The miracle has happened and your baby is here! After 9 months of expectations, joy, anxiety, and tiredness, you have just started a new chapter with a new lovely character.
But putting aside all the happiness you are experiencing now, your body has not stopped from changing. If during the 9 months of pregnancy you have been physically challenged, there is a process ongoing: the recovery.
We often read and see celebrities, women who are somehow lucky to “snap back” within few weeks after childbirth and walk around as if they never carried a little human being for 9 months. Moreover, they seem to restart their activities with serenity. Depression? Sleepless nights? Nah, these ladies look fresh!
However, the reality is a bit darker and harder.
Recovering from a pregnancy is not as easy as it may be illustrated by the media since not all mothers benefit from great familial support or enough financial means in order to undergo a surgical operation. A misleading message on postpartum recovery affects women’s perceptions of their own body-image.
Numerous mothers claim that while they may have been emotionally prepared for the labor and the delivery of the child, the postpartum is a stage that took them by surprise. Just because the baby has arrived does not mean that your body will instantly recover and stabilize its functions.
They will need some time to stabilize, which is why most women still go through a roller coaster of emotions such as sadness, irritability, anger or depression. Speaking from a physical standpoint, the instability of hormone levels will also cause insomnia and night sweats.
B) Six Weeks Recovery? It May Take Longer
Not all pregnancies are the same and a similar theory applies to the recovery process. The uterus will continuously contract as it goes back to its initial position and size, which will cause mild cramping, a sensation of swelling and sore muscles.
Healthcare professionals estimate that a body needs approximately 6 weeks of recovery after vaginal delivery and 12 weeks after a C-section. Yet, they additionally claim that it is not a rule. Based on recent studies, researchers found that mothers presented persistent high levels of physical exhaustion and physical pain throughout the following six to eight months after childbirth.
Perhaps the most difficult stage of motherhood is the beginning. As the body tries to regain its strength, a mother’s physical and emotional energy is highly required by the baby, often leaving her with little time to rest. As a result, the accumulation of tiredness leads to feelings of sadness, unhappiness with oneself, and depression. Not to mention that the first few months are a process of accommodation to the new lifestyle and to baby’s needs. So, in other words, there is a lot to deal with for a mother no matter how well prepared she is.
Regardless of the emotional and physical challenges a mother may experience, there are few adjustments that will significantly improve the symptoms:
It may be difficult to have a good sleep throughout the night, but take advantage of the hours when the baby sleeps. Ignore the chores, visits or anything that could solicit your energy. It is essential that you allow your body enough time to recover and sleeping is the best way to do it.
Eating healthy should not be an occasional option, but rather a lifestyle. If you had cravings during your pregnancy or may have treated yourself now and again, you may still experience the need of eating “for two”. Resist that feeling and choose a diet that will keep you healthy and fit. However, do not starve yourself! You may be tempted to opt for a drastic diet that could help you lose weight, but lactation professionals strongly recommend mothers to eat when they are hungry as milk supply can vary based on the calories a mother consumes. The key is to listen to your body: do not feed it more than it requires, yet do not deprive yourself of food.
C) Relax, Relax, Relax
You may feel the impulse to go back to work or restart your regular activities, but after 9 months of continues changes and a childbirth, you need to enjoy your new status. The child is a baby only once and s/he will grow in a blink of an eye. You will soon see him/her walking, eating, talking and all these delicate, precious moments will become memories.