I had sickness throughout my entire fist pregnancy even during labour but other than that I was pretty well. After giving birth I was sore (obviously) but within a few weeks I felt brighter (although tired) and I got back to normal fairy quickly.
This time pregnancy was difficult and I had lots of hospital visits,courses of antibiotics as well as stress and tiredness. My labour was not how I imagined it would be and fairly traumatic and it all took its toll. Four weeks on and I still feel a bit of a mess. My community midwife stated (very accurately) that my body is a wreck. I’ve had Mastitis, throat infections ..a stomach bug (Norovirus) and my stitches from giving birth aren’t healing properly all in the past 4 weeks..add to that the tiredness and cluster feeding of a newborn and I’ve felt a bit sorry for myself. I still do in fact. Sorry about that.
I expected to feel so much better post pregnancy that this feeling of being constantly ill is hard.
Nobody really talks to you about how you will feel after the baby arrives. Oh yes they laugh and warn you that you will get no sleep but nobody tells you how to cope when your baby will not stop feeding even though its making her sick and your nipples feel like they are on fire. Nobody tells you that huge lumps can appear under your armpits or in your breasts and that they are simply blocked ducts. Who explains how long post partum bleeding will last or what amount is normal? Nobody really says why some days you feel so sad and just want to sit and cry even though you love your baby and are so happy they are there. Nobody warns you that you may completely lose your appetite and that it can be a sign of postnatal depression.
In fact all most people want to talk about is the labour – which I really don’t want to talk about or how much your baby sleeps (not a lot) or how beautiful your baby is – this is true she is indeed beautiful.
Luckily we have so much online support these days. Forums on baby centre and mumsnet where you will nearly always find a thread written by someone with the exact same issue you are experiencing. Articles written by professionals on what to expect post delivery. Masses of support and friendship from fellow mums on Twitter and via blogs – people who you have never met and maybe never will but to whom you will always be thankful. The ones who know how you feel and don’t say cheer up as if you could possibly change your emotions so easily. I have been so lucky with both the online friends and my family and partner. My partner is so supportive and I’m well aware it has been far from an easy year for him also and my mum who has been incredible. There are others of course..my partners family and my siblings have been great too.
I’ve got all this support and I’ve still found it so difficult. How do single parents cope? Or parents with no family to support them. You need people at this time.
If you have a friend or family member who has recently given birth and you want to help them do one of the following and it will always be appreciated:
Take them a hot meal or if you don’t like to cook grab one of those dine in for £10 deals. Easy for you but such a help for them.
Offer to do some laundry.
Take their other child/children out for an hour to the park or soft play.
Sit with them, talk, make tea and eat chocolate.
Pick up some shopping
Hold the baby while they nap or eat or bathe
These may seem like such little things but they are the things which can make a huge difference and for us they have.
I will never lie to anyone and tell them that giving birth and having a newborn is easy because it isn’t but you know what makes every day better and everything worthwhile ….this: