We spend 9 months (ish) being treated like a goddess, then all of sudden your baby is here and you are expected to take a back seat.
Whats that all about? Along the way we have lost the gentle path of our postpartum recovery and we’re not quite sure how that happened!
This bounce back approach to being a new mum can be really damaging, you know it isn’t real right? From the outside, we often only really see snapshots of someone else’s life with a newborn looking like they have it together, however in reality, the lead up to that moment looked very different. Your postpartum time needs protecting, it is unique to you, your needs and what you need to facilitate your recovery.
What is postpartum recovery?
Postpartum recovery is the time after your birth and a time where you should be handled with care. Think of it as your recovery time!
But, in realities of today’s modern world, how do you make sure YOU recover when looking after a newborn, while your hormones are recalibrating ? (I feel like I need to recover from that paragraph). Remembering my own experiences of that time after my birth was a complete shock to the system.
A lot of people, myself included, overlook the importance of preparing for postpartum time. We get ourselves so fixated on preparing for birth and the practicalities of looking after a newborn that we completely overlook our own emotional needs as a new mum.
Preparing to adjust to motherhood postpartum
Adjusting to everyday life after the birth of a baby has its challenges, especially if you’re a new mother. Although it’s important to care for your baby, you also have to take care of yourself.
You need to think about your postpartum body, the more you allow yourself to rest, the shorter and easier your recovery will be.
Simple right? So how do we rest with a new born baby, especially if we already have children? Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Know what to expect – learn about what to expect for your recovery so you can manage it effectively.
Your body may look different, so why not do some research on vaginal birth recovery or caesarean birth recovery and learn how to take care of your perineum and how to manage constipation – trust me you want everything to flow.
- Make life as easy as possible for yourself – if like me, you hate clutter, trying to declutter during your pregnancy and prepare for your house is super helpful. Babies breed clutter so creating as much space before they arrive goes a long way to the “tidy house, tidy mind” feeling.
Now, I am no way saying that it will take away the clutter but the less stuff you have the less to clutter!I learnt the hard way that my house is not going to be the polished masterpiece I was once proud of pre-baby, but it is a happy home!Baskets are great for collecting items and having them in one place to sort out at a later date – your home will feel instantly tidier and calmer.Another great way of making life easier for yourself is to create ‘stations’ around your home; I’m talking baby changing stations, movie stations with snacks, drinks, books, so that when you sit down to watch a movie and relax, you have everything to hand so you don’t have to worry about getting back up again. This is especially useful for caesarean recovery and accommodating a breast feeding journey.
When it comes to breastfeeding, if this is what you choose for yourself, remember that it is completely normal for newborns to be on your breast for what feels like 24/7. Babies instincts are usually pretty good but it is a learning curve for you both and little adjustments can make a big difference. You do not have to navigate this alone.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help – people will naturally want to visit you and your baby after the birth, so your home will be pretty busy for the first few weeks. However, visitors can inadvertently bring on more work for you and leave you feeling even more tired (welcome to the tired mums club!). The best kind of visitor is the one that, when they come round for dinner, they start clearing up after themselves, they offer to help with tidying and they make you feel comfortable. That is your person!
If you can’t think of anyone that falls into this category, it’s okay to ask help. And that goes for everything around the house, you’d be surprised at how much people actually WANT to help and have any excuse to spend time with your newborn baby !
Having said that, postpartum birth visits are one of my favourite aspects to being a Doula. I love nourishing the mother and leaving a sense of calm after my visits, it is very rewarding, and an honour to nurture a new parent whilst they navigate their postpartum journey.
So remember protecting your postpartum recovery is so important. Look after your mind and your body and be kind to yourself by celebrating the wins as they come, no matter how small they may be.
And most importantly, remember – you are incredible!