Bouncing Back After Birth
Joan just had a new baby and she has another older one in preschool. The rest of the world is busy assuming that because she’s been here before she will bounce back very fast. Aunties and grandmas that visit all have the audacity to calmly, albeit with a little judgment, say that she should be coping well with the new baby.
Her children don’t seem to have gotten this memo though because the preschooler gives her a hard time waking up and getting ready for school in the morning, he doesn’t want to go to bed early even though his eyes give him away and he insists on walking right next to her as she paces up and down trying to soothe the newborn. Speaking of the newborn, she fusses when swaddled and popping out the boob doesn’t really work on her because the milk is a little too much for her. Joan’s hormones are of course still all over the place and wreaking their own kind of havoc. Such a lifestyle can be a tad overwhelming for any mother!
There’s no bouncing
Many new mothers or rather mothers to newborns are usually told that as soon as the baby comes it’ll all ‘go back to normal’ or that she’ll ‘bounce back’. It may have been said with no ill intentions or malice (but let’s face it, there’s always someone wishing you don’t get over it) but it is a total lie. Yes, A LIE! Bounce back? To what? Having more free time to yourself? No diapers to change? No tummy that needs extra work and extra kilos gained? No hormones raging mad? No nosy friends and well-meaning relatives looking to give unsolicited advice on how to raise your baby and giving disapproving glances and tuts on your parenting choices? No cries in the middle of the night for which you can’t find a solution? There’s truly nothing to bounce back to!
That doesn’t mean that there’s no hope. There may be no ‘back’ but there’s definitely ‘through’. You may be feeling like you haven’t slept for months and looking like an extra from a zombie movie but that’s expected. Granted, your beautiful friend who now has three kids, is super hot and has a settled new baby who doesn’t mind tagging along with the family for public appearances and such makes you feel inadequate. Many more will be there and you may encounter them a lot more often as you continue with your journey.
Notice the differences and lift your chin up
Your grandmothers and aunties will keep talking but they lived in a different age and circumstances. Back then relatives used to live close by and would be able to shuttle back and forth to help with the kids every so often. They didn’t have to look at friends showing off pretty babies and fabulous bodies on social media every day (word to the wise, keep off social media new moms because the pressure is real!) and they probably didn’t have to respond to important emails and phone calls as often.
You will get through it one diaper after another. Nights will get better, your hormones will settle and you’ll learn what your baby’s cries mean. Worrying about your body? You just spent nine months growing and carrying a human being in there and it’s now working around the clock to provide nourishment. Don’t you think it has enough on its plate? Plus breastfeeding actually helps with weight loss. Worried about your productivity? You are very productive right now even though it’s different from what you were used to. Babies are round-the-clock work and are no joke.
Don’t give in to pressure from social media photos or images in the news because those women have their own meltdowns too, just behind the scenes. It probably took them a lot of time and effort to get their kids to calm down for that single photo! Cheer up mama and do you as you work through this new stage of life. You’ve got this! If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask. Bouncing Back After Birth.