Recovering From Childbirth
My cousin had a baby a week ago. I was talking to my aunt and she said about my cousin — the new mom, “It’s like she never even gave birth, she bounced right back!” I had to silence my gag reflex. Obviously I was happy for my cousin that she had such an easy recovery, but it was still hard to hear considering it took me over a month to move without pain after my births.
I’ve had three c-sections which you can read about here, here, and here. Each recovery was difficult. There are many parts of postpartum recovery that takes its toll, so here are the three that affected me the most.
1. Recovering physically
Before you give birth, you know that it’s hard to birth a baby. You’ve heard about it many times, but until it happens to you it’s impossible to understand how your body will react. For me, because I had c-sections, because I found it hard to get out of bed in the beginning, it was weeks before I felt like I could get myself up and ready in the morning without pain and frustration.
For women who give birth vaginally, I’ve heard stories of some who are showered and walking around within the hour and some who couldn’t get out of bed for a week.
Every mom’s recovery is different, just like every birth is different. If this is your first baby, prepare yourself that you will not move like yourself for potentially a long time. But know that you will be yourself again at some point.
2. Recovering mentally
Looking back on my births, I felt mostly calm and like my doctor had my back. I didn’t have anything traumatic happen to me, and the thing I remember most about giving birth is meeting my babies. However, there are women who do have traumatic experiences and that can make the mental recovery long and arderous.
Anytime someone has a traumatic experience, it takes time to process those thoughts and emotions. If you have any medical complications for you or your baby, let yourself take the time to feel and understand that just because women have been giving birth since the dawn of time doesn’t mean that what you experienced wasn’t difficult.
3. Recovering yourself
To be honest, this hasn’t happened for me yet and I’m almost six-years into this whole motherhood thing. After having three babies in five years, it’s hard to even remember who I was before. What I’ve learned, and it’s taken me years to figure this out, is that it doesn’t matter who I was before kids. I will never be that person again. But that doesn’t mean that all I am now is a mother. I am still many other things. I’m a writer, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a book-lover, a poor dresser, a cook, and so much more. And yes, also a mother.
Give yourself time to discover who you are now. You won’t ever be the same, but who you become will be someone very special to at least one tiny person.
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