7 Things to Remember After Having a Baby
Don't feel like yourself? Thats OK!
It is ok not to feel like yourself, to feel consumed, it takes time to get back to “being you.” Your whole life has been changed, you went through something exciting, rough, jarring, and AMAZING! But the other side of that is you were just carrying around a human for months, and now they are lying in front of you. Give yourself props, you just GREW an entire human. That being said you are now responsible for a little person, for first time moms (FTM) this is a whole new world.
Having a baby can be scary, and it can be filled with worry (it is different for everyone). You can become consumed with thoughts of baby, bottles, diapers, how to breast feed, if you want to breast feed, going back to work, or deciding to stay at home. It is a lot to deal with. Take a minute. Take a breath. It is going to be ok and you will figure it out. As for being yourself, that comes with time. Little by little you will start to find yourself again in this new role. You will also discover something amazing and unbelievable: You are still the SAME person.
Support is key! Make sure your significant other is supportive. Tell them how you feel. let them know that you are struggling, or that you aren't struggling. Make sure you are talking about everything going on. If you don't tell them how you feel, or what you are thinking, or even what you are worrying about, then they will be left to guess. Guessing can lead to jumping to wrong conclusions and that my friend can cause some serious issues and stress that is unneeded. Try to remember that it isn't the same for them, they didn't have their entire body rearranged, they didn't give birth, they didn't gain 30 pounds. That is not to say it they are less important, or that their life hasn't been changed. But they can't know how you feel, only YOU know how you feel.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are experiencing extreme sadness, please talk talk to a professional about postpartum depression. It is serious and there is help.
It is perfectly normal to not know what you are doing
Yes I realize that the statement "It is perfectly normal to not know what you are doing," sounds terrible. You can read every book, and still your baby can make no sense to you. Babies can cry for no reason, they can refuse to eat, they can have melt downs for no apparent reason, and they can get lonely and want to be held after 30 seconds. They are unpredictable and every baby is different.
There isn't a book to teach you to love your baby, just take a deep breath and it will come to you. When I had my daughter she cried for the first three nights nonstop. She was adjusting to a new, huge, and cold world and just didn't know how to cope. She is not the happiest baby I have ever seen. The greatest thing a nurse told me was "just be patient, you are both figuring it out and it will be ok." I looked at her like she had three heads, I thought my baby hated me, that I would never figure out what to do and that I had failed already. I LOVE being a mother, and I love her more than anything. The nurse was so beyond right, it will be OK and you will get it. Sometimes it just takes a little while.
Here is a tidbit most people won't tell you: it can take a few days to feel that “connection” to your baby.
Crazy right? You love the little thing in your stomach already, yet it take a day or two for you to fully connect that they are the same baby. Don't freak out if you don't feel an instant connection, it can happen. It is normal. It will be ok.
It CAN take a good minute to get rid of the baby weight
Taboo subject right? Think about it this way.
It took you 8 months to gain the weight. So it WILL take a few months to get rid of this. On average it takes about 6 months for people to get back to pre-preganancy weight. But it is possible to get to your weight and not look quite the same. That is ok, focus on loving your new mommy body and being healthy, try not to focus on the views of society. Focus on you, and your now larger family.
The people you hear about coming out of the hospital weighing less than when they went in, are NOT THE NORM. Most of them are genetically blessed, or very athletic. The only person I have seen do that was a very active dancer.
The main focus should be to be healthy. A crash diet often causes fatigue, you cannot afford that, and people usually gain the weight back plus some more. It’s ok to be a little heavier than usual for a little while, slowly and healthily lose the weight.
SEX what is that??
Sex is a complicated thing. For some it is the last thing on their mind. For others they don't event want to wait the 6 weeks. Everyone is different. You might want it, you might not. Some women have a reduced libido, it is important to tell your significant other that it isn't them. You are not rejecting them you are just tired, overworked, baby consumed, and just not in the mood. It takes time to get back into the swing of things, you will have to work on your sex life. But make sure there is still affection, a passing brush, a kiss good night, SOMETHING to keep yourself connected. And remember communication is key. Baby time is happy time, but it can also be a stressful time in the beginning, just remember to talk to each other.
Let's take a minute...
What is the gender of your newest addition?
Everyone is going to have an opinion
Remember you are the parent, you don't have to listen to what EVERYONE ELSE says. When it comes down to it everyone has an opinion, and often they have evidence to support it. Most people mean well, but it is important to realize that what works for one person may not work for someone else. Take the advice you agree with and don't take the advice you don't agree with. It ll comes down to you.
REMEMBER: You know what is best, raise your baby with your own beliefs, do research, don’t listen to the negative people.
It is ok to take a little time for yourself
I will say it again. IT IS OK TO NEED TIME FOR YOURSELF! You are a parent, you are HUMAN. It is completely normal and acceptable to need some time for yourself. Some time to get your eye brows done, take a long shower, go see a movie, or event eat dinner at a table. Don’t feel guilty going out on a date every once in a while. This doesn't mean you should neglect or ignore your little one, but letting the grandparents or friends or even a babysitter watch you little one to you can have the occasional "me time" is not something you should feel bad about. It is important to take a few moments to do something that makes you feel good about yourself. Self-esteem can be often be a little shaky right now. It is important to your sanity to feel good about yourself!
Don’t just nap when the baby naps, get stuff done. Take naps when you are tired and the baby is sleeping. But you don't need to sleep if you aren't tired. Use this time to do things like watch a show, take a shower, get dressed (in something not covered in spit up, pee, or formula).
Give yourself a break!
You just pushed out a human. Either out of a tiny hole or via a C-section. That is hard to do. Ask anyone who did it. Before you brought a little person into the world, you grew and carried it around. That has to take something out of you. But you did it! You are AMAZING!
But you are still human. You are a mom, not a superhero. You cant do everything, accept the help. When someone offers to do the dishes, let them. It is ok that you can't do everything. You need to give yourself time to recover.
Support is key. Find people who have been there, having a baby is a big change. It can be a big adjustment. Talk to someone if you need to. Find a support group, talk to friends, go to classes, find people who know what you are going through. Enjoy you little one. They are made up of you and your partner.