Postpartum Recovery is a Whirlwind
It’s a good thing they send you home with that cute and snuggly little baby to stare at all day long, because postpartum recovery is the WORST.
Please forgive my emotions – I still can’t make sense of them yet. Almost three months out and I’m still in a whirlwind. My days are spackled with highs of confidence and strength, moments of feeling ugly and messy, only to find laughter and diaper commercials that lead to sobbing tears.
At first, I thought that being 9 months pregnant was bad. That entire month lasted approximately 536 days. I couldn’t find a single maternity outfit that still fit. Even with my mountain of pillows, I could never get comfortable enough to sleep. Between the false contractions, the back aches, and the raging pressure on my bladder – I was counting the seconds until delivery.
Then labor set in and I didn’t think I was going to make it. Nothing could have prepared me for my complete loss of dignity as every nurse and doctor on the floor got a chance to see my lady bits. Throughout each of my pregnancies, the fear of the unknown surrounding delivery was always hard for me.
Little did I know that postpartum recovery would take the cake as being the worst part of it all. Obviously, I knew that it would be painful, but after three babies – I didn’t realize how difficult something like peeing could become. The night sweats, dry skin, and the hair loss can all take you by surprise. Aside from the hemorrhoids and the trouble trying to dress-up my deflated stomach – you add breastfeeding into the mix – and that takes the terror level up a few a notches.
And maybe it’s the hormones talking or my lack of sleep, but I would do it all again. Somehow those sweet baby smiles and innocent little snores have the ability to completely brainwash a mother. You suddenly have amnesia and forget how engorged and swollen you were the first couple of weeks home. You faintly remember the fact that breastfeeding with a Hoover vacuum leaves you feeling like you rubbed sandpaper on your already sore, cracked, and bleeding breasts.
The mental impact of delivery takes much longer to fade. And while your brain will never go back to its pre-pregnancy state (I promise you it won’t) you learn how to function as your new normal. You learn how to manage your exhaustion with daily IV drips of caffeine. You learn that being forgetful means you are now an expert list maker and that getting out the door on time will now require a specialized college degree. It’s all par for the course my friend.
You’re excited over the newness of this bundle of joy and sad because the pregnancy part is over (yes, you get sad even when you hate being pregnant like me). Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, you realize this precious time together won’t last forever.
Some of us can’t wait to delve back into our passions and others fear having to ever part with our babies again. Some days I’m back on my health regime of exercise and good food while other days I binge watch Netflix all afternoon. Some days I scrub the house and other weekends I watch the laundry pile up without a care in the world. Sometimes I cry over spilled milk (Literally. Do you know how long it took to pump that bottle?) or irrationally lose my temper with my husband for not running the dishwasher at night.
IS THIS NORMAL?! Yes. Yes it is. It’s all part of the crazy miracle of having a baby and the uncharted path of recovery that unwinds beyond it. All I can say is buckle up and enjoy the ride. Welcome to motherhood.