#3 This may be your new normal
The first week is the hardest
It’s true, the first week home is the hardest because everything is new for everyone. I kept telling people I felt high, I was so exhausted and sleep deprived it makes you completely zoned out. You’re body is so sore and you sleep for a couple hours at a time if you’re lucky. You’re learning how to feed your baby and your baby is learning how to feed for the first time ever and it’s stressful. We place a lot of pressure on ourselves and unfortunately some people in your life will add to that pressure which makes it even harder. I experienced what’s called the “baby blues” this is not the same as postpartum. The baby blues is where you cry all the time in the beginning because your hormones are going crazy and you’re exhausted and I did, I cried at everything. I would cry literally just looking at her because I was so in love I couldn’t help it. I didn’t realize the level of pure love and obsession I would have with her and it was overwhelming to be honest, I didn’t know how I was ever going to do anything without her ever again, but you do. I was very fortunate to not experience postpartum depression but it is a real thing and is very common, if you feel like your experiencing even a little bit of that try and find some support to get you through it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and is very common and the sooner you seek help the sooner you can move past it, but I want to talk about the physical part of postpartum and talk about the emotional later.
Let’s talk about your body! No one likes this part whether you gained 100lbs or 15lbs your body went through a huge change. You created a human being with your body and that is incredible but it doesn’t make it any less difficult to accept your new body right after. You will birth your baby and still look pregnant and that’s normal. I remember feeling so weird and off balance after the baby was born like all of my insides were floating around or something. I recommend wearing a belly band it was comforting because it holds everything in and it helps your body contract back. I’m 2mos postpartum and still feel squishy. I had a little bit of diastis recti something I had no idea about until my midwife told me at my first check up. It’s when your abs don’t fully come back together on their own and you can fit anywhere from 1-5 finger space in between your abs. It can be brought back together but takes specific types of exercise or it can be further damaged. Mine is basically normal now and I can finally do some regular exercise yay but I still I’ll have a lot of work to do before I feel “normal” again. Your vagina and abdomen will be sore for awhile. For me would hurt to sit and to stand, pretty much any movement was uncomfortable and the pain changed over the first couple of weeks. It’s gonna hurt to poop so get stool softeners, this may sound stupid but I thought it would only be painful if you tore badly but that’s not the case it’s from the pressure that you apply and it’s your vagina that hurts. I would feel like my vagina was gonna fall out of my body with the slightest pressure which was uncomfortable and scary to be honest. Your abs will cramp and it hurts pretty bad in my opinion, it’s your uterus returning to it’s original place and your organs moving back and it feels like bad cramps which I had no idea about, so it’s a good thing and fortunately now you can take Tylenol or ibuprofen. I took warm baths with Epsom salts which seemed to help a lot. If it’s really bad call your doctor or midwife to make sure nothings wrong.
It’s really important to make sure your drinking tons of fluids and eating enough. Don’t worry about trying to eat healthy to loose weight that first month, you simply need calories so your body can heal its self. Since your not sleeping much you need food to supply you with energy and lots of rest, honestly sleep as much as you can, I know everyone says that but it’s important to be rested. And just remember this doesn’t last forever soon you will be healed and sleeping more and start to feel like a person again.
So here’s a couple things I recommend for the physical side of things when you’re first home. Get the tucks witch hazel pads, they are medium size rounds soaked in witch hazel that you can lay in your underwear on top of your pad and they help heal the skin but feel very soothing. They are prob my top item to purchase. I also got the earth momma perineal spray, same idea it’s soothing and helps the skin heal but it’s a spray which is nice and it smells pretty but is all natural ingredients and just made me feel less gross . You’re gonna need a rinse bottle and prob some baby wipes for yourself. Toilet paper will be uncomfortable for a little bit and rinsing though it seems weird will provide lots of relief while keeping you clean. Cool packs are next, I know you can make your own padsicles but I bought a bunch of hospital style ones so you just crack them in half and they get cold. These were more comfortable in my opinion and super easy to just grab as needed. Now I also bought a sitz bath which was very soothing and it helps the skin heal faster, but it’s essentially a weird basin that sits on top of your toilet and you fill it with water and epson salts and you sit in it for about 15min several times a day. It’s not a necessity but it definitely helped when I was really sore and is much easier then soaking in the tub several times a day. The last thing I recommend is men’s boxer briefs. You’ll get some of those mesh underwear from the hospital or birthing center which are amazing but once I went through those I still wasn’t ready for any form of elastic that close to my tender bits and men’s boxer briefs were perfect. They are big so your stupid giant pads will fit and they are stretchy and soft and comfy I promise you’ll be happy you have them. Aside from all of that keep taking your vitamins. You still need all the nutrients especially so if you’re breastfeeding. They say vit D and Omegas assist in weight loss and are great for the healing process as well as your prenatal or the make post natal as well. I know it sounds like a lot but I was really happy I had everything afterwards.
The important thing here is to just know going into it that you’re body will take time to heal and return back to what it once was and in some cases may never be the same. This may be your new normal and that’s ok. Be kind to yourself and your body, take your time to adjust and give yourself time to heal. A friend said to me 9mos in 9mos out so just remember it took that long to create that baby and it may take the same amount of time to heal from it. This part won’t last forever and you will feel like your self again, but you have done something incredible and you should be proud of yourself, I promise everyone else is.