As soon as you start to show, friends, family and strangers have advice and warnings for you. Whether it’s about your pregnancy, labour and delivery, or how to deal with baby after he or she’s born, women like to share opinions on all of it.
As a mom-to-be or new mom, making sense of all this information can feel overwhelming. Without pretending to be an expert of any kind, aside from being a mom/stepmom to five growing kids and an unofficial aunty to many others, these are my five best tips for post-baby survival:
- Broken Lady-Bits after Delivery. I didn’t have an episiotomy or tearing, but I did deliver naturally and had an extremely bruised under-carriage. Lesson learned? Prior to going into labour, drizzle water along the length of your maxi-pads and throw them in the freezer. Yes, you can sit on an ice pack or frozen peas, but I’m telling you, it was fabulous turning a maxi pad into a panty-popsicle. I changed it throughout the day to soothe the tenderness and swelling. Fabulous!
- Don’t be a Hero. Adjusting to your new role as Mom is challenging, but it doesn’t have to be as difficult as we sometimes make it. Ask for help, and if someone offers it, accept it! When your baby naps, try and nap, too. When friends or family come to visit, let them pick up milk on the way and let them hold baby so you can fold some laundry. Don’t be a hero; you have throw-up in your hair…just graciously thank them and say “yes”.
- Need a Shower in a Bad Way, But it’s Just You and Baby Home All Day. Swap your fancy fabric shower curtain for the less fancy, plastic, see-through one. Put baby in the swing, car seat, or bouncy chair for a nap and bring her in the bathroom with you. The running water is good white noise which will hopefully keep baby asleep. If she does wake up, she can see you, and you can see her. You don’t have to worry that she is wailing in her crib, waiting for you to come and get her.
- Which Boob do you Choose? Breast feeding was an amazing experience for me, although my challenges with mastitis, cracked nipples, and leaking through my clothes in public weren’t always fun, it was so worth it. I found it really frustrating to remember which breast I fed from the last time, though. I’m one of those large-breasted women, so I could usually squeeze each mommy-bag and know which one I should choose. One day, a friend pointed out that I always had a hair elastic on my wrist, so why didn’t I just put it on the wrist that I last fed from, so I would know which boob was due next? Brilliant!
- Sex After Baby (The Parable of WHOA for Not Listening to the Doctor’s Orders) Depending on the couple, six weeks can sound like a long time (or way too soon) to think about having sex after delivering. As per above, you have spit-up in your hair, you don’t shower often, your breasts are food sources, and your lady-bits are broken…not really a recipe for romance. A few weeks after delivering my son, I was feeling pretty good. I got a couple of showers in that week, even shaved my legs! Our baby was sleeping better and I was inspired to feel like a woman again. One thing led to another, and we were both suddenly very interested in each other. He brought up the “six-week advice”. I said something like, “I know my body and I feel great!” He didn’t need more convincing than that. Skipping all the interesting stuff, we got to the moment of truth and it was…okay. I wasn’t in pain, but something was weird. I felt nothing. It was like dropping a penny in a well. I look at him and asked, “Can you feel anything?” “I can feel a little…” he said. And that ended that experiment. Gone was my pride, self-esteem, and confidence that all of my pieces would pull back together eventually. Thankfully they did, but it took much longer for me to be brave enough to try again. I should have just followed the doctor’s orders in the first place!
The one thing I tell my impregnated peers is: Just trust your instincts. As a parent, you will do anything to protect and nurture your child. Have faith in yourself as Mom or Dad. Read all you can, listen to what people have to say, but figure out who you are as a parent. What’s best for your child is in you, you just have to trust and listen to it.
But seriously…the panty-popsicle is the bomb, trust ME!
By: Wendy Mueller