Over the years, I have shared in a rather raw form about my postpartum journeys, often with the hashtags of #takebackpostpartum or #honestpostpartum.
Here below I offer a smattering of those posts collected in one blog post, to paint a portrait of the multifaceted adjustments that a mamababy dyad goes through in the first days and weeks together.
For reference, her DOB was 7.24.2020
Dear 3-4 Days Postpartum Self,
Today as your milk comes in you may be experiencing emotional lows that feel surprising to you, and deep. I want you to know – from yourself who has gone through this before – that you mustn’t believe any dark thoughts claiming to be true today about your birth story, your life, your marriage, yourself, your family… none of it! Today your hormones are coming down dramatically from the highs you experienced a couple days ago when you thought you could conquer the world and loved everybody and felt like a total badass. Those highs will be accessible to you again and the incredible birth you just experienced really is changing you and equipping you and you really are a badass with a great family and a loving support network. You really are equipped and supplied and provided for abundantly. You are loved and there is so much goodness in you and your marriage and your family. Those things are true, no matter how UNTRUE they may feel today. Today it’s all weeping and possibly raging. It’s seeing what’s wrong, missing, inadequate and difficult. You feel very very tender. You’re having a hard time and that is OK. You’re definitely allowed to have a hard day. Or several. Cry it out, lay low, sleep it off, unplug, be nourished by food and water (often and amply), use your herbs and oils. Let it flow. And in letting it flow you’ll be able to move past it and find joy again. You will. I promise you. Feel the feels but don’t let them tell you who you are or what is true. Ok? You’re bigger than that.
Your 2-Days Postpartum Self (who has also been day 5 and beyond postpartum mom 4 times!)
Two weeks today. And we’ve spent most of those days in nearly constant contact, cocooned upstairs in our peaceful bedroom and occasionally camped out in a rocking chair in the yard, under the trees. (Shout out to the husband who made this possible and supports the idea of lying-in both in theory and practice!)
And now it’s time (though it always feels too soon) to re-enter the household and pick up again the work of housekeeping, cooking, and tending to her four siblings while still maintaining the motherbaby unit that we very much are during fourth trimester.
(We’ll slowly add being an engaged citizen and a small business owner back in, too).
Motherhood is always a walk of dependency on God, and it always includes seasons of both feeling like we’ve hit our stride and seasons of being in over our heads. Somehow we always get through all of it. God’s Grace is sufficient for today.
This late, lazy morning Agatha and I are rocking in the rocking chair that happens to be sitting on almost exactly the place where I first held her to me, greeting her with words and touch and breath, seeing her face for the first time. This is one of many things I love about homebirth: we can revisit the thin space where the bodies and souls of our babies came through. We can sit in them and viscerally recall the emotions and sensations of that sacred moment. And we can sit in them and find healing for the parts that stretched or confused us, processing them as we hold our babies in love.
Today Is a milestone for me and Agatha. It’s been exactly 12 weeks since we got her born, and thus the end of our 4th trimester.
I’ve tried to keep mindful during these 12 weeks that we have been still very much a unit, The Mother-Baby, not separable. So it’s meant breastfeeding on demand, sleeping beside one another, babywearing, holding her as much as possible, and staying home more often than not. She has continued to need my nearness, my scent, my heartbeat, my warmth, my voice, and the sustenance that only my body can give her. And I have needed her, too. I have needed her to orient me in my once again reborn self, to anchor me for rest and recovery, to give my body an outlet for the work it’s meant to do is sustaining life and releasing pregnancy fat stores.
I told her today that we’ve done a pretty good job staying close and connected for these first 12 weeks. We won’t stop now, but things will inevitably shift and change as both of our needs do likewise. But I’m happy with the bond we’ve developed and the foundation we’ve established. We are strong enough to venture out into the world together in increasing measure.
Get my workshop, The First Week After Birth, to aid you in your preparation process for postpartum!
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