Postpartum recovery is not the easiest thing. After having three babies and three completely different births, I have learned some interesting lessons.
With Big D my labor was long and it was an induction. The recovery was less than ideal and being a first time mom I was so lost. I remember the postpartum nurse coming into the room and advising me on how to take care of my stitches and what to do and not do when I got home. I was so lost and confused. If J hadn’t been in the room I know I would not have remember a word she said about nursing and D’s sleeping patterns. No one prepared me for the events after labor and I wish I would have asked more questions. Going home with a newborn was not easy and even though we had help, adjusting from just our needs to a baby’s needs was tough. There were a lot of sleepless nights because I would check to make sure Big D was breathing, while he slept in his bassinet.
Little D’s birth was what I had envisioned for a perfect birth. We hired a doula and had the freezer packed with meals. My family was in town and would be for the first week to help with my recovery. Everything was great until it wasn’t. Little D had to be rushed to the NICU after birth because of his breathing and I was a mess. Instead of recovering at home and bonding with Big Brother, we spent a week living in the hospital and being grateful that our little guy was coming home after a round of antibiotics. With Little D, I learned to let go because I had no choice. Though the recovery from his birth was easier than Big D’s (there was no swelling and I did not have stitches), for our family getting adjusted took more time. Big D met his brother a week after his birth. He was jealous and moody and I had a hard time bonding with both babies because I was so scared that my little one was sick. After Little D’s birth, J went back to work a week after we got home from the NICU and I began to feel lost. I have always dealt with anxiety issues and during this recovery time my anxiety kept reappearing. Having a toddler and newborn was not easy. Adjusting took a longer time than I had expected.
Baby three is a new game. I no longer feel guilty about asking for help. I immediately decided that I had no choice but to relax. J was able to stay home from work for two weeks and it was amazing. Baby G’s labor was long but physically it was not as intense as Big D’s. After labor she nursed and we were moved to our own room. She slept and because I felt like the world was spinning I ate. Coming home was an easier transition because the boys knew they were going to have a baby. There was no wait to get released from the NICU like Little D’s recovery. Also J’s sister was amazing and helped by coming over for a couple of days and she entertained the boys. The hardest part of this recovery is feeling like I am not spending enough time with each kid. I feel bad saying please wait while I help (Child) and then I can help you.
From all three births I have learned five important rules for any recovery.
1. Throw the Guilt Out the Window: The house will never be spotless and laundry will always pile up. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and snuggle all of your babies even if it is at 6 am during a nursing session.
2. Plans are Great but Reality will Hit: I am a planner. I always have been but each recovery has taught me that it is better to go with the flow. Leave room for life.
3. Bond: Allow the older kids to meet their baby as soon as possible. Ask them to help you with the baby. Getting the diaper, reading a book to the baby, and even running to the fridge for a snack for a nursing mom makes them feel important.
4. Ask : I wish I would have asked more about what to expect when you recover from birth. Ask for help, ask friends for freezer meals and ask your spouse to go grocery shopping. Ask your family to wait a couple of weeks before everyone decides to visit. Ask about postpartum anxiety and depression. Ask friends to come over and hold the baby while you shower. Ask your husband to take the big kid to the park. Don’t feel guilty just smile and know this season will be over soon.
5. Accept your Body: Each baby has given me more stretch marks and has made me question how I feel. I may never wear a bikini again, but in reality I never did. I may wear yoga pants everyday for the next three months but it is way better than having to zip up pants. I say accept your body but I also want you to know that there will be days you do not like you when you look in the mirror and that is ok. But don’t worry about it your body made a baby and it was designed to do just that. Being a mom is beautifully messy and God decided that our bodies would be a reminder of the beauty we were able to grow inside.
Check back tomorrow for more #write 31 days.