Dear Postpartum, I Wasn\'t Ready For You

I can honestly say that there's nothing that could have prepared me for the postpartum experience! It is the most intense, grueling, yet beautiful thing I have ever been through. I spent 9 months preparing for my bundle of joy. I read pregnancy books, started reading books about my baby's first year of life, prepared the nursery, washed and folded all the baby clothes, cooked and froze meals, attended childbirth and breastfeeding classes, and had my hospital bag sitting at the front door weeks in advance. And though I was juggling all of these things, while too pregnant and tired to do others, I was ready for the baby! Everything I had done was for the baby. What I wasn't prepared for was how to deal with myself afterwards. I had a postpartum kit  (which was essential) but I wasn’t prepared mentally. I didn’t really understand what I was going to go through. And some things you won’t understand until you go through them yourself.  Even after going through a delivery or two, they still didn't prepare my for my third or fourth delivery.  Each birth of a child was uniquely different.

With my first child, I wasn’t ready for the epidural to wear off so quickly after the delivery. I literally had a room full of family when my vaginal pain crept up like a thief in the night! I was like, “okay guys it’s been great but everyone out and where’s the nurse with that Norco!?” I wasn’t prepared for the nurse to hand me a puppy pee pad to line with 3 overnight maxi pads to wear in a pair of huge mesh panties. I wasn’t prepared to not even know how to clean myself and deal with all the bleeding and soreness down under. I wasn’t prepared for my first shower in the hospital.  

I wasn’t ready for that magical moment of breastfeeding my newborn baby girl for the first time to hurt so bad.  Fast forward 3 days later, I’m sitting on the couch crying because both breast are sore and bleeding, my baby is crying in my arms because she is hungry and losing weight, and my boobs are too sore, engorged, and damaged to feed her. My boobs hurt so bad that the air touching them made them hurt. Water from the shower hurt. And while my husband is drooling over how big my breast are, I’m yelling at him “DON’T EVEN LOOK AT THEM”! (I can go on for days about breastfeeding, but I won’t. Just know that it did get better around week 2 and 3, but that first week will test all of your will power!) I digress.  

With my third child, I wasn't ready to have a c-section and be unable to pick anything off the floor for a week.  I wasn't prepared to feel like someone drop-kicked me in the stomach every time I sneezed or coughed.  (I was literally choking on food and didn't want to cough to get it up because it hurt so bad)  I wasn't prepared for my insides to hurt so bad.  

With my fourth child, I wasn't ready to labor and deliver with no meds.  I thought I was.  I was "prayed up" and full of faith for a pain free delivery.  Yet, those contractions kept ramping up.  I was so focused on the contractions that I wasn't ready for the vaginal pain during first push.  I wasn't ready for the doctor to shove her hand inside of me after delivery and scrape my insides to get out the lingering blood clots.  I wasn't ready to feel the pain of being stitched back up.   Let's just say, I wasn't ready for that entire delivery!!!

When I was a new mom, I wasn’t ready to be tired for months... MONTHS!!! It’s one thing to have a busy schedule and lose sleep for a few days or maybe even a few weeks.  But honestly, to never get rest and to never even foresee sleep in the future is heartbreaking. Not only was I tired and my boobs hurt like crazy and I was so busy I kept forgetting to eat.  I was trying to keep up with food and water intake to make milk, but yet my baby kept waking up crying.  I was doing all of this will only 30 minute naps here and there around the clock. (I was basically functioning as if I was drunk I was so sleep deprived) On a good day (a really good day) I would get a 2hr nap. All I could think was, will I ever see 8 hours of sleep again??

With all of this and more going on, it was easy to forget about remembering who I was. Not only was I too busy to care for myself, I didn’t even recognize myself as I looked in the mirror. I still couldn’t fit my pre-pregnancy clothes, so I was wearing the few maternity clothes that I had that also allowed me to breastfeed.  Honestly, most days I stayed in the house in a nursing bra and leggings. Not only was my body different, my face was too. I didn’t look like myself. I felt like an unattractive whale, covered in baby spit up. I kept beating myself up because the house was never clean, I often missed showers, and I never looked like what I thought I would after giving birth.  I had the image of my husband coming home to find me smiling on the couch cuddling a sleeping baby, both of us smelling baby fresh, in a clean home. Ha! Yea right! Instead he got this…

So how did I get through it. Well it wasn’t without many days of doubt, pain, crying, and a season of postpartum depression.  But what helped were 3 important things.

  1. A postpartum kit 
  2. A good support system (as good as possible)
  3. And JESUS! Whooo chyle... I whole lot of Jesus.  I had to have specific tools that helped me get closer to God and to keep me from losing my mind during these tough times. Like the postpartum devotional I created. I used it myself! 
Click here to see what I put in my postpartum kit.
Click here for a chat about support systems and to learn more about Mom Talkz.
Click here for a chat about finding Jesus during your postpartum season.  

Comment below and share with the Braless sisterhood what you weren't ready for during your postpartum season.  If you're an expecting mom, feel free to ask any questions in the comment section.  

Be encouraged! Stay Braless!

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