As I pushed out my baby, I breathed a deep sigh of relief. The journey was over. But then how wrong I was! The journey had just begun. And so had my troubles. Apart from intolerable pain in the nether and other unmentionable areas, anytime crying, pooping and sucking baby and never-thinning crowd of people doling out advice, there was something that was happening to my mind. The changes were so subtle and so slow that they went unnoticed. I don’t know what had taken over me when my daughter was born, but it felt as if I had been possessed by some crazy malevolent spirit. Let’s hear about my postpartum recovery and how to take care of yourself post childbirth.
I didn’t like people touching my newborn baby (well, I am sure it happens with all new mothers).
I didn’t like the crowd of well-wishers that surrounded me all the time (though it wasn’t all the time, it certainly felt so as it happened especially when I was exhausted and wanted some quiet time alone).
I didn’t like the constant stream of advice, suggestions and horror stories from mothers of teens/grownups (though they were well-meant for most part, they were of another time, another era. I want to bring up my child my way; want to make my own mistakes).
So there were times when I sulked, when I was irritated and in foul mood. There were times when I ended up saying a few sharp words. And there were (most) times when I regretted them. As my husband and my mother-in-law were the two constant features in my life post-delivery, they usually found themselves at the receiving end. Though I am not proud of my unusual behaviour of those days, I now feel it was a depression of some sort. Of course, my apologies did the damage control but I believe the ever-changing hormones, the demands of a new born baby and the exhaustion made me do certain weird uncharacteristic things.
People give you a bucket full of advice when it comes to breastfeeding and new born care. But nobody talks about how the mind of a new mother is affected and how to take care of it.
If you want to know about postpartum recovery or how to take care of yourself post childbirth, here are some good new mother self care tips:
- Rest well. You need plenty of rest for postpartum recovery, to build your strength and to be an active mother. Engage help of family members or hire a nanny so that you get adequate quality rest.
- Read well. Read good books, sitcoms or funny movies that will help reduce some stress.
- Exercise. Ask somebody trustworthy to take care of your child for sometime while you go for a stroll or exercise. The release of endorphins or the happy hormones will keep you in a cheerful mood.
- Limit number of visitors. Talk to your husband, confinement nanny, MIL or SIL, or anybody you trust to limit the number and timing of visitors if they make you uncomfortable. If you find that visitors still outstay their welcome, take matter in your own hands. Don’t be rude but lie down and pretend to be tired or lazy. Or better still, tell them it’s time for the baby’s feed. If they are smart enough, they will take the hint.
- Interact with people. Make it a point to mingle with people you bond with a few hours of the day. The interaction will keep you stimulated.
- Avoid giving into your hormones. Blame it on the hormones, fatigue or anxiety of being a new mother, sharp words may come out of your mouth. Just own it and apologise. Also, talk about this to people around you so that they will try their utmost to not instigate you.
- Consult a doctor. If after a few weeks, you still feel down, depressed and irritated all the time, talk to your doctor. There’s nothing wrong in seeking medical advice for postpartum depression. It may help in averting larger problems in the future.
What were your postpartum recovery experiences? How did you take care of yourself post childbirth? Do share some practical postpartum recovery tips.