The unpractical survival guide to the first days following birth

Do you feel the contractions? Here they are. Finally !

You try to follow your birth plan, if you have one. I, personally trained and prepared myself with and for hypnobirthing.

Long story short, I had quite a long labor with different phases: 30 hours and 1 hour pushing.

Yet, I was mentally and physically prepared.

Oddly, the one hour pushing felt like an easy game. Baby and I worked together, we were connected.

I gave birth.

And here she was, in my arms, on my chest. Like to pursue the connection we had built, to tell me “we did it mom”, she stared at me, with her eyes wide open. Balancing form my left to right eye. We were physically discovering each others. She was extending the bonding we created for 9 months. It was strong.

pied naissance Elizabeth (1)After minutes of intense fusion, they took her to the scale and did everything she was scheduled for, like every newborn.

I found this to be a tricky moment. Alone. Of course, daddy is with the baby. You still have work to end with the OB and the medical team.

I was terrified. The fatigue hit me, it was nearly 1:30 am and I had not eaten a crumb for 30 hours after what I would qualify as an intense labor. How will I sustain my baby’s needs in this state? I was submerged by emptiness, fear but mostly filled with so much love, at the same time.

So I let the medical team handle me. Remember my last post? I mentioned a “twister”?! Right?! Well…, this is it.

We are not all even in terms of labor, delivery and postpartum experience. Yet, we can pretty much agree, we all feel disoriented at first.

At this point, keep in mind that you are not alone. your family and the medical team or the person you chose to be by your side, are here for you. I felt supported all the way.

I enjoyed every minute staying at the birth center, trying to figure out things with our daughter by ourselves.  And seek for help when needed. After three days I could not wait any longer, I felt ready to be on our own. They discharged us.

Ready to leave the hospital, I was the proudest and strongest mama. In a matter of seconds: I was crying and crying and crying again. For hours…., even days! Yep … baby blues ladies! The struggle is real.

Once more, I/we needed to adjust. It was more serious this time around.

Our entire life was to be adjusted. Our car, did not feel the same. Our house, did not feel the same. I, did not feel the same. We, did not feel the same. Our life, did not feel the same. Nothing was the same and it felt disturbing.

I consider myself lucky, the baby blues lasted 3 days total.

I would qualify the first days as being in a survival mode. Your body is in pain (still), better not mention about the hormones… Think you’ve seen it all when pregnant? Wrong!

Let’s pause here a minute and not forget what is keeping you up, the reason why youIMG_1914  ultimately feel so empowered: Your baby.

You explore a new love that is so powerful, it can’t be described by any existing word. This is unrealistic. It metamorphoses you in the best way possible.

Your mind is in conflict between you: the woman, the person you’ve always been and, you: the new mother, the new person you know nothing about.

More than ever, you’ll need to adjust who you are, adjust these new you. Discover this new spirit and learn to deal with it. It can take time.

You are for a limited period of time, only two. Do not forget to become three asap.

You, the Woman. You, the Mother. And you, the Wife/Companion. This is an essential aspect you better not forget about, for your couple and family balance.

Try not to get lost in a closed bubble including; you, and the baby only.

High is the probability for new daddy to feel left out. You may create a locked relationship with your newborn, where nobody would be allowed to get in.

Plus, this is not good for you. You cannot do everything on your own.

Accepting outside help prevents overwhelming feelings, socialises your baby and, gratifies close family members.

I know too well the impression of doing everything without help. But let’s face it, are we really willing to accept help? Are we really ready to delegate? hum… not sure that the answer is a big/ firm yes ! Well, we should. Delegate !

Trust people. On the front line is dad, even if this is his first child and doesn’t have maternal/mammal/animal instincts like the mother has. He still got a sense of what to do with his progeniture.

On second line, your first call will probably be your mother and/or mother-in-law. And you know what? They both raised you and your companion. I am guessing you are alive, healthy and smart. I swear, believe me! They know how to handle babies ! It may not be the way you intend to do, but they have more experience that we have.

Let me finish with some simple advice.

From the very beginning, try to find time for yourself. The first few days at home? If you can find time to shower, and even enjoy it? wow… you will feel rejuvenated.

Unrelated story, I once heard: “wrap carriers are so amazing, you can take baby to the restroom with you or even shower together”. Well…, how to tell you…? You need to preserve some dignity, and find alone time for YOU. At least for the basics. 

Baby can stay 10-15mn in a crib, bouncer or many other secured gears (if you don’t have somebody to watch her/him). When I did that, I took the camera monitor, just in case…. Plus baby learns to be independent this way. At 6 months, our daughter can easily entertain herself for 1 hour in her playard or crib. She will never complain. 

You will find all kind of very good and practical advice all over the web. But what you should also focus on is, you and your relationship with your companion. I will probably go deeper into this subject in another post but, for now: try to respect each other’s needs. Work as a team. Speak about it, and other things too. About your needs, feelings, and all kind of thoughts going through your mind. Communication is more than ever the tool you will have to master. Happy parents = Happy baby and vice versa.

IMG_6607

With love,

E

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