The early postnatal stage is a critical, yet one of the most neglected period – whether by the mother herself or the people around her. We get that you think the post-delivery time is all about your newborn, but whether you’d admit it or not, you require just as much attention as your baby is getting during this time. Your body is still healing from a heavy and strenuous activity so you do not have to feel like you have to ‘toughen up’ through the postnatal stage. If anything, you have toughened up beyond what an average adult is able to take during the childbirth. So how do you start dividing your attention so you could also enjoy the same amount of it that your newborn is?
Post-birth checklist, for instance, always revolves around what a baby should have. What about what you should have? The first step to taking care of yourself after giving birth is to not feel guilty about it. Often, mothers feel like their time has to be occupied with performing ‘duties’ for their baby or the house. At the same time, they may feel like they have no one to share the burden with.
Stop Taking Up Everything
Cut yourself some slack. Seriously, stop trying to do so much. Mothers are normally in charge of most of the things going on in the house, so it is normal to continuously have concerns about such matters. But you don’t have to.
Plus, if you have always been health-conscious and or a fitness enthusiast, you are probably used to working out or hitting the gym. Of course, you are free to get back on track anytime you feel well enough, but do not push yourself. The strain you put on yourself during labour is unlike any other strain your body feels during weight-training or weight-lifting. Just like how you would let your body rest for a few days after those workouts, give your body even more time to heal after giving birth.
Even if you used to practise prenatal exercise when you were pregnant, the recovery rate differs for everyone and is not necessarily determined by the pre-pregnancy workout alone, although it sure can help. Even if you are desperate to lose baby weight and get back into shape quickly, you should still give yourself time to recuperate. Remember, experts say it takes around six weeks for a new mother to recover from vaginal delivery, and longer if you undergo caesarean. Do not think too much about ‘bouncing back’ – the time will come so you just have to let it be at your own pace.
Disconnect nursing from sleeping
This is basically to say that you should not associate one ‘duty’ with your personal resting time. Let your rest time be your rest time and not be a part of something else. Now, whenever you are heading to bed, you know it is going to be your time to fully rest. If you head to bed knowing you are going to bring your baby to nurse there, going to sleep can make you feel anxious and heavy.
Take care of your feelings
Too often and too many people think this is something that other people around them should be doing for them, but it starts from within. s sounds like something that someone else should do for you, but too often. You have to take charge of how your emotions are treated, especially by yourself. You may feel upset with what’s going on around you sometimes and while that is normal, you should console and comfort yourself the way you would to someone you love.
Do not compare
This is possibly one of the most common things done by everyone. It is hard not to, especially with how far social media have come and it’s become a platform for everyone to basically share everything. Whether your postnatal stage is going smoothly or with difficulty, there is no reason for you to compare your progress with others’. Know that you are doing well and you are progressing exactly how you should be, so be proud of yourself.
Get more sleep
No, the one you had last night was not enough. It is pretty common for a mother who has experience in parenting to offer her new friend who is taking their first jump into parenthood to offer to watch your newborn while they go to sleep. If someone offers you with this kind of help, it is likely that they themselves are familiar with the lack of sleep a new parent normally gets. If the person offering help is close to you, allow them to help.
Grab any chance you can get to rest. You may think like you haven’t done a lot, but you have created, birthed, and cared for your baby with the most love and attention you have ever given out to anyone. That itself is beyond ‘doing a lot’. Now, get in bed and rest your body. You deserve more rest.
Sure, the society could put more effort to normalise extensive care for mothers in the critical ‘fourth trimester’ or three months after giving birth, but until then, it is crucial that you yourself take that first baby step. Do not feel like you have to cope with anything especially if it overwhelms you.
That said, remember to reach out for help. On that note, we at PEM are more than ready to provide the help you need as a part of postnatal care Singapore moms often take up. Talk to us to learn more!