Five years ago, I had my son. It was the most amazing and life transforming event that I have experienced. But to say that the first few months were hard with a newborn would be an under statement. I truly believe society fails postpartum women; there is so little physical and mental care available. This time round, I vow to look out for my own physical and mental well being. I have written this letter to my postpartum self for when times get tough.
First of all remember this time with your brand new baby is precious but can be hard. You should be ferociously protective of this time and as you learn and grown into the role of mother of two. Yes, it is going to be hard…very hard. Like the last time, you may be thrown into a whirlwind of emotions but it’s going to be just fine.
No one talks about it, and you were taken by complete surprise years ago. This time you know better, Mama. You know these next 40 days or so will be mixed bag of moments that will be raw, vulnerable and oh so precious for you and your little one. So you are going to make the best of it! Here are few things to keep in mind as you go forward:
Slow down, no need to be super woman: “nothing can get me down and out, not even child birth”….yes that is exactly what you told yourself and your husband last time round. You were on a mission to prove that you had it all under control and that you could just snap back, in just a day or two. You wanted to look as though you had it all together and having a child was no big deal. I am not sure where you got his idea from and why you needed to prove this; but you did. In the long run the only person whom this effected was you! There is no need to prove anything to anyone. To be honest no one cares. Those 40 days are for you to slow down and recuperate, bond with your baby and learn to adjust as a new family of four. That takes time…so slow down Mama. There is no need to show how productive you are on a given day. If everyone was fed, and content that is a productive day. Other stuff should and can wait for you. This time is too precious…..it will all be over too fast. Savor it!
Everyone will need you, including your first-born and your spouse. Everyone may be especially needy because a new baby means a big life transition for everyone. But the biggest life transformation is for you, Mama! Your identity once again, has gone through a tremendous transformation. Remember to love and look out for yourself first. With each child your identity is transformed, you will never be the same again. The 9 months has evolved you into this new person and you need time to process this change. Don’t deprive yourself of love, care and understanding. Self-compassion is crucial during this period (but is rarely talked about). In order to fully love others, you have to have the same love and grace for yourself.
Your support network: you and your brand new babe will thrive in a calm and supportive environment. Toxicity in word, mind or spirit cannot be tolerated. Your home should be your oasis and having a support group is crucial. Surround yourself with people who will gently support you, guide you, listen to you process your feelings (there will be a lot emotions from elation to tears), and that are slow to judge. Remember, you have incredible people in your life that will walk unwaveringly beside you through these first few days. Take their hand and gently flow with this new phase of life.
No shame zone: Your home will be a no-body shaming zone: those who wish to comment on how your body has changed are not welcome. This includes you! Yes, you are own worst critic and your body will not feel great. That’s ok. It will take time to recuperate and feel whole again. Remember this: Your body is miraculous…it grew and delivered you a precious human being in just 9 months! Rather than putting it down, be in awe of it, Mama! Work on building yourself up emotionally first, before you eagerly try to jump into an exercise routine. Take your time!
There will be no mom shaming: others may pass hurtful or unwanted comments on the way you choose to raise your baby but remind them gently this is what works for you and unsolicited advise is not welcome.
You at times may doubt your own decisions…. Just like last time round, having a colic baby and not being able to exclusively breastfeed had you down and out. You felt like you were the worst mother ever. Remember this: as long as the baby is healthy, all is well. No need to be harsh on yourself, as you both will be thriving in no time.
Lean in: last but most importantly, lean into your inner feminine strength and nurturing instinct. Let these feelings wash over you. Our innate mothering nature does not make us weak or vulnerable, but it will is key in creating a safe and secure bond with your new born. We are powerful beyond and you can and will thrive through the sleepless nights and long days. Trust yourself.
Finally, remember this; you are now preparing for a grueling and yet rewarding 3 months of your life. It is going to feel like you are lost in the dark abyss. You will feel unsure and doubt every rearing decision. All you need to know is this: you are doing enough and you are enough! Hang in there, Mama. I believe in you.
Lots of love,
Manasi ModyHi! I am Manasi (pronounced as Maan-cy). I am so excited to be one of the new contributors on Lake Country Mom! I am blessed to be living in the lake country area for the past 7 years. I was born in India, raised in Botswana, Africa and went to college in Knoxville, TN where I completed my Bachelors and Masters in Nutrition. I have been married to my high school sweetheart for 8 years. We have a fun 4 year old boy and another on the way at the end of June. I love to dance to a good Bollywood song, marvel at a beautiful Southern African sunset and watch the snow fall on a cold Wisconsin morning. I find womanhood full of surprises, some pleasant and some not so much – so I am passionate about reading, collecting stories and writing about women keeping faith, living authentically and mothering purposefully. // Find me on my BLOG and on Instagram