an idea of what to expect this time around. I also have determined what signs to look out for and how to keep myself on track this time too.
Giving birth is literally no joke and I wish someone would’ve told me what it would really be like afterwards. I was so naive and uneducated last time, that afterwards was an absolute shock to my body and mind. This time around I’m making sure I’m doing a few things to prepare myself for postpartum.
One of the biggest things about giving birth is that you never know what’s going to happen or how it’ll happen unless you literally schedule a c-section or an induction. Even during an induction though things can change and you have no idea how long it’s going to take for baby to make it’s entrance. Once baby has arrived though, you experience a euphoria you never knew of. Yes, you finally get to meet your precious baby but you become extremely fragile. It’s not only a total mess “down there” but you’re emotions are all over the place. I remember with my son, right after I had him, a huge wall (best way to describe it) or feeling came over me. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I was happy, but I became very tired and foggy.
Two things I’m going to be on the look-out for right after birth:
- Baby Blues
- Postpartum Depression
After about a year of having my son, I started to look back on the past few months and wonder what happened to me? Or what was wrong with me? I slowly but surely realized that I had suffered from postpartum depression, but it did take me a while to accept it and know what it was. I had never been someone who struggled with depression before, but since having my son I knew that that was what I was suffering from.
I recall coming home from the hospital for the first time and looking at my sister’s dog and just feeling so sad for it I started to cry. Such a weird thing for me to do, but that was the weighted feeling of emotions I was having after birth. So many hormones were in my body that immediately after birth they all changed and it was shocking to my body. These were called the baby blues. I even remember going to my son’s first or second doctors appointment a week or so after his delivery and crying at the counter for no apparent reason.
I truly couldn’t understand what was wrong with me those first few months. I couldn’t sleep even if I had someone fully capable of watching my son. I would wake up thinking he was dying or couldn’t breath. I’d have anxiety attacks and have to have my neighbor come over and take my son from me for a little while.
I remember my husband’s family was in town to visit a few short weeks after I had given birth too and we went to Ikea to get some things for our new place. I remember just not wanting to be there and wanting to be home sleeping. I was exhausted and every time someone would ask me a question to make a decision on something, I couldn’t. I just had them make them for me. I don’t even know some of the things we bought that day until of quite recent. I’ve pulled out random things in the kitchen and have asked myself where it came from and then realized it was from that shopping trip two years ago.
Things I’m going to do if I notice any of these previous symptoms:
- Find help right away – through my doctors office/hospital
- Having a support group is very important (meeting once a week)
- Setting up scheduled help and time off is also very important after birth too. For both you and your significant other.
- Asking for help from friends and family
- Finding time and a way to possibly get a workout in eventually, like yoga.
- Be as present as I can
- Do things that make me happy, not stressed
- Not put so much pressure on myself
A few things I’m doing to prepare for what’s to come:
- Meal Prepping
- Having meals pre made is the best thing you could do for yourself. You aren’t going to have time to make food and more than likely not going to have the energy to either. If your breastfeeding you’ll be so hungry all the time also that you’re going to need those meals ready to pop in the microwave or oven.
- Asking respectfully for some space
- There is going to be a lot of people who are going to want to come visit me and see our new baby. It’s only normal for them to, but if I don’t feel comfortable housing them or feeling overwhelmed about it then it’s probably not a good idea.
- It’s best to let your friends and family know when you’re ready. Just let everyone know how you are doing and what you’re going through.
- Reminding myself that it gets better (This is HUGE for me)
- This period of time seems like forever but it’s only really a few short months. I’ll feel and look like a zombie, but it only gets better with time.
- I have to remember to remind myself this and to actually give myself and my body the time it needs.
- This will be my mantra. It’s only temporary.
Besides all the emotional things I’ll be going through after baby is born, I will also be experiencing some very real, physical changes. After carrying a baby for 9 months, my tummy is going to become a big mushy mess. I really hope to breastfeed this time around too. There are so many positive side effects along with hardships in the beginning of doing it. Most importantly though I just want to at least try and go from there. I’m hoping the breastfeeding will help in reducing bleeding (I suffered major blog clots after my son was born.) I’m also hoping to help contract my uterus back to normal size faster and provide my baby with the nutrients it desires. (Granted my son has turned out to be pretty strong and healthy so far and he’s pretty much a formula baby.)
I’ve bought some products this time around to help with the first I’d say two/three weeks after birth that I’ll share with you:
- Belly Band
- Perineal Spray – The hospital does provide you with some of this stuff, but a different kind (Dermoplast). This one is for when I get home.
- Large Pads – Don’t laugh, I’ll need’m! (I should honestly just buy adult diapers)
- Ice Packs – Again, don’t laugh…
- Prenatal Vitamins – I will continue to take these for awhile after given birth
This list might get a little longer or change after baby arrives, but this is the bases I’m working with. I mean I had to have a catheter put in at one point during delivery because well… You get the point. It’s just going to be a mess but hopefully not as rough of a go as last time. Fingers Crossed!
I hope this post allows other moms, especially first time moms, the chance to open their minds to what could happen to them too. I just want you to know you’re not alone and it happens to a ton of other moms. Just being aware, prepared, and having a support system is very crucial to recovery. Allow yourself the time to heal, be selfish with it, and listen to your body.
It’ll get better, I promise.