How to Survive Postpartum Life
Postpartum life is a fuzzy time. Some women look back on it with nothing but fondness while others remember it as one of the hardest times of their life. No matter who you are, or what your birth story is, postpartum life is filled with no sleep, lots of baby snuggles, and a lot of changes to your body.
For me, giving birth felt like my organs were drifting around in the huge ocean of my torso for a few days. I could almost feel them settling back where they belonged and everything felt swollen, squishy, and adrift. It was a very strange and unpleasant feeling, and even though I went through it for the last time over two years ago, I can still easily conjure up how it felt to have the baby out, but my body still so large.
It actually takes the uterus up to six weeks to shrink back to its pre-baby size, and during that time you will feel bloated and swollen. All those stories you heard of women giving birth and leaving the hospital in their pre-baby jeans are an old wives tale. Trust me.
Because we mamas have to stick together, here are my top tips on how to survive postpartum life.
1. Don’t assume you are going to feel like yourself for a long time
What is that saying? Adjust expectations? This applies here, too. Don’t assume you will have a baby and immediately feel like yourself just because your baby is in your arms instead of in your uterus. It’s going to take months (honestly, maybe years) to feel like yourself again. And that’s ok! This new version of yourself is going to be pretty amazing.
2. Have supplies on hand to help you through the first few weeks
After giving birth, whether vaginally or via c-section, there are a few key products that will help you during that time. Here are my favorites that helped me. I had 3 c-sections which you can read about here, here, and here.
- Large pads
- Lots of Tylenol and ibuprofen
- Big, comfy sweatpants
- Nursing nightgowns
- My breast pump
- Heating pad (for engorgement)
- Easy to read books to keep me company during late night feedings
- Huge water bottle
- Lots of easy to grab snacks
Having all these things ready to go made sure I was set up for success when I got home from the hospital.
3. Take breaks when you can
Obviously, it won’t always be easy to say, “my baby’s crying is making me crazy, can I take a break?”, but when it is possible, I implore you to take that break! It doesn’t make you a bad mother or a weak mother to admit that sometimes motherhood and all the responsibility and neediness that goes along with it can get to you.
Talk to your partner or support system before the baby comes and let them know that you do not plan on doing this alone, and when you need some time to yourself, you are going to ask. It will be good for you, your partner, and the baby for you to take some time to decompress.
4. Hang in there
The transition to motherhood is a wonderful one, but it can be hard. You and your baby are learning who each other is, and that can take time. Be kind to yourself, remember this is just a phase, and realize that without a doubt, you will become that crazy mom who can’t wait for her baby to fall asleep just in time for you to pick up your phone and look at the millions of pictures you took.
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