I’m here to share what no one tells you about postpartum. Because the postpartum period is such a raw and vulnerable time and you deserve all of the support and preparation you can get! I wrote more in-depth about this in my article on The Postpartum Period in my Becoming a Mother series. But, this one is about those little details that no one tells you about postpartum.
This article was included as a part of my episode on What No One Tells You About Pregnancy. You can click the link to read that next or listen to the podcast below!
In my experience and from what I see in the motherhood community, we all spend so much of our pregnancy focusing on the pregnancy, birth, and how to care for a newborn. All great things. But our focus is so limited to those topics, that our postpartum period, or fourth trimester, doesn’t get the attention that it deserves.
Focusing on Postpartum
As I mentioned, I have an entire article dedicated to The Postpartum Period because it truly is such a challenging time for so many of us. And postpartum care is really lacking, at least in the U.S. There will be regular appointments with loads of questions for your baby after birth- and rightfully so. But only one singular appointment around 6-8 weeks after birth for you.
The focus shifts so quickly from your body to your baby, and it can feel like we are left behind a bit after birth. We need to advocate for ourselves during this period. Our bodies just went through the trauma of childbirth and will continue to change as it’s healing. I have a list of all of the items that saved me during my postpartum period, and I’ll be real honest. A donut cushion was probably the most beneficial item that I found.
Pay Attention to Your Body
How is it healing? Is sex painful after you are cleared for it? Are stitches healing? Some very common things might scare you, but it’s better to be prepared or to ask questions. An example is postpartum hair loss. It’s inevitable. Because your body doesn’t shed as much hair during pregnancy. This is why you usually end up with such amazing hair during pregnancy.
But it all has to even out in the long run. And that’s why you will have a period of time, usually around 4 months, where hair loss seems excessive. And there is no magic fix. Take your prenatal vitamins. Eat well. And it will pass. See your hairstylist, mine did color and cuts specific to hide and thinned out spots and make me feel more comfortable.
Mental Health Matters
And pay just as close attention to your mental health as your physical health. Are you feeling down or depressed? Do you feel anxious? Or angry? Are you having any scary thoughts? I struggled with all of those. It can be quickly brushed off as the “baby blues”. But when those “baby blues” last more than a couple of weeks, it can very easily and very sneakily turn into a whole range of postpartum mental health struggles.
If you experience this, first of all, I want you to know you are not alone. I’ve been there. Speak to your provider, I promise that you are not the only person to step into their office with those concerns. Find a therapist that you trust and feel comfortable talking with.
What No One Tells You About Postpartum Self-Care
Find ways to care for yourself. Self-care is crucial as a mother, especially in the beginning. The demands of a newborn are overwhelming. And overstimulating. You are constantly pouring into this little being. And you are needed outside of that baby as well. Your partner, your house, your family, your friends, your work, the list goes on.
By pouring into all of these other cups, your cup is quickly drained. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take daily breaks (even if it’s only a few minutes. Save and do some of the self-care activities in my Postpartum Self-Care article.
And find a hobby – one that allows you to focus on something other than parenting or caring for someone else. You deserve it. Becoming a mother is challenging. Especially for first-time mothers who are meeting a new version of themselves in motherhood. It’s easy to lose yourself in that. If you can relate, go check out my article on How Motherhood Changes You.
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