Finally I’m going to post something other than baby photos! I’m sure you are all tired of seeing nonstop baby pics but I must post them because I LOVE looking back at them when my baby isn’t a baby anymore.
Today I’m going to talk about postpartum care, food and emotional/mental consideration.
I am a low maintenance kind of girl. Sometimes I’m independent to a fault and I am glad there are people around me to force me to take help and postpartum is a time when help is most needed.
In the US if you deliver your baby in the hospital you get absolutely no medical postnatal care once you leave the hospital until you see your OB at six weeks after giving . Our culture doesn’t center around postpartum care either except that it is common for meals to be provided through friends/church for the first couple weeks or so. Most other countries have a rather extensive both medical and cultural response that involves special foods for healing and balancing hormones, community help with housework and other children and at home medical care. In our country, if you give birth at home, the midwife usually visits the first couple days and then each week or something like, that to be sure the mother is healing well, adjusting and the baby is healthy. Since homebirths are very rare here, it just isn’t the norm to be visited at your home by the person who assisted in delivering the baby.
So seeking out care lands on the mother even though she just gave birth and on some levels I find that very sad. That being said, I personally would not want people in my house cleaning, taking care of my kids and cooking while I lay in bed with the baby getting checked on by my midwife. For some reason, after giving birth I am still in nesting mode so I ITCH to clean and bake. I have had two natural labor and deliveries with very speedy recoveries and no complications at all so I am blessed that I am able to jump right back into life.
But with the second child I have found myself more than grateful for the wonderful people who have brought us food because up until today, I could not have planned dinners or prepared them without getting overwhelmed. We have had SO much food provided, lunches and dinners, by our wonderful church group, my mama friends, and family. It’s been incredible.
Sure, there have been a lot of very heavy foods, pastas, Chinese, fried chicken and even pot roast! But I’ve been eating those in very small amounts and enjoying fruit, greens and veggies in larger amounts. I want my body to heal and shrink as fast as possible!
I have a ton more photos but figure we should move on from the food!
Now for some thoughts on the mental/emotional side of becoming a mom and how it affects recovery.
After I gave birth to Avery I slipped into the life of a stay at home mom seamlessly. I had no physical or emotional roadblocks, no baby blues, no overwhelming feelings or thoughts. It was perfect. I felt like I was fulfilling my destiny.
Eli came last week and though I experienced the same euphoria, it was speckled with emotions of all kinds. The first thing I felt was joy and then immediately following was a deep and strong desire to have Avery there with us. We weren’t complete as a family in my book until we were all together and I knew that wasn’t going to happen until we got home. It felt unnatural. With my hormonal high I found myself almost in tears several times just missing Avery and hoping he was okay (yes, I called many times to make sure:).
My physical recovery was flawless again so was able to focus soley on my new son which was a blessing and once we got home we focused on making our family function with four instead of three.
The first couple days were really fast and furious. Avery loved Eli but struggled with bedtime and obedience and Eli demanded a lot of my time for nursing. The next couple days were much smoother but I was running on fumes from getting no sleep. There were several moments where I was completely overwhelmed by the idea of creating a routine that would work for everyone, including me. I tried a few different methods from cluster feeding to nursing positions to get Eli to sleep at night and not need my constant attention but nothing had worked and then the night before last, magically, everything fell into place. Sure, I didn’t get to bed til 1am, but I got over five consecutive hours of sleep for the first time in over a week.
Suddenly, yesterday morning, I realized I COULD do everything and that all those feelings I had during the week were stemming from sheer exhaustion. I think so many new moms, like myself, feel like they’re supposed to jump right back into life, get overwhelmed and don’t realize that it’s just fatigue.
Avery has gotten back into his normal sleep routine, Eli and I are finding an understanding for night and things are falling into place. It’s been full time for both Shane and I to work with getting Avery’s sleep back on track and now that that’s settled down and we’ve been able to sleep for a night we’re feeling much better about Shane returning to work. He’s let me take naps, stayed with Avery while I took Eli for his weight check, let me run errands and we’ve tag teamed everything during the day. It’s going to be interesting to see how I do during the day without him. He’s not going back quite yet so I’m going to cherish the last bit while I can!
I think weekends are going to be a lot bigger deal than they used to be…..
So I’ll leave you with this sweet pic of Avery holding Eli. He asked to hold him for the first time this morning and has been begging ever since.
Question: What are your thoughts on our postpartum care in this country? Should we make a bigger effort to be sure American mothers get the proper amount of attention after birth?