Hey friends! It’s been a crazy couple of days.. He’s such a good baby but, he doesn’t sleep consistently so #exhausted, he eats every 3 hours, I’m still pumping, trying to take care of myself, take care of our house, have a social life and a marriage still…sooo…it’s hard. Welcome to mom life, right? Today I want to talk about something really personal and relevant to me right now though, that I don’t think is talked about enough and that’s postpartum. People always talk about “what to expect when you’re expecting”, and people talk about how sleep deprived you are with a newborn…but I don’t think people really prepare you for what the postpartum season looks like for mom. So, I want to share some of my experience with y’all today.
Keep in mind, everyone’s postpartum journey is different. The more we talk about it, the more normal the “craziness” is normal. So, take what I say with a grain of salt because your experience might be totally different. A lot of what your postpartum journey looks like will have to do with what your birth experience was like. (In case you missed it, I shared my birth story with Corbin in this blog post). So, I am now 4 weeks and 3 days. I knew after having a baby I wouldn’t be allowed to work out or have sex for 6 weeks. I knew I’d be sleep deprived from having a newborn, but that was about it. I’ve been surprised by A LOT of things. So, first let’s just talk about what you can physically expect as a woman during the first month.
When we first got home from the hospital with Corbin…my mom was still here, which I was so thankful for. The pain from a c-section was B.A.D, luckily I was still on pain meds. But the emotions were uncontrollable. I had to keep telling myself, “This is all so normal and your body will bounce back.” In that moment though, I was just so taken back by how sore and how exhausted my body was…I’m so used to being very active, capable, and fit. So I felt pretty helpless.
Luckily our master is downstairs, so I pretty much never left our bedroom. The furthest I’d go was the kitchen and that was about it, I kept Corbin with me all the time. When I did have to leave the house, I was moving slow. We only left the house for doctor visits and I couldn’t drive for the first two weeks because of the pain meds I was taking. You might be reading this and thinking “duh Kirstin. you just had a baby.” But I just wasn’t expecting this, clearly because I didn’t expect to have an emergency c-section.
In addition to just feeling so sore and SO exhausted…I also wasn’t aware how much you bled after giving birth with a c-section. (Sorry if this is TMI or if it grosses you out). But I didn’t realize you wear pads for a LONG time after giving birth because you’re bleeding for a while! I knew this was the case for a vaginal birth, but not a c-section. Again, every woman is different so some bleed longer than others I’m sure. But I was definitely still consistently bleeding for at least a week, if not the first month. It’s now just slowing down.
Another thing I had no idea to expect…I was absolutely full of emotions and crying all the time. Just about everything I would cry over, even the silly things. I couldn’t control the highs and lows of my feelings. Lots of tears. I had no clue that was a thing haha so let this be a warning to you! It’s normal, and it’s okay! The weepiness is real, but I knew it wouldn’t last forever. Luckily for me, I never felt distant from my baby, but I was having SEVERE anxiety. It got to a point where it was taking over my day and night. Luckily, my husband spoke up to the doctor and helped me tell him. The doctor advice I start taking medicine, and I’m so glad I am! It gives me a break and helps so much. At first I was super disappointed, but I knew this was something I had to do to be the best mom I could be.
The last thing I’ll say that I was surprised by with postpartum things was the fact that the female body is amazing and WILL GO BACK TO NORMAL.. I’m definitely not there yet. My body doesn’t feel “normal” necessarily…but I’m now walking as much as I can, I’m not taking any more pain pills, not experiencing pain…and that’s amazing. Your body will heal, it will recover, you just have to take care of it.
- Shower everyday. Your baby will be okay for 10 minutes. If you are worried, put your baby on the floor in the bathroom on a Dockatot. Do something small like this for yourself EVERYDAY!
- Make your bed everyday. There’s nothing like a made bed in the mornings, throughout the day and when you head to bed.
- Don’t worry about laundry or household chores. I’m super OCD, so this category didn’t change for me. I still cleaned and did laundry like normal. Some can let it go, I can’t. Sometimes cleaning and doing laundry is therapeutic.
- Give yourself grace. Your body just grew a tiny human for 9 months. Your body will not look the same, but giving yourself grace is important. Also I found reminding yourself that it will take time helps. Honestly, I notice a difference in my body each day.
- Eat three meals a day. It’s super hard for me sometimes to eat during the day. Your schedule is off, which puts your meals off schedule too. However, eating is important for your body and mind.
- Listen to music. Corbin and I will sit and listen to worship music (our favorite) every day! Find your favorite type of music and listen to it. It can get quiet when you are home alone with your baby, music helps.
- Go for a walk. Getting outside helps your mental state I promise. I know sometimes all you want to do is veg, but getting out to walk makes a huge difference.
- Find a support team. We have no family in Texas, so we have to rely heavily on our support from friends. Luckily we have an amazing group of friends from church and other friends here in Texas. If it wasn’t for them, I would drown. I find that when people ask to help ACCEPT IT! You’re not a bad mom for asking for help or accepting the help. You need it. You and your husband can’t do it alone!
- Power naps are key. I’m still trying to teach myself this one. I get about an hour and a half stretch of sleep at night – maybe 2 or 3 times right now. So it’s key to power nap during the day when you can – even if it’s just 30 minutes. My natural instinct is “Corbin is sleeping! I can get work done!” But, if you forego sleep, before too long your body will burn out. You will have an emotional breakdown. Force yourself to choose sleep.
- Take care of yourself / do something that makes you happy! If it’s possible for you to get out of the house for maybe an hour – do it! I got my nails done a week after Corbin was born and it felt so good to get out of the house and pamper myself a little bit. Once I could start going for walks, I started strolling with Corbin everyday and the fresh air did wonders for me! (Only if the weather was good) It’s so important in this first postpartum period to still take care of yourself and do things that make you happy! A face mask, a manicure, long showers, a bath, or a nice walk around the block…these things will remind you that you are still YOU!
Love from Texas,