I was 11 days postpartum when I took this photo. I had just figured out how to successfully use my Solly Baby wrap and decided that was enough cause for celebration. I attempted to clean the room behind me, threw a hat on my unwashed hair, and took one of the only pictures I have of the two of us from those long newborn days.
Why is it that the immediate postpartum is SO hard? Emotionally…Mentally…Physically… How can we as moms who have walked through this period help other moms have realistic expectations for when their time comes? Helping other expecting moms set realistic expectations for their immediate postpartum period is KEY here.
✨Your body is not going to immediately “bounce back” to how it was before you got pregnant. Your belly may still look 5 or 6 months pregnant when you are leaving the hospital WITH your baby. It takes a combination of time, good nourishment, and self care to get your postpartum body feeling anywhere close to what it used to be. (Breastfeeding helps a lot, too!)
✨Speaking of breastfeeding, if you are choosing to feed your baby in this way, your breasts may change in ways you did not anticipate. They may change shape, size, or color, and they may become tender or sore.
✨The skin on your stomach stretches to accommodate your growing baby, so after giving birth, this remaining skin may become loose or saggy. It will become more firm over time, depending upon how active you are.
✨If you have had a cesarean, you will have to account for caring for your incision and scar, which will reduce in redness and thickness over time.
✨After giving birth to your baby and your placenta, your body automatically goes into milk-making mode. About 3-4 days after giving birth, your milk essentially comes in to your breasts. The hormones used to make and stimulate your breastmilk may bring about many different emotions for you.
✨Giving birth, no matter how many times you do it, changes you as a person from the inside-out forever. The changes may be beautiful but also difficult and humbling, having a support team around you can be a total game-changer.
✨Even if you have the most supportive partner or family, eventually everyone will either have to return to work or go back to their own respective homes, and you will be left alone to care for your newborn. Feelings of isolation may creep in. This is when seeking out a community of like-minded individuals can come in handy. Look into these kinds of support groups even before you have your baby.
✨Lack of sleep may cause you to become forgetful or foggy some days. So much so, that the term “mom brain” is often thrown around to describe these kinds of symptoms!
✨Coming to terms with your new sense of normal may be very difficult. Feelings of disappointment, sadness, and even resentment can come in waves.
✨Accepting your new responsibility of being one of the sole care providers for an infant makes you come face to face with your new identity: you are now a parent! Becoming a parent is one of the biggest identity shifts someone can go through.
Do you have any additional tips surrounding creating realistic expectations of the physical, emotional, and mental challenges of the immediate postpartum period? Comment below with your advice!