Since giving birth a week ago, I’ve gathered some reflections:
This is my first birth, all natural, no epidural and it feels so long ago but it’s only been a week because of the new responsibilities and lack of sleep.
Confusion: I cannot figure out a routine or what my baby wants and get super anxious when he cries
Guilty but extremely grateful: I need my mom, grandma, partner, and two sisters to help me – how do single moms or simply a mom with a working partner do this on their own?! The post-partum physical pain puts me at an inefficient level and I am so lucky to have meals and laundry done on top of some diaper changes, feeds, and looking after my baby while I take a simple toilet break.
Stressor #2 – Post-partum symptoms: Uterus cramps, back pain, all over body pain, headaches, perineum wound pain makes it difficult and agitating to master breastfeeding in proper positions on top of painful nipples. How did people manage back in the day with no pain killers?!
Stressor #1 – breastfeeding: The first few days feeding baby with just colostrum was not enough and I was torn between my mom’s advice to feed formula vs. the professionals’ advice that colostrum was enough. My baby kept feeding non-stop early dawn for hours and the frustration of an unsatisfied baby plus sore nipples and other physical pains is not a good combination. Then I would worry my breast milk wouldn’t come in to ever satiate this baby’s cravings.
Other differing advice: feeding water, limit baths, feeding on a schedule vs. letting the baby sleep and feed whenever – what is right/wrong I really don’t know
So many things I did not know about labour: I thought there was just labour and baby is born but there is early labour that precedes active labour and I felt 3 different types of pains leading up to the birth of my baby. It started with a cramp in the uterus once in a while irregularly for a day until it switched into this super painful cramp and stomach pain which eventually led to my water popping (I legit felt and heard my water pop). Then the real labour pains began and it was felt in the vagina. Throughout the whole pregnancy I tried not to think about labour because I don’t know what to expect and don’t want to pre-stress if unnecessary. It’s almost been a week and I still think how I have this baby now that was growing in my uterus for 9 months from a tiny little 1 cm dot already with a beating heart to this grown little human that I pushed out. Your body just gives into labour and the contractions. I am so proud I did not get an epidural but my fears of the perineum tear and pushing out feces during birth did happen. Each contraction consists of waves of pain that I hummed and breathed through until the next where baby is slowly travelling down. Eventually, the contractions urged a push that was felt through the rectum as if I were having a bowel movement. The experience was traumatizing but worthwhile once the baby arrives. I was also not told about the amount of blood during labour that was gushing down my legs while I stood up for most of my contractions as lying down was very uncomfortable for me. I was pregnant and saw a bump but until I saw the baby I didn’t believe that I actually had a baby growing inside me.
So much to learn and so many new emotions to embrace as motherhood is so magical. And something about being responsible for your little human makes life so much more valuable. My career can wait as I now can confirm that having a child early is truly a blessing. It even became a blessing to be living at home with all the help as I transitioned from a struggling adult with a quarter century crisis to a meaningful path of motherhood.