After pregnancy you expect to be living in this wonderful bubble where you just dote on your little bundle of joy and feel complete. You half expect to be surrounded by butterflies and singing birds and for rainbows to appear as you fall easily into the role of mother, as if it was what you were made for and you surround yourself with your family and loved ones, showing off the beautiful life that you created. But post-partum life isn’t like that for most women; for some, post-partum life can be harder than pregnant life with the addition of a crying potato causing additional stress and worry.
The arrival of a baby is mind-blowing, once you’ve got over the “I created this life, my body is so cool and my baby is perfect” stage you’re faced with the reality that you are responsible for this life, you have to nurture it, love it and keep it going and oh my god that is enough to think “put it back, put it back”. Pregnancy is mostly spent wondering if your little one is doing ok in there and desperately anticipating them coming out, once they do there’s the realisation that world is actually quite scary and there’s so many dangers out here that maybe the womb is the safest place after all.
Those worries don’t go away either, parenthood is pretty much learning to deal with worrying about something all the time. If you’re blessed to have a baby that sleeps through like I was (smug brag) don’t be fooled into thinking that this mean you get enough sleep, no, this means you’re awake every half hour checking that your little bundle of sleeping joy is breathing, you take layers off and put layers back on, check the room temperature a dozen times and anxiously panic until morning when you start the day time routine which is just another load worrying but in day light. Once you move on from one worry another one appears, as soon as you’ve adjusted to them sleeping and don’t spend all night checking on them it’s time to wean them and then you have to think about food allergies, choking, how to do it and if it’s too soon. It’s never ending.
Adjusting to a post-partum body after the easiest of births can be enough of a struggle; for nine months you sacrifice your body to this little human, you give everything you have and wonder at the miracle that is life and you can bee fooled into expecting too feel like old, pre-preggo you when you’ve given birth…but that doesn’t happen. You’ve got hormones all over the place and your mind doesn’t know what to do with them, you still have a bump, you can be bruised and battered from labour, ripped, torn and scarred with swollen and sore boobs, feeling weak, hungry, scared and tired. Iron deficiencies are common after pregnancy as are infections of wounds, uteruses and even blood in some cases. If you’re not breast feeding the weight of milk coming through can be excruciating, breasts can leak, become engorged and generally just get in the way.
But life isn’t all bad after pregnancy, yeah, there’s a lot of pain and stress but there’s also so much happiness. I felt lost and complete all at the same time, life as I knew it was a distant memory and it felt like this teeny little person had been there all along. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I was confident in my ability to wing it I was crying over everything, I was in pain most of the time and I hated my body but I wouldn’t have changed any of it. Pregnancy is wonderful, giving birth is wonderful and having a baby is wonderful but it’s also terrifying, painful and probably the most challenging thing you’ll ever do.