How To Adjust To Post-Pregnancy Life
There are few changes you can make to your life that are bigger than having a baby. Although it’s a joyful thing, it can also be incredibly stressful! Here are some tips to help you adjust to having a newborn in your life…
Of course, the biggest change in your post-pregnancy life will be the appearance of your brand new baby! And the truth is that, although motherhood is magical and amazing, there are also a lot of elements to it that you may find extremely difficult. Having a baby is exhausting, and all the photos you may see online of beaming mothers and perfect-looking babies five minutes after giving birth? Let’s face it, most of them are lies, carefully posed and probably chosen from a selection of about fifty different pictures.
It’s important to remember that the instant rush of love for your baby that you’ve heard so much about doesn’t happen immediately for everyone who’s given birth. Your mind and body will be exhausted and in shock, and it may take you a few days or weeks to process everything that has happened. Bonding with your baby can take time, so be patient. Go with plenty of skin to skin contact, look into your baby’s eyes, put your phone away so you can fully focus on him or her, and you’ll find that the connection between you strengthens in no time at all.
Having a baby is one of the most stressful things that a relationship can go through. No matter how solid you are, having a baby will shake the foundations of your marriage, and you will need to take time to adjust to all the changes that are going on. You’re no longer the cool young couple who can drop everything to go away for a weekend, and you won’t be drinking cocktails late into the night at your favourite bar either. Your life has changed monumentally and your relationship will as well.
Make sure that you split chores evenly so that there is as little resentment between you as possible – there’s going to be a whole lot more laundry now you have a little one around. Discuss your parenting needs and strategies as openly as possible so that you can find a level of compromise and so that you know what to expect from each other. Have a hot date every now and then, even if it only entails shaving your legs and ordering takeout, so that you can maintain physical closeness. Finally, make sure that you keep talking to each other – and about subjects other than your baby! Taking care of your relationship is vital to your future happiness.
After having a baby, it feels like everything in your life is immediately thrown into turmoil – including your home. If you’re usually house proud, you may look around at your home a couple of weeks after having a baby and be astonished at what you see. Remember that it’s okay to cut yourself a little slack here – so long as everything is hygienic and you keep yourself fed, it’s all good. Wearing unironed clothes is absolutely fine when you have a newborn – you need to pick your battles and prioritise your time. Keep yourself as rested as possible, stay hydrated by drinking lots of water – especially if you have chosen to breastfeed your baby – and remember that your best is all you can do. It’s totally okay to nap instead of cleaning when your baby is asleep; in fact, you absolutely deserve that break!
One of the hardest things about pregnancy is the way that your body starts to feel acutely unlike your own. You have a lot of symptoms right from the beginning, and of course there’s your huge bump that can feel cumbersome and uncomfortable by the end. And after you’ve given birth, it isn’t as though your body snaps right back into shape. You’ll certainly be left with some extra curves, and you may look pregnant for a while after giving birth – your uterus takes a while to go back to its normal size. Remember that these changes are all completely natural and normal… but that doesn’t make them easier to experience.
When you’re pregnant you may develop stretch marks on your body, on areas including your breasts, your thighs and – of course – your belly, thanks to the rapidness that your skin stretches with as you gain weight. There are lots of tips for healing your pregnancy stretch marks – keep massaging them with oil and make sure you stay hydrated. You won’t be able to exercise like you used to for a while after giving birth – it’s important to remember that you’ve just been through an extremely traumatic physical event, so you should treat yourself with love and care and give yourself time to heal. If you want to get back in shape, wait until you’re healed and start gentle physical exercises like walking, swimming, and yoga.
Nursing is something that you may have to adjust to when you have your baby. Your child being so constantly reliant on you is a beautiful thing but it can be exhausting and wearing, and for many women and their babies, breastfeeding isn’t as easy as it seems it ‘should’ be. If it’s painful for you, see a lactation consultant. And remember that it’s okay if you choose not to breastfeed or if you are unable to. People may say that breast is best, but the truth is that fed is best, and your baby will be absolutely fine so long as he or she is getting all the nutrients that they need. Another perk of bottle feeding is that you won’t have to get up in the night constantly with your baby – your partner can take their turn too, which will help you sleep more and create bonding experiences for your partner and the baby.
Finally, after giving birth, many women find that some of their hair falls out. This is a postpartum change that happens because during pregnancy, your hormones change and your hair gets thicker. When those hormone levels go down again, that hair may fall out. Don’t worry – you’ll see new growth of baby hairs soon, and in the meantime talk to your hairstylist about new haircut possibilities.
After giving birth, you may notice that your friendships seem to change. Depending on what those friendships are based on, they might even end up slowly fading away. That makes sense – if you see a particular friend mostly to party and stay out way too late, this is something that you won’t be able to do for a while when you have a newborn. But at the same time, other friendships can change into something even more fulfilling than they were before. Seeing your friends adopt your baby as a surrogate niece or nephew is a beautiful experience: the more people around to love your baby, the better off he or she will be, so invite your friends over to meet them, take your baby out to meet pals at coffee shops and for lunch. Just remember to make it clear that having a newborn is overwhelming, so meeting will have to be on your terms for a while – after all, you won’t want to battle public transport too often!
Having a baby changes your entire life, and some of those changes can be hard to deal with. The best way to cope is to cut yourself some slack, and to remember that your best is all you can do.