Postpartum is its own THING. Not a comma between birth and baby,
but a separate stage,
equal to pregnancy and birth as a distinct transition. Postpartum is literally where the rubber meets the road--it's weaving together the ends of pregnancy and birth with the beginning of your new life. It will dictate how your baby's first weeks and months are experienced.
After birth, a woman needs to recover, process and heal....And yet, she also needs to be with and care for her new baby. This is why it is critical to have support and help from her partner, family, community, and possibly a Postpartum Doula. While the need is great, the parts of us that communicate needs and delegate tasks are scrambled by fatigue, hormones, and fear of being judged or denied the help we need.
If you're pregnant, make a plan for your Postpartum! Plan for meals, laundry, dishes, etc.--especially if your partner has limited time to be with you or isn't able to do all by themselves.
There is so much we can do as a culture to make this stage of integration, healing and bonding better for all:
1--Acknowledge the physical demands are real.
(Your body moves from pregnancy to postpartum/lactating in a matter of minutes. Organs have been displaced and will be shifting. Add surgical recovery to the mix for c-section moms. All of this, and now very broken or little sleep.)
Going slow, being still and conserving your energy are vital.
2--Remember: YOU WERE NEVER MEANT TO DO THIS ALONE.
Nearly every continent and culture has a tradition for caring for Postpartum: Asia, Africa, South and Central America, Europe and India. They understand the dangers and complications of moms trying to resume their daily lives before they have fully recovered. Most involve moms being in bed with their babies for 10-40 days while others bring them food, clean their house, and care for their other children.
3--If you are struggling, reach out.
Postpartum does not have to be something you "survive" or "get through." It can be a beautiful time as you get to know your baby. find your way into motherhood, and help your other children adjust and step into their new roles.
Monmouth County is full of amazing resources. (See my list here.)
Or contact me directly.
Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor, Mother of Three.