Important Post-delivery Lessons I Learned Last Time ( and want to remember next time)
1. During labor and after delivery, you need to speak up. People ready do want to help, but ” baby fever”
renders the typical person helpless. The obsession to hold the baby overtakes reason- eventually people begin to believe they ARE helping by holding your new born for hours. Instead of feeling full breasts and resentment, ask these people to help in specific ways while you bond with your baby. For me, having help w laundry, food, running essential errands too the store, and yes- occasionally holding the baby so I could shower were all very helpful. The next time around, I will need help with my toddler so I plan on asking.
2. Cute baby clothes are a moot point when your child has reflux. In hindsight, I should have exclusively dressed my son in yellow to match his spit up.
3. Your world is not over if one of the following happens: the baby pukes on you, the baby poops on you, you don’t vacuum the dirty floor, you don’t get a daily shower, you fight with your spouse for the first month. These are typical transitional occurrences. Next time, I hope I can roll with things a little easier; maybe even laugh a little.
4. Producing breast milk is a natural occurrence . Breastfeeding is a learned skill, and it’s a challenging one. If nursing is important to you, spend the time and energy learning how-get help and support.
5. Those “What to Expect” books are really interesting, but I wish I had spent less time wondering when my baby could hear in utero and more time learning how to take care of my son after he was born. A typical pregnancy is the easiest part of parenting- you always know where they are, they are constantly fed, they don’t cry, and you don’t have to worry about entertaining them. Parenting is far harder after they are out- I wish I had spent more time learning what to do once we got him home.
6. Baby shoes are pointless. They are cute, but useless things you will lose .
7. The people around you need to know the signs of postpartum depression and anxiety. Ask them to keep an eye on you. Often, others have a more accurate perception of how you are doing. Allow people to look out for you.
Postpartum depression and anxiety are not indicators of your ability to parent. They are indicators of your hormonal, chemical, or emotional needs and balances. Getting help is not only necessary- it is an act of love and responsibility to yourself and your child.
8. A mother’s instinct is a gift from God. You will feel certainties about your baby, not immediately- but eventually, for me it took a few weeks. These certainties are nudges to care the best way for your child. Listen to your heart. Each time you listen to your intuition- you hone that skill. You are the perfect parent for your child.
9. Go outside. A new baby is so life changing it is overwhelming. My life got very small which freaked me out. But taking a walk reminded me that life continued beyond my crying son. It was refreshing to see daily life go on.
11. As hard as this time is, as put out and empty as you feel, see your spouse as your team member and friend. Remember to actively love each other, especially on the hardest days.