Postpartum care is a lost art that is slowly gaining traction once again in our culture. Thanks to social media, and frankly just a whole lot of mothers fed up with being handed a new baby and some mesh panties with a smile, wave, and an “Enjoy every moment!”, women are realizing how important it is to care for each other during our postpartum journeys.
However, it can be really hard for us to, in the moment, understand why we need to plan for and accept people helping us while we are recovering from birth. It is so common for us to feel like we need to have it all together, like we should be able to “bounce back” quickly, and be able to effortlessly fall into the care and keeping of our new child. And then when the transition, healing, and learning is not that easy, we feel like complete failures and horrible parents.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are three (of countless many) reasons you absolutely need to plan for and accept postpartum care.
Birth is rough! If this is the only reason you need to utilize postpartum care, its the best one. You spend upwards of a day, sometimes several days, getting a watermelon sized human out of your body. Even if you have the most positive birth experience ever, your body still needs a chance to rest and recover! Your uterus needs time to shrink back to its normal size, and your organs need to shift back into place.
Physically, the reasons to not jump right back into life after birth are countless. But what about the huge mental and emotional transition?
Postpartum is filled with new and unexpected things. Adding a new baby to your world brings on a host of new experiences you’ve never been through before. Your body takes on a new shape and is sore in places you didn’t know it could be. You feel emotions that are brand new. You probably cry over putting socks on. And in the midst of all your healing, there’s a tiny person that is completely dependent on you for every life sustaining and comforting need.
And not to mention, all of the huge decisions you suddenly have to make! Or at least, decisions that feel big in the moment. Making all the choices you are suddenly faced with (and usually offending someone in the process) while trying to get back into some sense of normal is hard! Therefore…
Postpartum care allows you to focus on you and your baby. If you have someone, or multiple someones, showing up and caring for you, you can spend time bonding with your baby without worrying about other things. Making meals, doing laundry, cleaning, running errands, and even driving you to appointments can be so much less stressful when there’s someone else to help. And most, importantly, having someone there simply to hold your hand and tell you everything is going to be alright as you walk through the first days of your new life is a phenomenal gift.
Postpartum care can be as simple as your mom, sisters, and friends coming by to check on you, or as in depth as hiring a professional postpartum doula. Whatever you choose, just know that you don’t have to go it alone!
We haven’t been taught that we need postpartum care. We live in a culture that only wants to know how quickly you can “bounce back” from birth. And where, in order to get an ounce of assistance, a new mother has to wade through a sea of criticism and unnecessary comments.
But we can do better. We can remind each other, and ourselves, how important it is to ask for and accept help. We can pay attention to new mothers, and help them before they reach their breaking point.
We can build stronger, more in tune tribes and do one step better than the previous generation.
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