Postpartum life; Okay, so this is HARD; like really really hard. I know that every new mom says this, but it is true! At the risk of sounding like a broken record, really NOTHING prepares you for postpartum; the mysterious 4th trimester. I mean you hear about the lack of sleep, baby blues, crazy hormones, but there is no way you could possibly understand how you will handle it all.
Starting our postpartum journey off in the NICU made everything a billion times harder. Thank god he got the care and attention he needed (and we got some extra coaching), but the emotional roller coaster the came along with his stay was extremely challenging. Recovering from a major surgery, combined with the stress was not good.
Postpartum recovery has been more difficult than I ever imagined it would be. I mean I knew it would take AT LEAST 6 weeks, which I did not appreciate. I thought to myself “oh okay, 6 weeks, that’s not so bad.” FALSE! It is that bad. All of the sudden you have this tiny, helpless human, and literally everything hurts. I couldn’t walk for the first few days and even after; walking was painful for extended periods of time. Due to the extended NICU stay and just being an absolute mess, I stopped being diligent with the stool softener and found myself severely constipated and in more pain than child birth. I couldn’t stand the sitz bath, so now that part of the recovery was slowing, plus with a newborn and a sick husband, how the heck was I supposed to find time to go soak my hooha?
Paul unfortunately got super sick for most of his paternity leave time, which made things extra difficult. I was dealing with the baby blues BIG TIME, and he had spiked quite a fever so we made sure he steered clear from the baby. Well, my rational mind knew that this was for the best, but my irrational, hormonal and sleep deprived mind took great offense to this. I literally found myself thinking that Paul was somehow doing this to avoid the baby; how INSANE is that??!? I was so frustrated because Paulica would feed ALL THE TIME and then he would get gassy/fussy and I just wanted it to be fixed, I just wanted things to feel “normal” again. I could no longer find comfort in my own body, and my life was turned totally upside down so I was flailing. It felt like I was surrounded by so many people and yet so alone. All I wanted was help and someone to make it all better all the while knowing that the only person who could do that is myself. I suddenly resented all those cute instagrams I followed and any dad who talked about taking all the nighttime dirty diapers. I also felt frustrated that taking care of myself and Paulica literally took everything. I really mean it took EVERYTHING; that’s not an exaggeration. It also meant I had nothing left over for Paul. He was really really sick and we all just went into survival mode.
Of course just as Paul was kind of on the mend, I developed a slight case of mastitis. There we all
were; Paul and I both with fevers, sitting on the couch with our newborn just trying to survive. Ordering our 5th order of Chinese take out (real good nutrition), taking each day hour by hour.
As I was flailing and desperately needing “help” I would feel a special type of rage towards people telling me to “enjoy this time…how sweet is your little bundle of joy”. While all of this is said with nothing but the sweetest intentions, it was not my reality. Yes, we love our child but when you are in the newborn trenches, things are NOT enjoyable and they are NOT sweet and that is okay. It is okay to feel sad, angry and frustrated. This time is preparing you for the eternity of motherhood, pregnancy changed me (physically and emotionally) and now I need to navigate these new waters. The strength I am cultivating during this time will help m for the rest of my life. There will be even more challenging times ahead and there will be even more joyous times ahead.
Thankfully now I think I am starting to see a glimmer at the end of the tunnel. We are having more good days than bad days. Raising a baby is hard work; there will ALWAYS be parts of our life that are hard, and parts that are easier. I have to remind myself that really this time could be seen as relatively easy. Paulica is not mobile and he generally cries for three reasons: diaper, hunger, gas. Now that he is starting to get more interactive things are getting exciting, but I know that will bring new and unique challenges that we will all have to work through.
Postpartum recovery has been the greatest lesson in presence and the importance of mindfulness. This is literally what I have been asking for and working on, I just didn’t expect the crash course.
Now my baby is trying to breast feed through my shirt so I gotta go; thanks for reading!
We share this with you because nobody really talks about it. If you or someone you know IS having trouble, you need to know you’re not alone! If you’re REALLY having trouble, please call someone! If you don’t have anyone to call, call a support group like 1.800.944.4773.