A couple of weeks ago I managed to slip into my size 8 jeans for the first time since early pregnancy, which inspired me to write this little post on my postpartum recovery. Just going to stick a little TMI warning here, but if you are a mother, it will probably be very mild TMI to you!
From what I remember, my stitches had pretty much healed up and the pain disappeared after only a few days. During those few days though, it was very painful to walk and sit down on my tender butt. Going for a wee didn’t hurt at all, like other women had warned me about, as I had a 3rd degree tear (meaning all the damage was at the back end).
I was on a lot of meds, which I had to draw up a chart for as I kept forgetting the various doses and times to take them etc. Difficult for someone who never takes medication or pain killers normally.
Breastfeeding was another challenge I was soon to master! I wasn’t very good at feeding discretely then and our house was normally full of visitors (as our family live away so all had to come together) so I would often waddle upstairs with Jesse to feed him. When my milk came in… Oh my word, I was so unprepared! It was about day 3 and that night was the most uncomfortable experience of my life! I had boobs like Katie Price and it was so painful! I couldn’t get over how hard they were! I honestly thought I had a lump or something when it first started! Following this, I did get the sore nipples as poor Jesse, who was also diagnosed with tongue tie, struggled with the latch. It was at this point when I started to consider expressing as an option.
My milk supply had calmed down now and I was used to feeding on demand, however, I still struggled through the long sleepless nights when it was still very sore to feed Jesse. It was during the 3rd week that I decided to buy a manual breast pump, after a lot of research and speaking to my breastfeeding support worker, as I wanted to help Jesse until his tongue tie was cut. I found that after this procedure and expressing, feeding was so much more comfortable.
No soreness down-below however I was still feeling a little weaker in the pelvic floor region and it was during this time that I had a routine NHS class with the Physiotherapy department to help women with 3rd degree tears and similar trauma during birth. It was really helpful and the lady who took the class was lovely- it’s good to see that the after care at the hospital was just as proactive as the maternity unit during the birth 🙂
At about the one month mark, the “postnatal bleeding” had just about stopped and was just getting spotting. I felt like I had a lot more of my original body back as my belly was a lot flatter. I had been told that my abs had split while I was in hospital and that I may need physio in future; having been told this, I kept an eye on my abs and can now say at this point, they seem to have healed themselves as my muscles look a more normal shape now.
At 6 weeks, I specifically remember putting on a pair of my size 8 jeans (needed at 10-12 in later pregnancy) and actually being able to zip them up! I must have either lost weight or my pelvis had gone back to it’s original shape (the pelvis loosens during pregnancy to allow extra room for baby to pass through).
On the breastfeeding side, I have become so much more confident in feeding out and about (discretely) and at this point, I’m pleased to say there is no more pain! It is definitely worth fighting through the difficult bits as Jesse is definitely feeling the benefits of his milk.
Not much change from week 6 to be honest, although I am feeling a lot more confident in caring for Jesse, taking him out and about, meeting other mothers and expressing and storing breast milk.
My abs and pelvis floors are getting stronger so pretty soon, hopefully I can go running once again! I will be starting a mother and baby fitness class next week which will be an excellent gently introduction back into working out.
My Mental Health
I have kept this section separate as I can’t remember how I was feeling specifically at each week, but, I know that I have been up and down- definitely more up than down generally!
The things which have been getting me down is worrying about dealing with health professionals and making sure I remember all my appointments and get there on time for them! I’ve never had so many appointments in a short period of time in my life and with “baby brain” continuing I feel like I done very well to remember them all and get there on time!
Stress of not getting stuff done and having a messy house with piles of laundry for countless days was definitely a negative. I would cry if I couldn’t get up all day because Jesse needed me and there was nobody to watch him and I hadn’t found a comfortable sling yet, so I just had to sit all day and let mess build around us!
Ending on a positive note, though, all of these worries seem so little as the joyous adrenaline rush which began at birth certainly outweighs all of those downs! Watching my son drift off to sleep in my arms and holding him close, seeing strangers while out and about smiling at his adorableness, being congratulated by doctors and other health professionals at how healthy he is and how well we are doing have kept me paddling through these early days of motherhood. I can’t feel down for too long, just knowing that I have this little person in my life now and I am so proud to be his mama!
If you feel down at any point during postpartum, just remember that you are a heroin! You embraced the female body for doing what it does best and it will still not let you down even though it has so much healing to go through. Housework will be done eventually, it does get easier and you will find your own solution to little obstacles along the way! You are doing amazing and don’t forget you and that little mini-me are never alone! 🙂