Having a baby and becoming a mother is one of the best things that has ever happened to me, however the postpartum period has been somewhat of a challenge.
This last pregnancy was especially emotional for me due to a previous miscarriage.
After finding out I was having a boy, I found myself getting more and more excited the closer I came to my due date. I was excited about meeting my baby boy, and being able to enjoy some parts of life that I had to alter while pregnant. Things like sleeping on my stomach, having a glass of wine and being able to tie my own shoes.
My son was born on March 26, 2018. When he was five days old, I was diagnosed with Bells Palsy. The right side of my face began to droop and my right eye watered constantly from staying open.
The Bells Palsy diagnosis was frustrating because out of my three pregnancies, I felt like my recovery period was progressing the most smoothly. I suffered a little postpartum depression with both of my previous pregnancies, so I worked hard to avoid some of the things that I knew could contribute to postpartum depression.
I made sure to shower daily (okay, let’s be honest..with a newborn..hmm.. at least every two days), get out of the house and get dressed even if I wasn’t planning on going anywhere.
Those things did help, but during the postpartum period, you are naturally distanced from the world. The late nights, constant diaper changes and feedings have you in a whirlwind. You can barely keep up with the day.
You hate and love company at the same time
Having people over means you have to get dressed. And you want the house clean. But you don’t have the energy to really care about either one.
After my bells palsy diagnosis, I was embarrassed. I didn’t want people to see my face. I was afraid because of my droopy face, I might spit or drool.
But guess what? People came and it made me feel good to have adult conversations. No one made me feel bad about my face. And they brought food!!
You don’t want to share the baby
Days and nights are long. And they run together.
People offer to help, and you want/need help, but you are afraid they won’t do it like you. You know that this sacred baby time will pass, and you want to soak up every moment.
If you are returning to work, you know that someone else will witness most milestones before you.
For that reason, you hold the baby as much as possible. You refuse the offers for relief. The moments that you should be asleep are spent staring lovingly at your baby.
Most of your affection is reserved for the baby
You want to have enough affection to go around for everyone, but the truth is that you are too tired.
Not only are you tired, but your body is crashing from the crazy emotional high.
The postpartum period can be really difficult for husbands. They don’t understand why their wives have an unending supply of kisses and snuggles for baby, but can often be short and withdrawn from them.
My husband and I have discovered that while I am healing, intimacy can be found in more than just the physical. We steal little moments to laugh together and talk about our day.
We still try to steal kisses too.
We also tag team parent our older children together which cuts down on either of us feeling overwhelmed and burned out. We take turns spending time with our children separately and together.
In the moments when I feel down about the postpartum whirlwind, I look at my son and realize that this stage is only temporary. One day when my children ask what it was like when they were babies, I think my mind will drift back to the tender moments, not the sleepless nights and challenging days.