You did it! You had a successful pregnancy and got that baby O-U-T. However you did it, it doesn't matter. YOU GAVE BIRTH.
A close friend recently had her first baby. She had suffered 2 miscarriages in 3 years and went through all sorts of genetic testing and mental anguish to try to put a diagnoses on their miscarriage(s) and to get pregnant again. The third one stuck.
She planned a Natural Birth with a doula and read up on labor and delivery. She was prepared. But that baby didn't want to come! At 42 weeks, she was induced. Labor didn't progress and 2 days later, she had a c-section.
Welcome to parenting. Nothing happens as planned and you learn to roll with it.
But for those that are/were used to controlling their lives, including their body - (ahem, me) - this giving up control and "rolling" with it is/was hard to do.
Now - my friend had her body cut open and a perfectly healthy, gorgeous baby boy. BLISS, right? The ordeal was over?
Nah. She was shocked and overwhelmed with tears of guilt when the expected BLISS didn't immediately arrive.
But, really, give yourself a break! Your body is recovering, hormones are pouring out of you (literally), and you can't get any sleep because that new baby doesn't know it is now detached from you and demands to be ON YOU all day/night.
So - here was my advice to my friend:
- Be the Boss. Figure out what needs to get done and make it happen. Remember Bride-Zilla? Now you are Mom-Zilla.
- All of the well-meaning people who want to hold the baby? Ask them to bring your family a meal instead. Vacuum your floor. Do your laundry. You sit back in your Rocker and snuggle/feed your baby and put your feet up while you read Harry Potter again. Sneak in a nap, too.
- When you need a break. ASK for it. And leave the house. Alone. Get yourself to Starbucks for 20 minutes and read the newspaper. Breathe.
- Give yourself time to HEAL.
- btw - those GroVia BioSoakers make great postpartum maxi pads for Mom.
- Give yourself permission to use disposable diapers (all natural, chlorine-free, of course) until that umbilicus cord falls off. Check out GroVia's BioDiaper in Size 1.
- Introduce cloth diapers when you can.
- Invest in a Moby Wrap, Sling, Wearable Baby Carrier.
- Consider kicking Dad out of the bedroom so that he can get a good sleep. Meanwhile, breast-feeding Mom deals with Baby and Bassinet all night. That way - Dad is refreshed and can take over after the 5am feeding and Mom gets THE BEST well-deserved 3 hours of solid sleep until the next feeding (knowing that baby is taken care of by Dad helps - your mental baby cry trigger can turn off until Dad comes).
- Dad also gets time to bond with baby without Mom hovering. Dad gains confidence in his new role as parent.
- You stop the inner-monologue of wondering HOW IN THE HECK your husband can't hear the baby cry and continue to sleep so peacefully??? In my case, this created a bit of resentment.
- Dreamfeed at 11pm before going to bed. This means gently waking baby up to change into a fresh diaper and giving him one last drink before you crash yourself.
- Have 2 diapers ready for nighttime changes (velcro is good for this - you don't have to completely wake up).
- DON'T change his diaper unless he poops!
- When baby wakes for next feeding, grab him and bring him to bed with you. Learn to breastfeed lying down on your side. Latch baby on. Fall back asleep (BUT NOT A DEEP SLEEP!). When you realize that baby is done feeding and asleep - swaddle him back up and put him back into his bassinet.
Survive the first month. That should be your only goal. Bond with that baby and let everything else slide.
Don't expect too much of yourself. Know that the first smile and demonstration of unconditional love from your baby is right around the corner.
And to conclude with the story about my friend? She employed (most of) these suggestions and came out a Winner! At 6 weeks, she had it down. Her belly was better. Mom and Dad had a routine.
She opened the door to BABY BLISS.