So, I've been a mom for about a month now and I've been thinking about a couple things:
1) While the pregnant woman is in vogue, the postpartum one is not. Big-bellied celebrities are all over the covers of magazines these days. Not so much with the chubby, frazzle-haired postpartum ones with dark circles under their eyes. This has been the least glamous time of my life and I want to warn others about it. While talking about pregnancy symptoms seems to be expected, postpartum woes seem to be taboo, with moms discussing topics in whispered tones.
2) It is really hard to be completely honest, even when blogging to an unknown audience. It is easier to just give the highlights and gloss over the hard parts of life, unless they are really funny.
Hopefully this isn't too much information. I'm going to share a little about my journey this last month.
**Lack of Sleep -- Brian has been amazing at taking the night shift without complaining. Even so, I think I can count on my fingers the number of sleep cycles longer than 3 hours I have had in the last two months. I kind of expected that though. What I didn't expect was my sleep position continuing to be limited. About November I had to stop sleeping on my back due to my growing belly. I couldn't wait to be able to sleep on my back. Now, I have to sleep on my back because of my c-section incision and I can't wait to be able to sleep on my side.
**Drugs are nice, but complicated. It is so hard to remember when I took what and trying to find times when I am awake and haven't had food for two hours and won't be eating for another hour to take one kind. They should make it easier for new moms. Drugs also mask the fact that I'm recovering and I end up overdoing it by doing things like walking five miles one afternoon.
**What do you wear? Pregnancy clothes are not necessary, but pre-pregnancy clothes either don't really fit, are not practical for the massive amount of time spent nursing, or are packed away with no time to dig them out.
**On the subject of nursing, I've had the gamut. Our first Saturday home, Maggie spit up what looked like blood with her normal milky substance. Worried, I called the pediatrician's nurse and she had me look for cracks in my nipples. Sure enough my sore nipples were bleeding under the intense strength of my little one's sucking power.
**While in labor, I was constantly asked to describe my pain on a scale of 1 - 10 (1 being barely noticable and 10 being the worst pain of your life). I think for the most part my labor hovered around 5 or 6, spiking to an 8 or 9 during the worst parts. One morning, after dealing with engorgment for a few days, I woke up with level 8 pain in my right breast. I had developed Mastitis, a breast infection. But your kid still has to eat. Luckily, usually it felt better after she ate.
**During pregnancy Brian commented that he had never been a parenthical statement more in his life--"Glad to hear you and baby are healthy (Oh, and you too Brian)." Now I know what he meant. Our labor nurse when she was showing us our room commented in regard to setting the room temperature "During labor you are the princess, but when that baby comes out, its all about her." It was foreshadowing of what was to come. I can't count the times I have heard something to the effect of "I can't wait to see Magnolia" or "I miss Maggie so much" quickly followed by "Oh, and you too." I wonder how Brian is feeling now? Parentheses within parantheses?
**A few days in, the emotional roller coaster began. It seemed like any time I was alone, especially when feeding Magnolia at night, I would start bawling. For a while my feelings of failure for needing to have a c-section and not being able to experience the "pushing" stage of labor were a recurring theme. I definitely had moments of feeling inadequacy. One time I cried because everyone else had sung to Maggie and I hadn't. What kind of mother was I?!? The craziest though (and, people, I'm sorry to say this happened more than once) I realized that if Brian and I live a full life to somewhere in our 80's, Magnolia will be in her 50's and maybe becoming a grandparent, and we will potentially miss out on 20+ years of her life. I actually was grieving missing the end of my child's life during her first month. Then of course I had feelings that I might be going crazy, etc. Needless to say, my doctor went through all of the questions to determine if I had postpartum depression and decided that no I just had the blues. He suggested I take vitamin D and try to curb any negative thoughts.
**Brian has been incredibly patient and supportive in the midst of my neurosis. Not all has been emotional. One night after waking up for the third time to feed, our sheets, which were slightly rumpled and askew, were driving me crazy. I made Brian get up and help me remake our bed. He patiently did it. I felt super bad in the morning.
Thanks for letting me vent.
Postpartum has been really hard in more ways than just the expected sleep deprivation, but, I can't complain too much. It's all been worth it. Last night, we had fortune cookies. Mine said, "You will be rewarded for your hard work this past month." Really, I already have...