I’m going to need these baby books to stop publishing statements telling women that you will feel rainbows and sunshine after delivering your child.
I’m sorry, but that is the farthest thing from the truth and any seasoned mom can tell you that. However, if you are in that one percent that experiences the rainbow and sunshine feeling after delivery, you deserve a trophy.
Here is why we need to be real about child birth. Generally, first time moms are looking to baby books for information and advice on pregnancy, labor & delivery and postpartum care. They are being fed unrealistic expectations about how they should feel, and it is making them feel depressed about their first few weeks as a mom. They are feeling like something is wrong with them because they aren’t feeling that way. Of course, having a baby is literally the greatest bliss you will experience, but the process to get there is ugly and hard and can be down right scary! This is not to scare you, but to be real!
Let’ start with pregnancy, it’s so beautiful.
You should be glowing and over the moon about growing a human inside you. Yes, we are totally excited, it is a great experience. You may have created a birth plan, you have all your do’s and don’ts of parenting laid out on a word document BUT no one expects to become high risk during their pregnancy. No one expects to go to the doctor and be told you are delivery today and your baby may go to the NICU. What?
Those baby books didn’t warn me about this. They said I would go to 40 weeks and see the signs labor is near happening. I would go naturally and push three times and the baby is out. You don’t expect to be in labor for 24 hours, not progressing and whisked away to a c-section to have your guts set on the table next to you in a freezing cold room. You don’t expect to be exhausted from 48 hours of hard labor to spend 3 hours trying to push your baby out, all while tearing your vagina to your butt hole. Your perfect birth plan just went out the window. It’s getting the baby out safely, keeping you both alive.
DELIVERY IS HARD! THE BABY HAS TO GET OUT SOMEHOW!
Now you are completely and utterly exhausted. You just birthed a human from your body. So tell me again where I am supposed to be feeling the rainbows and sunshine? Am I happy, Yes! Do I love him, Yes! But I am exhausted, hungry and overwhelmed with emotion.
Going home postpartum is so challenging
So your body has just basically been in a traumatic accident, but here’s a squirt bottle and some giant pads to help. You are trying to lactate and feed your baby but at the baby’s first appointment, you see he’s lost weight. Now you are blaming yourself because you are not producing enough milk but it’s normal! Your milk comes in, his latch is good but now your nipples are cracked. *Sigh* You are up every hour feeding for an hour on each side. You are functioning in zombie mode. But you do it for your baby.
Maybe you are formula feeding (believe it or not, despite what is being shoved down your throat) it IS OK to feed your baby formula. We all know breast is best, but sometimes you are beat over the head verbally and made to feel you are less of a mom because your baby is drinking formula. You are not, you are still a great mom!
Your baby is your whole entire world! You want to do everything you can to make sure they are safe. You stare at them while they are sleeping, even though you should be sleeping too. You watch their back, counting their respirations. You are in awe! You created this gorgeous human. You are doing great momma!
While navigating these challenges, your vagina feels like it’s the size of a grapefruit or if you had a c-section, you probably feel like your guts are going to fall out at any moment if you sneeze. Your hormones are all over the place, you are crying for no reason. You are bleeding like somebody just ripped something out of your body… Oh wait! They did. You may have several dr appts for your newborn because of weight checks or jaundice on top of your dr appts but remember you can’t drive for a week after a vaginal birth and two weeks after a c-section (it may differ according to your dr).
As time goes by, your body begins to heal. Your hormones are goin back to normal and life is starting to normalize or you. You are enjoying motherhood. You are still going to face many challenges throughout motherhood but it gets a lil easier the more experienced you become. Having a great support system helps tremendously.
If you are feeling disconnected from your baby or having troubling thoughts about you or your baby, please call your ob and schedule an appt to discuss possible post partum depression or anxiety. It does not make you a bad mom to admit that you are feeling this way and there is help! Please don’t go through it alone!
Now you have gotten through your first time mom experience. When or if you decide to have another, you will know what to expect next time, you will know that anything can happen. And just a word of advice, never judge your next child by the first… etc.. they are literally ALL different 😊