What an experience birth is, each journey unique and different. I went into labor Friday morning and three hours later, I was welcoming my baby girl into the world! So ends my pregnancy and begins the wonder of getting to know this little one.
After having a baby, your brain and body try to recognize the fact that this child is no longer inside the uterus. Many women describe it as feeling suddenly deflated, and they may even lament the sensation of being pregnant. However, ismall things are a wonderment such as being able to lay on one’s stomach or any position at all again. With the beginning of the “4th trimester” come a lot of challenges for mom and family.
One of the best things that you can do after the birth of your baby, is to rest as much as possible. Dealing with physical changes as well as emotional and hormonal, while caring for a newborn can take it out of you quickly if you don’t have a plan in place. A postpartum plan is very important in averting depression and feelings of being overwhelmed or inadequate. In addition, the new mom has a learning curve to conquer and issues such as breastfeeding may cause her to need more support.
A support person in the home used to be the standard after each birth in generations gone by. This person, often a mother, relative or friend, would come to the home to assist the family in whatever way possible. Cooking, cleaning, and helping with the baby, while the mother recovered her strength fully. However, today we tend to trivialize the importance of having that postpartum support already in place before the birth occurs. Postpartum doulas are beginning to fill the gap for those who don’t have family or friends available. Many women, simply don’t want to inconvenience anyone, or don’t have someone in the same state.
Also, some women allow too many visitors postpartum and can run out of energy quickly trying to be a good “hostess”. Therefore, it is appropriate to distance yourself from social pressures and to resist the urge to allow anyone to visit whenever they want. If you want people to visit, be sure that you are still pacing yourself, and don’t hesitate to politely thank them for coming and tell them you need to rest.
I encourage women to put a plan in place where they will at least have regular phone support and if possible someone to bring them meals or help with other kids. Most first time moms are surprised to find that their partner or spouse is also going to be having emotional, physical, and hormonal responses to the birth of this baby and may not be able to be the full support during this time. With proper support in place, a family can fully relax into their new life with baby.
When pregnant it is so easy to get caught up in preparing for the birth of the baby because it is the main event. However, overlooking the postpartum period can leave a mom wondering why she didn’t prepare for it. It is a good idea to read about postpartum so that you can get a feel for what to expect. If attending a childbirth class, be sure that it covers postpartum information also. Postpartum preparation will allow you to truly enjoy your baby, while taking time for oneself.
What were your postpartum challenges? Do you have a postpartum plan in place if you’re pregnant?