I don't think it matters if this is baby number 1 or baby number 4. The fourth trimester, is often, not what us women hoped for or expected.
Is that flash of truth too rough?
Let's be honest with each other ladies, Who among us came home to a clean house, food prepped, offered time to bathe, maybe some flowers? Ooo, that's fancy.
Raise your virtual hand, if you were taken care of.
I mean REALLY taken care of...in the way that your post Bringing- life- forth- into- the- world, self deserved. And I'm not talking about an unrealistic full on pampering..the'yre still men afterall, and we all know that most women can't even really function with no control of the daily activities. Case in point: Have you ever seen a mom with a cast and immobile? They're like feral caged ferets, they just can't relax. As a woman, it's really not in our social conditioning. BUT! What I mean is, were you taken care of, in the way YOU needed, using your love language and was did you partner prove to be a helpful a.k.a productive in the household, partner, who just got shit done, HAD shit done...? The short answer here is probably not. If you don't live near family, or if extra family wasn't there to greet you on your return from the hospital, your return was probably like mine. You came home to a dirty house, a pile of laundry, maybe a funky odor and nothing but milk and an half eaten box of pizza in the fridge. Less than glorious return you envisioned, wouldnt you say? And to some extent I get it because we have 2 dogs, hubs does work alot and he is trying to parent under stress. Howeverrrrrr, women do that shit All.Day. LOng. Period.
I spent the next 3 days after coming home with a new babe, vigorously cleaning, doing laundry, keeping a tiny human alive and reevaluating my marriage. Especially when after only a couple of hours, my body felt ready to give in and call our relationship quits. Post birth body is delicate and meant to be rested. Yet so many of us, i mean SOOOO many of us, push it and dont give our bodies the proper rest or time it needs to heal, which does no favors to our future selves!
So what else is postpartum like? Well for one, it can be the most isolating time in a woman's life, even when you're married or with a partner. You want to go out, but you're in pain, you're tired, you don't know how babe will be out there, maybe you don't even really want lil babe around other people yet....the debate just goes on and on, till the day is done, and obviously you're not going anywhere now. You have all these feelings, CRAZY feelings, sometimes negative feelings, maybe you have post partum depression, maybe you've developed anxiety...whatever the challenge, it can feel like you're the only one facing it. Isolating.
Hubs doesnt get it, friends without kids dont get it, friends with kids are too busy/ak.a you dont want to let on that you feel this way... its a neverending hallway of closed doors.
Social media can be a great distraction for this because you can usually find others feeling the same as you and build a community to support you. Now because we're humans, we also see the dazzling smiles of picture perfect moms who clearly dont feel the same way we do because...BING BING BING They apparently have their shit together...? and judge ourselves in the process of finding a judge free zone.
And don't get me started on the mommy and me groups. The thought of having to sit through Cloud nine parenting advice from Momma Marvelous and her band of Cupcake cronies is just too much for the lot of us to bear. So that's the plight of the new mom, who finds herself hiding in her closet, stuffing her face with chocolate and crying at her failure as a mom ( aka the first 4 months of postpartum after Olive). Back to social media...those dangerous little squares that can feed our anxieties about what we're doing, how we're doing it and what we're doing it with, pushing us to bake the effing cupcakes! Don't get it twisted that those squares didn't take ALOT of work! The fact that you want to do anything OTHER than all the awesome things you are doing right now speak volumes to not only just how awesome you are but also to the power of social media and the influencers!
I didn't get the sweet photo shot of me and my new babe or the candid, pucker your lip cute shot of the girls meeting for the first time. We, to this day, still do not have a family photo, unless the one with Santa counts. There's no professional newborn photos of either of my children because frankly, I was just so busy dealing with the rest of life. And I'm coming to understand that's ok.
And don't get me wrong! Those other women who did get all that, I fully support them because those are fantastic momentos! But at the same time, I also realize their lives are very different to my own. They do things differently, they mother differently, there's different people and surroundings in their lives so ya, the way we show up on insta is going to look different. The trap is it going from something inspirational that inspires you to achieve a goal to something obsessive that makes you feel jealous and bad about yourself. Paired with isolation, jealousy becomes much more of a health hazard and can lead you down a dark path. Especially when the jealousy isn't even warranted because again, it's a job for many momma influencers, to make their feeds look exceptional.
My question is always, do they have more engaged partners that I do? Because alot of postpartum is your partner truly allowing you a space where you can heal and connect with your babe, without them feeling overshadowed. Because that's another part of postpartum, is making sure you still pay attention to your relationship. The list keeps growing! In a time when all you really want to do is sleep, cuddle with your babe, eat and then sleep some more, anything other than seems almost annoying! Having to actively engage in your relationship sounds realll daunting. Especially if you're ass tired, smell like sick and are up several times a night feeding babe, while your partner sleeps.
But that's the real postpartum mommas. It's not a 6 week vacation as some would have it seem. It's not all rosy filtered milk baths and perfect latches, date nights on the beach, weekends in the spa a la hubby... shit girl, sometimes it's NONE of that. Correction, it's USUALLY none of that!
It's hard. It's worry. Worry about your child, worry about your body, worry about your future, worry about the future of your relationship.
It's fear. Fear that you wont be enough for your babe. Fear that you can't be enough for your partner.
It's transcending. It takes your life from one place to a completely new one. it tests and pushes you as a person to become a better one, a stronger less fearful one. It shows you, your partner in a completely new light, with each child, showing your their capability to love.
So no. Postpartum was not what I expected. and not because of the lack of sleep, late night feedings, struggles with breastfeeding, physical pain or isolation noone told me about. It wasn't what I expected because I didn't expect it to be so many things. And to some degree, because I expected having a child would magically change my husband into someone he is ultimately not. He, in his defense, did the best he knew how, with the experience he had to that point. Does that make sense? In other words, the house still stood, my oldest daughter was alive and well and the pizza was only a day old. The odour, I later found out, was me literally walking into my dogs fart. I think all of us mommas, need to work with what we got.
Postpartum isn't easy. Let's start the conversation there.