Pregnancy

Don't Worry, Postpartum Isn't All Pain and Tears

by Gretchen Bossio

Photograph by Twenty20

Birthing babies is hard work, as is the recovery that can last for weeks. I’m sure you’ve read about the woes of balancing your milk supply, healing your pelvic floor and attending to the baby blues and/or postpartum depression that can creep in during this delicate season, but have you paid attention to the unique joys of the postpartum season?

Because, let me tell you, postpartum isn’t all pain and tears.

As much as you should prepare for the physical and emotional upheaval of post-birth, I think it’s just as important to embrace how perfect postpartum can be. It’s such a special time—and it’s fleeting, gone before you know it. So, as you count down the days to your baby’s arrival or read this during a middle of the night breastfeeding session, remember, there is so much good to be found during the postpartum days and weeks.

People Want to Take Care of You

Practice saying yes now. After you’ve given birth, people want to take care of you. Let them! Say yes to staying in bed. Yes to soaking in the bath. Yes to handing off the baby so you can shower or eat or take a nap. Yes to meal delivery. Yes to a hug. Yes to household chore help. Take advantage of opportunities to rest every chance you get for as long as you get. You are a birth queen and deserve it!

You Have a Perpetual Excuse

I’m not one for excuses. I don’t like to run late to appointments or behind on projects. I hate when the laundry overflows and there are no clean forks because the dishwasher hasn’t been run. BUT, when I’ve just had a baby, all bets are off. I have the best excuse for anything and everything. And if the baby doesn’t work as my excuse, I’ve got the trio of big siblings. Juggling a crew means there's always a reason for whatever mishap occurs. Excuses for life!

Newborn Snuggles

Need I say more? The way their weight falls against my chest. The milk-drunk smiles. The tiny perfection of them. It’s all more than I can handle. Babies grow up so fast that I find myself wanting to sit longer and just soak it all in, imprint it on my heart and remember every little bit forever and ever.

Yes, it can be rough. But it can also be amazing.

Overgramming Is 100% Acceptable

Want to post 10 pictures of your new baby back to back? Do it! That little one is precious and there is no shame in the Instagram game!

You Might Heal Faster Than You Think

After my first baby, my midwife prepared me to bleed for 4 to 6 weeks. I didn’t. I bled for maybe a week and then a pantyliner sufficed for another week or two. It was nothing. So, as you stock up on birth supplies, buy plenty of pads, but keep the receipt—you might not need them all!

Breastfeeding Can Be Easy

My first breastfeeding experience was a huge learning curve, but with my subsequent children, it came much easier. In fact, my fourth isn’t even a month old yet and we are already in a really good routine. Like, to the point that I enjoy breastfeeding and love that I have a reason to sit and snuggle him so often throughout the day and night. My best advice is this: really study breastfeeding. It’s truly a science and something you (and your baby) have to learn. Knowing terms and how to troubleshoot potential issues before you actually embark on breastfeeding is super helpful in easing into this part of the postpartum experience.

Slow Is Good for the Soul

Life doesn’t give us much time to pause and reflect. Postpartum is a time that does. Make a deliberate choice to love this slow season. Good things will come from it.

Bottom line: Don’t let postpartum scare you. Yes, it can be rough. But it can also be amazing. Keep your focus on the bright side and remember that these select few days are really special in the long run of parenting. Soak them up and relish in the fact that you’ve done and continue to do something amazing—birth, care for and love a new little life.

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