Can we just talk about how brutal the postpartum period is? Let’s get real. There is quite possibly no other time in a woman’s life that is more physically and emotionally taxing. Not only have I had three babies, I have had three C-Sections. Each time I had more responsibilities at home and a tougher time allowing myself to recover. It’s not like we leave the hospital and go to a spa for six weeks to rest and re-acclimate. Life doesn’t stop because we had a baby. We are thrown back into the chaos of our homes. We have busy lives, partners and possibly other children. We have jobs and obligations. Most of us don’t have housekeepers or nannies. While we really need to take it easy for several weeks after birth, it’s usually not realistic for most women.
Since we don’t have a fairy godmother nurse to wait on us hand and foot and make sure we are recovering appropriately, it’s up to us to make sure we are doing everything we can to ensure a healthy postpartum recovery.
1 | Stay nourished with convenient and nutritious snacks.
Without fuel, our bodies can’t function. It’s that simple. When we are recovering from something like childbirth or surgery, this is even more important. It’s so important to not only make sure we are eating, but to make wise choices. If you are breastfeeding, nutritious snacks that are easy to grab and eat on the couch while nursing. I always keep a big stock of String Cheese. It’s my favorite thing to snack on. It’s perfect to throw on a plate with crackers and dried fruit. Wholesome snacks like this plus plenty of water is necessary to a quick and healthy recovery.
2 | Get outside at least once a day.
I don’t know why this makes such a huge difference, but it does. There is something about being outside in the sun and fresh air that is renewing to your body and spirit. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, I find this tip to be important to recovery.
3 | Keep moving.
In a state of physical and mental exhaustion, it can be tempting to be stationary, especially after a C-Section. While rest is important, moving is too. In the early days, walks around the house are good. Gradually, you can move up to walks around the neighborhood with the stroller.
4 | Do frequent “mental check-ins”.
This is so important. Spend some time every day evaluating where you are mentally. Are you frustrated? Sad? Anxious? Angry? The hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and recovery process are extremely hard on our mental health. This is normal. This is common. The extent to which we are affected can be exacerbated by pretending we are fine or suppressing any emotion. It’s key to think about how we are feeling and vocalize it to our partners or someone we trust. Talk about it. It helps so much to stay in tune with what we are feeling.
5 | Sleep. When. The. Baby. Sleeps.
This might sound like a dumb cliché thing that everyone says, but SERIOUSLY. In the first few weeks, I don’t care what you have to do around the house. SLEEP WHEN YOU CAN. Sleep is immensely important to our physical and mental health and there is no other time when sleep is harder to come by. Grab a nap wherever you can and I promise your day will be 10000% better.
It’s not an easy time, y’all. Ignore the urge to be superwoman and take care of yourself, because you are no good to anyone if you are suffering. Got it? Good.