It’s week 3 postpartum and I finally feel like I’m healing physically, mentally, and emotionally. A week ago I got mastitis, and I was really struggling. I read Liz Stanley’s blog post Surviving the First Three Months With a New Baby from sayyes.com and it brought tears to my eyes because when I read or hear other women’s stories of their experience of being a mother, I am comforted and reassured that I am not alone in feeling what I do. She writes, “Postpartum is a time I’ve needed to reach out and connect with other women more than any other season in my life.” I shared with a friend the other day that it was 1:00pm and I hadn’t brushed my teeth yet, washed my face, or showered. Zane is going through the first of many growth spurts and has been eating every 1-2 hours. He often wants to be held in order to sleep, which makes it difficult to do basic things like personal hygiene when I’m the only one at home with him. Most days I don’t mind. I relish this time that he lets me hold him and snuggle because I know it will end far too soon. My days of snuggling Zoey are mostly over. It’s hard to get a kiss or hug out of her now. And even on the days Stephen is here, we struggle to get basic housework done. We take turns caring for Zane and Zoey, both needing so much in their own way.
These days are slower with a newborn. I have more time to think and reflect. I’ve been thinking about my two birth stories. Perhaps time has distorted my memory of my postpartum period following Zoey’s birth, but I don’t remember my body taking this long to recover after I had her. I often hear my mom say how my birth was the best birth experience she had because she had me naturally with no medication. Her story is not uncommon. I often hear women who gave birth naturally say that they felt great postpartum. As for me, I haven’t had that experience. I’d love to go for a walk, but just walking around the grocery store is all the walking I can do right now without feeling overly tired. And I think about how I was able to pick up Zoey a week before I gave birth and now she is too heavy for me to carry although she weighs the same. I wonder, is it simply because I am two years older now than when I had Zoey so my body is recovering more slowly? Was giving birth naturally just too much of a strain on my body? I am grateful I was able to have the experience because I know other mothers who wish they could have given birth naturally but it was not to be. But since Zane’s birth, Stephen and I have agreed that we don’t want to do this again. We are done making babies, which makes me want to be ever more mindful and present during this time, knowing it will be the last. But it’s so hard when all I want to do is sleep and he’s fussing and crying!
I haven’t up to this point asked your thoughts about what I write, but today I am eager to hear your own stories about birthing or postpartum period. I can only share from my own perspective as a mother, but I know Stephen has had a different yet in some ways similar experience as my own. So dads and mothers alike–share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear your own stories about the early days of caring for a newborn.