I’m sure you are now most familiar with the three trimesters of pregnancy.
Let me share something uncommon with you and discuss the fourth and often forgotten part of pregnancy.
The postpartum recovery period.
Like in any other medical condition, you are diagnosed, prep for surgery, undergone surgery and have post op care prior to your release in the hospital.
Pregnancy is the ultimate medical condition that women can go through and it deserves the best possible care.
A mother’s health is of utmost importance now that she have a baby whose whole existence depends on her.
The Reality of What Happens During Your First Week of Postpartum
1. You will experience a new kind of exhaustion.
Giving birth is draining.
Physical. Whether you had a normal or cesarean delivery. You cannot do a complete bed rest and sleep for long hours as the baby demands for you to breastfeed and doctors and nurses will check up on you every few hours.
Also, the uneasiness of your heavy bleeding and achy body will keep you agitated to have continuous sleep and this is when sleep deprivation starts.
The change is overwhelming that a good support system is essential.
Emotionally. You will become either too happy, too sad, too nervous. I blame this to the hormones who’s still high from pregnancy and labor.
2. Lochia is real.
Heavy bleeding. Good thing that I bought my own set of adult diapers as I find it cost efficient rather than have the hospital supply me one because let’s be honest – hospital items are expensive.
Buy a dozen of disposable panties as its true that your underwear will get ruined!
By day 5 postpartum, I am already wearing maternity pads as I find the diapers hard to remove when peeing also I cannot seem to pee in the diapers as I am fully aware that I am peeing in a diaper, if you know what I mean.
maternity pads + disposable underwear = quite comfortable duo for my lochia problem.
My lochia status by day 23 postpartum, almost close to none anymore.
3. Sore and swelling vagina
I am speaking from my personal experience of a normal delivery.
You will want to keep your legs crossed to avoid the sting of the stitches. Also, peeing hurts as that is when it stings the most. Try breathing in and out to alleviate the pain.
And can I mention here, that I can feel it pulsating? and if you are one brave woman like me, you will examine it closely to look on the stitches and you can never unsee that forever…
4. You will fear your first time to do number 2.
I highly suggest for you to take a stool softener for this.
Women can never really escape from cramps no matter what. Come on, give us a break!
Postpartum cramps happen for 2 reasons:
- The uterus is contracting back to its normal size.
- The organs are shifting back in their places.
Pain reliever can help. Just make sure that the medicine you are taking is safe for breastfeeding and is prescribed by a doctor. Please never self-medicate.
6. You will still have a big, wrinkly tummy
7. Breastfeeding is not easy, at first…
The first week hurts the most because your nipple will bleed, get sore and blister not because baby’s latch is wrong but due to the opening of the milk ducts (that’s my personal theory). Your toes will curl from the pain😱.
Again, the sleepless nights as you will be feeding by demand, so when the baby cries then so will you.
Usually, they woke up every 2 hours but some nights as close as 20 minutes interval.
For the benefits: Of course breast milk is best for babies, I cannot stress that enough. The benefits that both mommy and baby will reap are huge.
Benefits for Mommy
- It lessens postpartum bleeding
- Diminishes one’s chances of having ovarian and breast cancer
- Helps us to return to our pre-pregnancy weight
- There’s also the factor of cost efficiency and portability.
Benefits for Baby
- The colostrum alone can do wonders to a newborn
- Strengthens the immune system
- Lowers the risk of obesity and diabetes
- Helps in brain development
- Avoids the case of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
I’m still getting the hang of it. But I can attest that breastfeeding and lack of sleep really are the big culprits in returning to my pre-pregnancy weight.
9. Too many advice and old wives tale
Elder’s old sayings really are too much. I follow some but at most it irritates me. I have gone 12 days without taking a shower because they kept on saying that I should not yet.
After close to two weeks I finally had one but with a rinsing water made up of boiled guava leaves and while standing in a pile of assorted leaves (tanglad, sampaloc, suha to name a few).
What I really oppose to is whenever there are visitors and they are about to leave is that they need to swipe saliva on my baby to avoid bad elements… eeewww! no, no, no please!
There are more ill advises but I wouldn’t enumerate anymore since I myself would never bother doing them as some sayings are really too much.
Anyway, you are the Mom and you will know and will do anything that you think is best for your baby no matter what others are saying.
10. You really need a support system.
And I am very thankful that I have a wonderful husband as he really takes care of me and our baby.
From the hospital when peeing, cleaning up post labor you need someone to watch over you and help you with things and when you get home, for when you need to take a break to shower, eat, sleep and recharge he can look after the baby.
You just need to do shifting so both can have enough rest.
Confession: As early as 15 days postpartum I think I had a meltdown as I have been really overwhelmed with my body changes after labor, being tired, the downs of breastfeeding and sleepless nights that I cried and told my husband that I am tired and close to having a depression but he talked me out of it and we came up with minor changes in our responsibilities so as to ease my half and for that I am very thankful to him.
11. Now I understand why new parents flood Facebook with baby photos.
EVERYDAY because new parents can’t help it. You can’t get enough photos of your newborn and you want to share how cute they are.
My camera roll these days only has one subject: my baby.
12. My epiphany.
As I was breastfeeding my baby, I just look at him and thought of the times when I first learned of his existence, what I did during my first trimester, how he feels when I am still pregnant and now, there he is in my arms as a human being. Sucking, blinking, moving and breathing and all.
Amazing! He came from inside me. Wow simply wow!
13. You’ll have several nickname for your little one.
Same with the photos you simply can’t get enough.
Postpartum, find what is most comfortable and effective for your healing and get more of that.
Check out more of my first mom time series in these related posts
Take care of yourself and enjoy motherhood!
For the veteran and more experience moms, Is there anything I should add on this list? Let me know in the comments below.
If you find this Postpartum Guide helpful, please share.
Photos credited to www.freepik.com