Cindy - A beautifully honest account of postpartum first time around!
I felt: overwhelmed
I was: depleted in every aspect
I needed: to let go of my pride and accept more help
Postpartum is: fucking rough and insanely beautiful at the same time
What was your greatest challenge postpartum?
My greatest challenge PP was navigating the 4th trimester.
I thought I was fully prepared. The nursery was completed, I bought everything off the numerous 'must have' baby lists compiled all over Google, I had nested for weeks etc. But no one ever prepared me for the 4th trimester and the changes and challenges it would bring not only to my babies but to me as a first time mum.
It came as a huge shock to me that I had a baby who wouldn't sleep - I thought babies just knew how to sleep. It also came as a shock to me that some babies just needed to be in close proximity to you almost constantly. I thought I was failing because while everyone else's babies were sleeping well, not crying and not needing to be held all the time, ours was not.
It affected me mentally, emotionally and of course in turn, physically. It affected my relationship with my child and then my husband.
Thankfully my midwife and husband at the time could see I was struggling and guided me in the direction of help. Second time around I was much more prepared so it has definitely been a more joyful and relaxed journey.
I do have absolute mum guilt for not enjoying that 4th trimester first time around though, but again, another common but not openly spoken about feeling/reality.
What was your greatest achievement postpartum?
Raising this beautifully empathetic, loving, kind, bright little girl. It gives me the confidence that we can raise our son to be the greatest he can be as well.
Being brave enough to be open about my experiences.
And giving into the capabilities of my body; pregnancy, birth and perseverance - physically and mentally.
What surprised you?
That there wasn't that much support PP for struggling mums.
That there is a scale for funded support.
That some doctors are very quick to jump straight onto the medicated path.
What do you wish you had known beforehand?
See above on the 4th trimester!!!
Also I think antenatal classes need to focus more on the parents once baby is born too, not just so heavily on the baby, pregnancy and birth. Yes, its important to know about labour, the different types of pain relief, assisted delivery methods etc. in order to make fully informed decisions.
But what about coping techniques or strategies for an overwhelmed parent? What about bringing awareness to when and how you might need a village? That as a mum or a woman you don't need to do everything (this was me, I struggled to accept the help as I wanted to be the best wife, mum, friend etc and in the end it burnt me out big time)!
And there needs to be more support for dads as well.
Anything you would change/do differently next time?
I think it's the same with every parent, to be more relaxed and more confident in yourself and your decisions. It's definitely made me enjoy the newborn phase a lot more this time around. There is less second guessing because the first was already the guinea pig (sorry Ellie, but thank you for being ever so patient and forgiving to our trial and errors).
Also not needing so much 'stuff'.
Some words for expecting Mamas to be?
No matter how difficult each or any new challenge can be, it is always a phase. Even though it might seem like it will last forever; the contact naps, the sleep regressions, the rocking, bouncing, shushing, teething, sleep deprivation etc.🤯, it never does last as long as you think it will.
The light at the end of each tunnel is there.
You will get through this, every, single, time 🥰
Anything else you like to share...
Trust your gut, less second guessing.
Not every baby falls into that cookie cutter/text book description.