Being nearly 7 months postpartum, I’ve experienced a number of ailments as a new mother—ailments that are not often talked about.
While there’s nothing like the thrill of meeting your new baby, the recovery from childbirth—natural or via c-section—is no joke. C-sections are major abdominal surgeries that require the shifting of internal organs. This causes significant inflammation and swelling, pain at the surgery site and constipation (to name a few), making the first few days, weeks and even months of motherhood particularly challenging.
The postpartum experience itself comes with a number of challenges, regardless of how you deliver: night sweats, hair loss, extreme fatigue and sleep deprivation, depression, anxiety, poor digestion, body aches and pain.
To make things even more difficult, as a new mom, you’re given a number of restrictions: no lifting anything heavier than your baby, no steps or driving for 2 weeks, no exercise for 6 weeks—the list goes on. For myself, those first few days and weeks were challenging, painful, emotional, and wonderful—all at the same time.
What can you do to make this intense period of time easier?
How to Cope
For starters make sure you have help, whether it be your partner, family members, a nurse—whomever you can ask to help you take care of the baby so you can heal properly is important. Don’t be a hero—ask for help.
If you are having trouble with breastfeeding, there are great breastfeeding consultants and postpartum doulas. If you’re experiencing depression or anxiety, as so many women do, speak to your physician, acupuncturist or psychologist. If your baby isn’t sleeping, ask a sleep consultant. If your body is recovering slowly, seek a physical therapist, chiropractor or acupuncturist.
It’s also very important to eat well—whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding, it’s crucial to stay nourished for yourself and your baby. In Chinese medicine, food is your medicine—it’s the most important part of the puzzle.
Just make time for yourself, when possible. Schedule (and actually stick to) appointments—acupuncture, yoga, dietitian, post-natal massages, therapist, physician, etc. Seek the help you need for your baby, your family and yourself.
Stay close to our blog and social media for more about my postpartum experience and my journey to recovery.