I’m now 6 weeks postpartum and while I am FAR from an expert, I have learned so much about my heart, my body, my kiddos and my husband during this time. In some ways, the time has flown by. In other ways, it feels like a lifetime ago that I was pushing my little wildflower out. As always, I love to keep it real because 1. that’s how I roll and 2. our world is greatly longing for realness in the midst of the “highlight reels” we and others so often put out there. So, here is a bit of my 6 week postpartum experience.
The Postpartum Bod
Having been around pregnancy/labor through my sisters, I knew that there would be recovery time after childbirth. Even so, I felt like “what the hell just happened to me?!” after having Clover. I had managed to do yoga throughout the entire pregnancy, so I somewhat naively assumed that I wouldn’t feel the effects of childbirth as severely. WRONG! My body felt wrecked those first couple weeks. On top of the normal “below the waist” pain, my tailbone was sore, my back hurt, my boobs hurt and then there were the after birth pains. I was so surprised how hard it was to manage even simple tasks like, ummm, walking around or even sitting! Thank God I had my mom and Joe there to help me that first week. And the postpartum belly? Yup, it doesn’t go away right away.
This was a couple days postpartum and I look like I did when I was 25 weeks pregnant! Also, notice the super sexy postpartum products on the counter? Yup, those are disposable underwear, hemorrhoid pads, the infamous peri bottle and Dermoplast pain-relieving spray. (Highly recommend all of those things, btw!)
Slowly but surely, my body started to feel like mine again. I can honestly say that I feel 100% better than I did right after the birth and I can’t wait to start getting back into normal activities. I got the okay from my midwife today to go back to “life as usual”. I can not WAIT to start practicing yoga again!
As far as weight goes, I gained about 26-28 pounds during the pregnancy and as of today I am 3-5 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m sure with a little bit of yoga and continuing to breastfeed, I should be able to shed those pounds. It’s those last few pounds that are the hardest to lose, right?! I’m doing my best to give myself a lot of grace.
Superwoman has Stretch-marks
The experience of childbirth has forever changed me in every way it could. In some ways, my body is not as “pretty” as before. I have gained some stretch marks that I didn’t realize I had gotten during pregnancy. I still have the dark pregnancy “linea nigra” line on my belly. I still have some belly flab that wasn’t there before. But I feel like freakin’ superwoman! I mean, I know women have been having babies for like, well, forever, but this time it was ME who did it! I pushed this baby out of my body. And now I am sustaining her life with milk from my body. That’s amazing!
Ladies, don’t forget how fearfully and wonderfully made we are. It’s so easy for us or others to shame our bodies, but they are powerful and beautiful and a wonderful gift. Whether you have birthed a child or not, our bodies are vessels of life. We can bring life through our words, our hands, our wombs, our deeds. So embrace the superwoman that you are!
A category all our own
I love being able to connect with people who are going through or have gone through what we are going through. It’s so helpful to get encouragement from those in the same season of life. And while we were able to get that in some regards, we also found ourselves in a bit of our own category that most people couldn’t relate to. Technically, we weren’t first time parents because we had already had Bella BUT then again, this was our first baby. Most people who were having their second child have already navigated through the baby phase with their first, so the biggest transition for them was just adding another. For us, we were adding to our family WHILE figuring out how to have care for a newborn for the first time. Add in the fact that this was our first time experiencing childbirth and things get really tricky!
Coming home with a newborn for the first time and jumping right back into parenting our 4 year old was no easy task. I had to get right to preschool drop off/pick up and continue to care for Bella’s needs while figuring out how to breastfeed, recover from childbirth and care for a baby. It has been difficult, but my confidence has grown leaps and bounds from the first week. I remember being home those first days with Joe AND my mom both here to help with Bella, the baby and the house and thinking “How in the world am I going to be able to do this once it’s just me??!”.
We are still learning and life is far from perfect, but we are in a good place. I am forever thankful to the people who have and continue to rally around our little family. It is so true that it takes a village.
From Worrier to Warrior
Those first days/weeks, I was in constant worry. I worried about Clover catching my cold sore and dying. (Note to self: take everything on google with a grain of salt.) I worried that she wasn’t getting enough milk. I worried that she was deaf since she didn’t pass her first hearing test. I worried that she would be colicky forever. I worried that her cord stump wasn’t healing properly. I worried that maybe she wasn’t gaining enough weight. Good Lord!
I’d be lying if I said I don’t still worry about things. What parent doesn’t?! But with each passing day, my confidence grows. I feel like I know this little girl. I feel confident in my ability to parent her, not perfectly, but well. I know that God has assigned me this beautiful task of raising this baby. I know it will not always be easy. It takes warrior strength. So, I’m challenging my inner-Xena. I got this!
Who needs caffeine when you have placenta? (and other random must-haves)
Yes, I did it. I had my placenta encapsulated. I know, I know. It’s a little weird, but it works. The hormones from the placenta pills give me enough pep that I am able to get through my days sans caffeine AND baby blues free! Sure, I had a few days here and there where the tears would flow (usually the days I forgot to take my pill) but overall my emotions/hormones have felt pretty even and I attribute that to the placenta pills. P.S. The lady who did the encapsulation told me that I had one of the largest and most beautiful placentas she had ever seen. That goes in the books as one of the strangest compliments I have ever received but I’ll take it!
Other things I swear by:
Nipple Butter -this saved my boobies during those early weeks of breastfeeding
Swaddle Blankets– helps keep baby girl asleep without me wearing her/holding her all the time
Wool Nursing Pads– super soft and absorbent AND you rarely need to wash them. Score for that!
A good robe- I rarely got dressed those early days so a robe was my jam
Solly Wrap– my fave! I love wearing her in this.
Cover me Poncho Nursing Cover– super cute and highly functional for all the times I’ve had to nurse in public
The Grinch Syndrome
You know how at the end of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, his heart grows three sizes? That’s what has happened to me these past 6 weeks. I never knew I could love these three precious blessings more.
My love for Joe has grown leaps and bounds through this experience. We have been stretched to our limit. We haven’t always seen eye to eye. We are tired. Oh so tired. But I LOVE this man. We have seen each other at our worst and we continue to choose grace for one another, again and again. Having someone love you at your worst and being able to do the same for them, well that is a gift. He is such a good man, far more than I deserve. Seeing him father our two girls is so beautiful (and pretty sexy, I might add!).
And then there are my girls. My two precious daughters. Gosh, I didn’t know I could love so much. My Clover Joy makes my heart flutter. Her precious baby snuggles are a slice of heaven. I can not get enough of her.
Bella’s transition to “big sisterhood” has been a beautiful mess. At times, she is the most helpful, sweet girl. Other times, she has caused me to break down in tears with her behavior. But gosh, do I love her! She challenges me and causes me to take a good look in the mirror. It’s in the hard times that reveal much about my own heart. I don’t always handle every situation with the grace that I should and because of her, I am growing and learning and (hopefully) becoming more like Christ. I love seeing her as a big sister and watching her own her new role.
Life as a family of four feels so right. This little wildflower has made our family feel complete. What a gift. What a blessing. What a miracle! And goodness, she is growing and changing so fast!
And seeing my girls together? Well, burst my heart open why don’t you!
This year, I got to celebrate my first mother’s day as a mom of two. It’s crazy to think that 3 years ago, I was still longing to be a mom, still grieving my infertility and the loss of 2 adoption placements.
Now, my cup runneth over!