You announce your pregnancy and all the congratulations and well wishes come flying your way. As they should. It's a really exciting thing and people are really happy for you. I mean who doesn't love news of a squishy new baby to love?
People love to share their pregnancy and birth stories and you listen. Everyone has their opinions on these topics and loves to let them be known. The stories usually stop there when you are pregnant. Sometimes people will go into the early newborns days and the cute little things their baby did but not much more. Occasionally you will get opinions on favorite bottles, pacifiers, car seat, or things of that nature. (Everyone has completely different preferences anyway.)
It's no wonder that we don't care about postpartum. No one gives us the example that we should care, but I'm here to tell you... you should care.
I wish someone would have sat down and told me how things were really going to change. Some things changed for the absolute best and some were exceptionally hard changes that I wasn't expecting.
I reached out to some other moms and here is a little list of things they were not prepared for when it came to postpartum.
That you will out eat an entire high school football team..... (Andrea)
Your appetite will become like something you've never imagined. You only thought you were hungry when you were pregnant.
That you'll be sore in places other than your perineum. I read all these things about what to expect about bleeding and clots, milk etc but I was absolutely shocked when I finished and felt like I'd had one of the most intense workouts of my life!
All the more reason to rest, rest, rest. Your body needs to recover in so many different areas.
That breastfeeding most likely won't just come naturally. Well not for me at least.
With both of my kids, we had some serious breastfeeding issues. Neither one of them would latch for the first 2 weeks. Some kids are born and latch perfectly. Be prepared with resources if breastfeeding troubles arise.
That you might not like your husband. At all. Even a little bit. Because hormones are weird.
Becoming parents for the first or fifth time is such a huge transition plus you are in the throws of a hormone hurricane. Sometimes our spouses may get the brunt of all of that. Odds are they are trying their best and we can fight to choose to give each other grace in a season of learning and growing.
Postpartum chills. With all five of my babies, several days after birth, but sometime in the first week. I would get violent, shiver inducing chills that would only subside after being wrapped in several blankets for a while. It was not linked to being cold even. I don't know if it is a common experience, but it was quite unpleasant. (Erin)
Chills then turn to sweats then sweats turn into chills. Hormones take a little while to calm down and play some crazy tricks while they are doing it.
That sweats/pjs, no-make-up, fewer showers, constant snacking, and daily naps are a perfectly acceptable, and even preferable, way to live the first month or so! Mom, baby, and dad will all be the better for it if the nesting-in period is truly devoted to nesting.
Our culture wants to rush us back to "normal" life but don't do it. Slow down. Soak it in and take care of you. Because you matter. Yes you. You matter enough to take the proper time and care to recover.
The amount of love you will feel for your child can almost feel overwhelming at times. You may love the second, third, fourth, etc. children differently and that is okay.
People said that it was a great sense of love but I truly think that no one could have prepared me. I don't think anyone can prepare anyone. I think that one just comes with experience. However, I love my daughter differently. Do I love her as much as my son? Sure. But the way I feel love for her and the way I feel love for my son is just different. It's hard to explain and put into words but it's just different. I really think that is perfectly okay and not a bad thing at all.
That postpartum depression is more than just depression. (Andrea)
If you've read any of my other blogs you know all about my story and how I learned the hard way how true this is. Postpartum depression is really perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and covers a broad spectrum. You don't have to walk this alone. If you feel off at all, just reach out. People love you and care and there is help to be had.
This list could go on forever I'm sure because everyone's experiences are a little bit different. I hope that these perspectives from some moms who have been there can help you prepare and care a little bit more about your postpartum experiences.
Reach out to a mom friend you know and trust to have an honest and open dialogue with you. Sit down have coffee and REAL conversation. Living in community is the best way to make this postpartum and parenting thing the best that it can be.