Many mothers dream of that moment their baby is born. After the hard work of labor and birth, no matter what type of birth you have, snuggling your baby, skin-to-skin, is the ultimate payoff. It’s almost as if nature immediately begins the important work of helping us forget the challenges of giving birth. Time stands still and nothing else matters.
You ask me to read to you, and I have to pause every few minutes to soothe the tired baby.
You gasp in excitement as I come downstairs with him in the morning, barely able to contain yourself as you hug and kiss him.
There’s no escaping it. The postpartum time period is hard. My postpartum adjustment this time around has been simultaneously challenging and lovely. Challenging are the moments when all three of our children need something and there are only two sets of adult hands to help. Challenging are the middle of the night wake-ups when I’m on my own to feed and change the baby’s diapers. And challenging is the baby’s struggle to learn to breastfeed and my tired back and shoulders from his need to be held almost constantly by me.
My third baby is 4 weeks old. That makes me 4 weeks postpartum. I still feel like I’m living in that characteristic hazy in-between of postpartum. I have so much to say about these past 4 weeks and so much I want to write about. There is his birth story to write, thoughts on our older kids’ adjustments to adding a new family member, reflections and gratitude for all the support we’ve had this past month, my own postpartum healing process, and thoughts on some of the challenges we’re experiencing.
I met a mother of a 6-month-old recently. We were in a group of mothers, talking about postpartum adjustments as well as birth experiences. It was a safe space for sharing stories openly and honestly. This mama told her birth story and she bravely ventured into a place of deep vulnerability to share what she is experiencing now. As she spoke about the anxiety she felt at the moment of her unexpected cesarean, checking on her baby 9 times a night, waking nightly from 1-4AM unable to fall back asleep (despite her baby sleeping pretty well), and fear of leaving her baby with anybody else, she looked as if she was discovering something that not even she knew about herself.