Truth about your postpartum body
This week’s guest blog is from Ari who turned her really tough postpartum experience into a beautiful (and much needed) service and product for the early days of motherhood. Her journey that she will share is real, raw and hits home for me on so many levels. Enjoy!
What you won’t hear about your postpartum body…and What You Can Do About It.
Three days after my first son was born, I lay in bed with my legs spread apart as my mother hunched over to look for hemorrhoids “down there.” Staring at the ceiling fan, all I could think was, “In what parenting book did I see this picture?!”
The realities of motherhood are beautiful, stressful, messy, blissful and crazy all rolled into one. While you might have seen pictures of my handsome squishy baby on Facebook, you certainly weren’t seeing pictures of the havoc having him left on my body. I literally searched for these hashtags: #MamasFirstYear #Roids #LeakingFluidsAllOver #DryLipsAndNips
You can find plenty of books (and social media posts) about pregnancy, labor, delivery and newborn care. But when it comes to postpartum and what happens to your body after your bundle of joy is here, there just isn’t much out there.
This is what they don’t tell you about the first few weeks of postpartum:
Leaking and drying up happen at the same time.
How are these things possible in the same body, at the same time? Your breasts will most likely leak as your milk supply regulates to meet the needs of baby. It’s also common to bleed for multiple weeks with a vaginal birth. At the same time, your lips might be cracked due to the unquenchable thirst nursing creates. Plus, your nipples feel like they have been rubbed raw by sandpaper as they adjust to your newborn’s suckling. It is hard to believe but, yes, your body will leak and dry up at the same time.
The (important) details are often left out.
People will gladly tell you general things to expect, but the nuts and bolts are left out. When I was pregnant, I was often given the advice “sleep when baby sleeps,” but no one told me how impossible that might be or what five hours of interrupted sleep would do to me physically, emotionally and mentally. Spoiler alert: you’ll probably feel like you are in a deep haze, similar to a really awful hangover, without the fun stories of the night before to go with it.
You’ll probably have to ask for help for YOU.
At a baby shower, how often do you see gifts specifically for mom? Most people are hard-wired to get presents for baby, which is certainly appreciated, but what about mom? You’ll need materials of your own to kickstart your postpartum healing. You may also need support in the form of meals, house cleaning, and baby holding. When they say, “it takes a village,” they aren’t just talking about what’s good for the child. It’s also what’s good for the mom.
You’ll eventually tell your own story.
Postpartum doesn’t last forever. But it does last longer than most women care to admit. Depending on your type of birth your soreness, bleeding and hormonal rawness could last for weeks but eventually go away. I can’t say that motherhood gets easier after the first few months, but it does evolve, and you’ll adapt too. And if you decide to do it again, you aren’t crazy. You are in love, and that love makes it worth enduring some temporary discomfort for a lifetime of love.
After my first son’s birth I remember thinking, “WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME THIS WOULD HAPPEN TO MY BODY?!?!” I was running out the store for granny panties and an ice pack for my bum. I realized there needed to be a better way for moms to have the right stuff especially at such a tenuous time right after they leave the hospital. So I created Mama Must-Haves with a friend and fellow mom. These care packages are created by moms, for moms.
In a Mama Must-Haves, you’ll find vaginal pads, handmade nursing pads, lanolin nipple cream, Mother’s Milk tea, Summer’s Eve wipes, hemorrhoid wipes, EOS lip balm, and, of course, some little pieces of chocolate. All the items are beautifully wrapped and packaged in a reusable plastic tote, with a supportive note of for the new mama.
They’re a triple-shot of “it’s going to be OK,” “here’s what works,” and “have a little chocolate.”
If you are interested in Mama Must-Haves for yourself or a mom-to-be, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com.momconciergeaz. Each care package is $18 plus shipping and handling, and we ship anywhere within two days of purchase.
Ari Diaz is the founder of Mom Concierge, LLC, a business designed to support women during their postpartum recovery by offering personal assistant services, postnatal in-home massage including childcare, and individualized lists of referrals for the new mom.
Once calling Ohio, Montana, Oregon and Nevada home, she has settled in Phoenix and lovingly lives with her husband, Vic, and two boys, Benny (3 years) and Sam (7 months). She’s a firm believer in, “While mama takes care of baby, someone takes care of mama.”