Maybe I am hearing more and more about the “baby blues” because its February and doesn’t sadness always tend to kick you right in your face in the winter? The clouds, the rain, the cold, the snow trapping you inside - every day that beautiful and wondrous Vitamin D seems like its being stolen from you.
Now, just imagine that you’re a new mom, locked in doors because of the gross winter germs that are everywhere, as each gloomy, dreary day sucks the brightness out of your life, while you're body goes through one the most insane hormonal changes a human body can withstand. (Go ahead and google “Estrogen Dominance” or “After Birth Hormones.”)
I know, I know. - But doesn't she have that precious new being that she just gave the world to “cue” and “oooo" and “aww” at? - Sure, she might be losing some sleep, but she gets to nap with the baby and snuggle the baby and love on the baby. All these things should make her happy, no problem. Right? -
Sorry, buddy. I seriously hate to break it to you but, no. Not right.
Even if this is her first baby and she might get a chance to grab a whole 30 minutes of shut eye here and there after barely hitting REM sleep throughout the night, she's running on fumes. Even if she got the extremely beautiful birth she planned and everything went according to her needs, wants, desires, she’s still checking to see if her baby is breathing and anxiety is builds quicker as the advice from everyone around her becomes overload. Even if she has a stay at home nanny or fabulous family members who are taking care of the chores and food for her family as she sits and stares at her now tangible phenomenal powers of baby growing abilities, she’s creating a list of “needs” in her head. Crap, did I get that baby organic baby soap?! Even if she gave birth smack dab in the middle of the most beautiful Spring the world has ever seen with cartoon birds dancing around her room, making cute little baby booties and this new mother could be sad.
Sylvia Brown, author of The Post Pregnancy Handbook, put it this way to an audience member who flat out told her that she was on the verge of crying every minute -
“Eighty percent of new mothers feel exactly like you do in the two weeks after childbirth. This is known as baby blues and is due to the drop in hormones, and simply to the newness of the situation. It will go away. However, if you still feel on the verge of tears for several months after childbirth, you may be experiencing postnatal depression.The challenge is to determine whether you're just overly tired, possibly anemic, or lacking in some vitamins, or whether you are actually experiencing depression.”
Point? Take care of the “new” mama (“new” because it could be her second, third, or tenth baby. It doesn’t matter which number baby this is for mom, those hormones who are still working the their black magic.) Even if she is good at hiding her tears and fears, chances are, she’s got them streaming down her face in private, not even knowing why, and that, my friends, is scary. Try asking what you can do to help. Try listening to her and, even if she sounds a bit craycray, just let her get it out and reassure (over and over again if you must) that she is valid in her feelings. If we are talking about the proud brand of the new mama, the one who is reassuring you that everything is fine and not letting do anything, take initiative. Bring her food, bring her a card, bring her a gift card for a massage and a voucher for babysitting. Oh the possibilities. And, please (please, please, please, please) if you have an inkling that these baby blues might be holding on a bit to long and she might be showing signs of postpartum depression (PPD) look below for resources and help her find help.
Think it could be PPD? Check these out and schedule an appointment with your provider -
Pooping. Its being talked about by pregnant women all around the world, especially that fun little conversation they are having with their birth partner about (OH NO, SHE’S GOING THERE!) seeing them poop during pushing. Sorry, friends. Its 100% possible and happens a bunch. No worries though. Those L&D nurses have you covered! They are faster than superman (you know, the speeding bullet) to clean up and move on to the big show. As thrilling as that conversation is, I’ll let you continue to have that talk behind the closed doors of your bedroom, or in your mommy groups.
I know it’s on your mind.
What exactly will happen to my under carriage once I do all this “bringing my baby into the world” business?
Well, I hate to be the bearer of everything horrifying but, it ain’t the prettiest. Directly after birthing a baby and placenta vaginally, your provider gets to work on fixing things down there. - But, Cat, I did my kegels and squats daily! There won’t be one thing to fix. - Eh, well, er… I commend you for preparing your pelvic floor for the work it just did but, tearing happens to even the most toned perineum. And, guess what? ITS OKAY. That’s what stitches are for! If you have a cheeky partner like mine he has been rehearsing the “Add one more stitch for me,” joke for a while now and is dyyyying to use it. Harty Har Har, Paul. Let’s be real. NO one likes to think about tearing but tearing during delivery is your body’s natural way of stretching to get your baby's head our and body birthed. Listen to your provider during pushing to minimize the strain. After all, they have the upfront and personal ticket to the show.
Hemorrhoids. Owwww. Even the word is ugly. Another one of those lovely after delivery leftovers for many women looking at their new bundle of joy. You may have even been on of those in the lucky bunch who got them in later pregnancy. Well, now what? A favorite go to for a great friend of mine was frozen pads soaked in witch hazel. You can gently massage those (hopefully tiny) suckers with a warm shower head, sitz baths, and use cooling sprays if you don’t want to go the medical Prep H route. They should go away within a few months and be a thing of the past. Any questions and/or concerns should always be discussed with your provider.
Swelling. Well, yeah! You just pushed a whole human being out of your body! Use those ice packs like a champ, especially within the first 24 hours after delivery and R-E-S-T. I always advise my clients to take it as easy as possible in the first couple weeks following delivery. If you overdo it, you can add weeks to months onto your recovery time. Ain’t no one got time for months of walking slower than molasses.
Take care of yourselves, mamas!
Some products** I used personally, post delivery that made me bottom happy -
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Below are the top 3 reasons why every expecting mother should invest in childbirth education.
1. Birth is unpredictable! One of the main reasons women choose their birthing environment - whether it be in a hospital, at a birth center, or in their home - they choose that space because, to them, it is safe. They are fully trusting of their providers to deliver the care in order to have a healthy baby and mama when the birth process is finished. However, not all expecting parents have notion as to what their provider will need to do in order for that outcome. Childbirth education with Birth Freely prepares you for the unpredictable, aiding you and your partner in making educated, informed consent about your labor and birth.
2. Birth is not just a spiritual and transformational process, it is also scientific! You baby goes from breathing in liquid to becoming an air breather in near seconds. Your baby’s position in your uterus can greatly effect how you labor progresses and there are techniques you can learn to assist baby into the optimal birthing position.
3. Education is Empowering! You know you want to birth your baby vaginally but don’t know to much about the process of labor and delivery or the interventions that your birthing place may offer. Trumpeting - Here comes Cat to save the day! Prepping your body for the work its about to do is essential. Once you are doing the work, wouldn’t you like to know about what your provider is suggesting. Using your BRAIN (the best birth acronym ever!) can help you achieve the birth you desire.
Whether with Birth Freely or another childbirth educator, please mamas - Inform yourselves about the awesome journey your body, spirit, and mind are about to take as you birth your baby into the world.
For more information about childbirth classes with Birth Freely, visit www.birthfreely.com or contact Cat at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 856-796-0675. #08002doula
Cat is the founder of Birth Freely Birth Services. Her passion is empowering women through education and providing them with continuous labor support so they can have the birth they desire!