Not Your Cookie Cutter Postpartum Experience
Maybe you’ve seen me on social media or maybe you are just now coming across my blog and don’t know me at all. Either way you opened this blog because you are curious. What does postpartum really look like? I wish there was a one-size fits all answer to this but every mother is truly different. Today, I wanted to be a little more vulnerable and share my experience in hopes that it may speak to someone. You are not alone.
The first two weeks were H A R D.
What did I expect, right? I just evacuated a foreign being from my body that had been wrestling with my hormones the past ten months. It wasn't over for me and it wasn’t going to be immediately. My body was completely different. I was mourning the loss of my life pre-baby. I was sleep deprived and in pain. To sum it up I was depressed.
I didn’t want Ezra. Reid (my husband) had to step in a lot in those first couple of weeks because I would lay there and ignore my son when he cried. You wouldn’t believe how tough it is for me to admit that. As my Instagram would have it, I’m perfectly put together. Not. Even. I felt very alone those first couple of weeks. I couldn’t bond with my son and I certainly wasn’t having an intimate connection to my husband.
“The mother-child bond is strong and happens immediately but the father may not bond immediately and that’s okay,” our pediatrician would reassure Reid. Only Reid didn’t need reassurance then. I was the one that couldn‘t bond with my son! When the doctor would turn to me and ask me how I was doing, I swallowed those thoughts and smiled, “Great!”
As time moved on...
My body began to heal and I felt less in pain. It wasn’t until the third week after giving birth that I even felt like leaving the bed. At this time I was more inclined to hold Ezra and be around friends. I was still 30 pounds heavier than I was pre-pregnancy and I think that hit me hard. As society would have it, a woman would have a baby and instantly "snap back" to her old physique or even come out on the other end stronger. I started doing HIIT workouts and practically starving myself (by eating much smaller servings) and I ignored a lot of other basic needs by putting the number on the scale first.
Around four weeks, I ended up in the hospital with mastitis and my milk production in my right breast decreased significantly. This is probably when I had my "oh shit" moment. Mom guilt overcame me. I felt so selfish for focusing on my own body and not caring more about nurturing my sons body. I stopped my exercising around then and swore to protect him.
Fast forward 4 months.
Today I feel good. I feel happy! I feel more myself than I have in a long time. My body is still different but, I mean, why wouldn't it be? It created something amazing. Today my body has been nourishing and growing my son for over a year. I feel like that is something to celebrate! Today when I look in the mirror I feel proud and much more like myself than I have in probably over half a year. I don't know when exactly I started to feel whole again, it just sort of happened. When I talk to Reid about it he says looking back he thinks I may have had Postpartum Depression. The first two weeks were the worst of it but I wasn't quite myself for the first couple months. We will never truly know, though, because we didn't seek professional health. I felt I could do it by myself. I denied being less than perfect and let that self loathing consume me.
I'm sharing this today because I feel like it is important to put it out there that not everyone is perfect or has the perfect first mom experience. If you have experienced these feelings or are currently experiencing them, you are not alone. I try not to focus too much on what I was like in those first couple of weeks because I owe it to myself to not be consumed with the ever manipulating "mom guilt". I would definitely recommend talking to your health provider if you are feeling similar things to this. They are educated in spotting the signs of PPD and can help guide you or get you some 'chill pills', as my midwife would call them.