Those first few weeks after having a baby are when a woman is at one of her most vulnerable times. We are changed forever after this. Like seriously changed. You can’t go back from that shit!
You can see it in her eyes. The woman who has given birth, attempted breastfeeding and then realised that the whole labour and birth scenario is not what you see on tv.
Husband gently mopping your dewy brow. Hair perfectly curled. Two pushes and out he comes. A nice clean baby brought to your chest.
Oh hell no.
Here’s a general run down.
Contractions begin. At first you’re excited as it means the end of being a bloated, farty, sweating hippo.
But then you realise that contractions actually hurt. And continue hurting more. And more. And more. Until you think you’re actually going to die.
Sometimes you get a brief one minute respite between contractions. Sometimes they fall right on top of each other and you curse Mother Nature for being a bitch.
After hour upon painful hour of these contractions they tell you it’s time to push. (Unless you find yourself in an emergency situation and you are rushed off to a terrifying operating room to have baby cut out.. that’s a whole different set of life changing experiences).
Believe it or not pushing actually hurts less than contractions. It’s kind of a relief to push. However you push so hard that you often push out a dirty big turd.
If the nurses are kind they will discreetly wipe it away and you’re none the wiser. If they’re not, you’ll hear them say very clearly that someone needs to deal with the poo.
If you’re lucky you’ll push for ten minutes and out comes your baby. Slimy, wet, warm and alien looking.
You love them so much. Even with their squished up little face. So much so that it weirds you out to love a perfect stranger. A stranger that just came out of you.
It doesn’t stop there. Once baby is out, then you need to get the placenta out. And this bloody hurts too.
More contractions, more pushing. With the added bonus of the midwife pushing on your tender tummy to get it out.
Ok. So now you’ve given birth to a human and a large temporary organ. Your enlarged uterus now has to shrink down to pre-pregnancy size. Did you know it grows to more than five hundred times its normal size??
Yet more contraction type pains. After pains they’re called. And they get worse with subsequent children. No one ever tells you that!
Now you begin the breastfeeding journey. All four of my boob journeys didn’t make it past the hospital. That shit hurts!
Oh, and the guilt. Guilt everywhere about everything. Guilt mixed in with major sleep deprivation. Pretty sure that if someone opened the skull of a brand new mum they would find a pile of squishy mess where the brain should be.
So with all that being considered it’s no wonder that the look in the eye of a lady who has become a mother changes. They have been through a very intense experience, lucky enough to come out the other side to tell the tale.
That shit changes you. In those first few days/weeks/months we are extremely vulnerable and emotional and in need of rest and help.
Without rest and the right kind of help there are ladies who suffer big time. Post natal anxiety. Post natal depression. Post natal psychosis. All very real and all very scary.
We need to look after each other ladies. And gents. Especially during this very fragile time. The wrong help or criticising words have lasting effect.
Show compassion. Show selfless love. And if you go visit your pal with their sweet new baby, BYO Tim Tams and make your own damn cup of tea!!