When you first meet your baby, after 9 months of carrying him or her, it’s pretty amazing the amount of love you feel for this little person. Lots of people told me that as soon as you hold your little one you completely forget about the painful and sometimes even traumatic experience you have just had while you hold your bundle of joy. In some ways they are right, but after a few hours once the pain meds have died off, and your holding this little person, You suddenly realise and feel, exactly what your body has just been through!
It didn’t occur to me, how much it would take out of me having a baby.. Yes I know naive or what. But my mum knocked some sense into me. I guess we have to remember, that our body has been growing a human for nine months! That is an incredible feat. When you think about it, it’s crazy what the human body can do. And why I thought I would bounce back straight away after labour! God knows!
So here is what I have learnt from becoming s new mummy. Firstly, don’t rush your recovery. Archer is 4 months old and I still don’t feel completely right in myself. Having a baby is emotionally ,physically and mentally draining. And im the first to admit that I tried to take on too much and demand too much of myself so soon after having him. So much so it effected my mood. I then realised I need to take care of me so that I was able to take care of Arch. That way you can be the best parent to your new baby.
Being emotional is completely normal, your milk comes in around day 3 and the baby blues hit. You can just cry over anything. Don’t worry, though, this is completely normal! The best thing to do is to do just that and cry. Your hormones will be all over the place, and you will be tired too. I remember feeling so overwhelmed, knowing that I was in charge of this little person and that he relied on me for everything. Bonding with your baby is really important, but sometimes it doesn’t happen automatically. For dads it can be difficult to start with. Especially if the mother is breastfeeding and the baby is just interested in the boob! Similarly I found it difficult to get that intital bond with Arch, as I couldn’t breast feed and due to him being quite poorly for the first few days, our time as a family, just us thee didn’t happen til Archer was 5 days old. But I like to think both me and Richard have a very strong bond with Archer now! And there’s nothing more satisfying then having your little baby give you smiles first thing morning because they are excited to see you!
I know what you’re thinking, how do I sleep with a new baby. But you have to do it. Sleep when the baby sleeps. They will sleep quite a lot to start with, only waking to be fed. So make sure you sleep when they do. Interrupted sleep is better than none. You will be physically and mentally exhausted. It’s hard to do this as I know sometimes it’s easier to convince yourself you should just do that bit of washing up or tidy up the living room. But believe me your miss the time when you could have a half decent nap when they are a bit older. Arch will only tend to sleep for about 30 mins at a time now. Just about giving me enough time to clean the bottles, make some food and have a cup of tea.
In the first few weeks, and probably sometime after, your body will feel, and probably look, quite different to how it ever has before. You will feel strangely empty after giving birth. Like hollow. It’s weird. It freaked me out and made me feel a bit nauseous!
Your going to feel mighty sore too, and yes I didn’t even think about this when I was pregnant. Why I thought I could push a baby out and feel brilliant the next day I have no idea! Whichever way you give birth your going to feel sore! A cesarean is invasive surgery, your recovery will take a while, and yes your going to be super sore. Picking up your baby will even cause you some discomfort. Similar with a vaginal birth. Sitting down and even going to the loo is not fun. At all. Plus I even disliked walking upstairs. This is where baggy shorts or loose cotton trousers will be a godsend! I had 2 tears of which one was an episiotomy and they were 2nd degree tears. I was sore, so I made sure I had painkillers on me all the time. I also took a cool shower twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the evening to keep myself clean and to soothe the area too!
You may not recognise your body as you may now have some stretch marks. There are remedies, oils and treatments you can use, though. So you can rest assured, you can know how to get rid of stretch marks after pregnancy. But remember most pregnant women get them, so try not to let them upset you too much! They are your war stripes for going through the craziness of making another human!
Whichever way you choose to feed your baby, your breasts will become engorged as the milk comes in. If you are formula feeding, then this will go as the baby won’t be nursing. The feeling can increase if you are nursing your baby. My midwife gave me lots of advice on dealing with this, so always speak to yours if your worried.
Let’s be honest, you will be having the biggest period of your life after having a baby. It can last up to four weeks, it’s a massive pain, so make sure that you stocked up with proper maternity pads. Regular sanitary towels just won’t cut it! Just make sure that you are regularly changing your pads. This will help reduce the chance of any infection, particularly if you have had stitches. Wash regularly too and dry yourself gently.
Pelvic floor muscle exercises are important, like super important. As childbirth pushes them to their limits, and believe me the last thing you want to do is cough, laugh or sneeze and pee yourself a little!
I still don’t feel completely right, but looking after a cute 4 month old takes my mind off it! I’m looking forward to the day I wake up and I feel like my body is back to normal!