Towards the end of the first week since the little one was born I thought I would have a total breakdown. I was so weak from the infection I had during and after labour, still on antibiotics and frankly feeling sorry for myself. The question: what have we done with our life? Has crossed my mind and I’m not ashamed of it. The reality of life with a newborn for some is such that it’s completely and utterly overwhelming. For some.
Apparently there are mothers who love every minute of early motherhood, just as there are some babies who sleep in 6h stretches from the 2nd week. Or it’s just another myth, perhaps simply a lie. In my postnatal group Motherspace the rule is that if your baby sleeps through the night you keep this information to yourself. It’s a good rule.
Anyway, the point of this post was to chat openly and honestly about the postpartum period. It turns out I knew close to nothing about postpartum despite my medical knowledge. Th emotional side of things has taken me completely by surprise. So here is my list of things of what postpartum period was for me. I hope it was better for other mamas out there.
Postpartum period is:
- Suddenly being available to another person in the world for 24 hours a day, without breaks. No time to myself is just that – there is NO time when my duty and role is not to look after the baby. My sleep, my meals, what I wear, what I drink is determined by the little person who is now my baby. It’s life changing like nothing else in the world. Not necessarily in the positive sense.
- Crying because I love my baby.
- Waking up every 40 minutes to feed the baby who cannot latch on and screams at my nipples.
- Wishing my baby would finally go to sleep.
- Managing to put the baby down in the Moses basket only to see her awake when I climb into the bed.
- Sitting in a rocking chair for hours at night singing lullabies to calm myself more so than a baby.
- Missing the baby when she’s asleep.
- Feeling guilty that I don’t love my baby enough. This is one of the ridiculous tricks that my mind likes to play on me. Guilt in every form and for every possible reason.
- Mourning the loss of my life before baby.
- Going out for burgers when baby is 3 days old. 3 DAYS OLD.
- Crying all the way back home from the burger place because I’m sore and tired and should never have left the house, but I wanted my old life back so desperately that I HAD to do something to feel like myself again.
- Reading medical journals on my iPod whilst breastfeeding to convince myself that there is some grey matter left in my brain.
- Sore nipples. Yes we will chat about boobs, because nowadays they are out for about 90% of the time when I’m at home. And having someone on your nipple for 5h a day is sore and uncomfortable and makes you question evolution. My husband believes that men should breastfeed, since women already have to go through pregnancy and birth. I’m not sure what I think about men with full bosom but it would make sense, wouldn’t it?
- Massive perky boobs on day 3 when my milk came in.
- Screaming baby who does not know how on earth to latch on to a massive rock solid boob full of milk.
- Drenching sweats during the night.
- Such extent of fluid retention in my legs and around my ankles that I can fell water moving under my skin when I stand up.
- Loosing 2.5 stones in the first 4 weeks since birth because I lost my appetite just when I have to spend extra 500 calories a day due to breastfeeding.
- Massive black pants from Primark. Size 20, no less.
- Ice packs with lavender oil = lifesaver.
- Lavender oil in the shower – dissolves anxiety almost as well as tight hugs from J.
- Saggy tummy which surprisingly doesn’t even bother me that much. Mostly because the only thing I care about is sleep.
- Pain medications, antibiotics, high blood pressure pills- times and doses written in tiny hand writing by J.
- Thinking I’d never be able to leave the house.
- Reminiscing about the time on post-natal ward and being reminded by J that it was actually awful.
- Thinking we are all going to die before morning when baby screams blue murder at my nipples all night, refuses to latch on and we have no other way to feed her.
- Dreaming that I have to give the baby up to Scottish mafia (does it even exist?).
- Learning how to leave the house on my own in 4th week.
- Going for a 7km walk each day of week 4.
- Saying hi to the lollipop lady in front of the school I’m passing on my daily walk.
- Discovering a new cafe in Tollcross called Leo and Ted and going there for take away coffee more often than I should or can afford.
- Going for coffee with friends in week 5.
- Absolutely no strength in my abdominal muscles meaning I have to stand up from the bed and sit down again as I physically cannot shuffle my bum up to the headboard to lean back and breastfeed at night.
- Realizing that I should have taken it easy from day 1.
- Managing to read one book and finish one crochet project in the first month since baby was born.
- Hoping I will enjoy motherhood more with each week
- Asking for time without baby and feeling OK with it. Not like I have to be super grateful for it. I deserve time off. Every mum does.
- Crying in post-natal support group because other people feel the same as me and I thought I was the odd one out.
- Accepting that this is now my life.
- Learning to enjoy motherhood, accepting that it’s OK if I don’t love it straight away and giving myself space to feel what I feel.
PS. I write more often on Instagram @thefleetingday.