I can absolutely remember the day we brought my first baby home from the hospital. We carried her into the house, I surveyed the scene, gave Jane to my husband, and started frantically vacuuming. Obviously, there were some decent hormone issues combined with bringing a newborn into a house with two massively shedding dogs, but I was INTENT on cleaning.
Fast-forward to the next day. It was a GORGEOUS September day. Having not slept much the night before, I thought it would be a good idea to pack up our new stroller, head downtown for a walk and coffee. We walked, and pushed her, and walked some more. I continued these types of activities for the duration of my postpartum days, and I’m here to tell you that it was not the best choice.
Our society is one of the only ones in the the world that values a new mom’s success by how quickly she “rebounds.” How fast you are back in your jeans, back at the gym, back out with friends, and the list goes on. And the majority of us, myself included, feel that pressure.
My doula training was so eye-opening on why this thought process is so damaging, both physically and emotionally. I remember sitting there and realizing all of the things I wish I had done differently, and maybe, for a second, thought about convincing my husband to try for a fourth ;).
Think about what our bodies have gone through. Delivery aside, you have spent 10 months working towards growing an ACTUAL living being. That’s a LONG time to have your body constantly in overdrive. Now let’s consider delivery. No matter how you deliver, you’re talking about major mental and physical exertion. So guess what? You’re going to be TIRED. More than tired.
So – when you’re TIRED, and your body and mind need a break, what should you do? You should REST. That’s it. You should lay in bed and feed your baby (however you choose to!). You should let the inside of your body take a much-needed break by laying low and healing. You should let your mind rest by napping as much and as often as you can. You should eat, you should drink, and you should ask for help. Trying to do too much, too soon can result in a much slower healing time, feelings of inadequacy, and frustration. With all that a new mom has on her plate, there’s no time for that!!
Now, as a mom of 3, I fully recognize that once any subsequent babies come along and you go home with a newborn to your other children, the advice to rest seems laughable. But, try to find those quiet pockets of time when one, or miraculously, ALL are sleeping and close your eyes, even for just 10 minutes! This is also when a postpartum doula can be helpful, especially for those moms who don’t have family nearby.
Ultimately, as much as you can, take it easy, my friends. You’ll be so much better off by listening to your body, instead of societal pressures.
And, obviously, give me a call!