When you imagine your life after having a baby, it is easy to see the diapers, snuggling, and a slew of baby items taking up space in your house. And if you have been reading up on birth recovery, you know your physical needs will need to be a priority in those first weeks home as well.
We want to share three real parts of recovering from birth in the U.S. that are becoming more and more “normal” but are still quite overwhelming and debilitating. Not because we want to scare you, but because it is never wrong to share about a potential struggle so it can benefit others from overcoming their own!
Many people in the U.S. are late to understand the magnitude of the “mindfulness movement” to heighten their emotional intelligence or participate more fully in their self-care rituals. Instead, it is common for feelings to be buried or ignored. Or more common, it is human nature to take any feelings of discomfort and pain and find ways to blame others as the cause.
In the postpartum period, it is common to feel intense moods, positive and negative. Early stages are referred to as baby blues, and longer lasting symptoms may be signs ofP.M.A.D.s like postpartum depression, or postpartum anxiety. Your feelings seem bigger, or maybe even out of control, and it may seem like you are a stranger to yourself. The postpartum person is one that deserves an immense amount of compassion and support. The feelings, changes, and experiences are all combined and are overwhelming. The overwhelm can feel debilitating.
Having a strong emotional ties to your baby is a developmental trait that has helped our species survive. AND it makes it very hard for some to accept help. But we also aren’t designed to do parenthood in such small groups of only two-ish people!
You may not have a lot of experience with a newborn. You may not understand what is normal for them, let alone a new postpartum person. And making sure everyone has what they need and want is a lot of stress! And let’s not forget about the to-do lists and doctor appointments. Many women are taught from a very young age that they are the problem solvers and home makers, so learning to ask for help is a very hard thing to suddenly start doing if you have little practice with it.
Many families share with us things like they feel trapped, or they have no focus, they feel constantly tired, and their level of personal hygiene is surprising.
It is a drastic shift in time management when a newborn comes home. For very social people, having a new baby may mean their typical interactions are completely disturbed. And for those in a social circle who don’t have friends, they may find it hard to know how to help or talk about the new things going on in your life.
And for those who don’t have a wide social network that invites you out and helps you have a few shared experiences you enjoy, what seems like your normal behavior of spending time by yourself allows even less opportunity to ask for help.
Whether you are introverted or extroverted, we recommend having at least a two close friends commit to making a visit in the first weeks to spend face-to-face time with you.
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Uptown Doula is Charlotte's first choice in birth support & postpartum care.
Our team of professional doulas in Charlotte, NC provides families with evidence-based birth support, postpartum & newborn care, infant feeding support, childbirth education, placenta encapsulation, and more.
We support new and expectant parents in and around Charlotte, NC, including Denver, Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, and Pineville.