Postpartum is such an experience, to say the least, both emotionally, physically, and spiritually. You’re healing, you’re learning a completely new role in life in an instant, you’re exhausted, and at times emotionally spent. Everyone has a unique experience and it’s something I don’t think you can truly prepare for until you experience it.
I remember in the very beginning, I was sad to experience such an abrupt change to our marriage dynamic.I had a scheduled induction due to high blood pressure, so we knew a few days in advance when we would be expecting this change. Leading up to that, I knew things would never be the same again between Tim and I, and it made me sad.Selfishly, I worried about how I would feel having Tim share his love with someone else. I knew life would be even sweeter, but superficially, it was an emotion I wasn’t expecting.
I also remember feeling a sense of jealousy towards Tim during the initial postpartum phase. I know how lucky I am to have such a helpful and supportive partner, but you still can’t help feeling a huge weight on your shoulders as a Mom. What your body goes through during pregnancy, then delivery, then postpartum, breastfeeding, making decisions every day for baby when you’re unsure what you’re doing.. it just doesn’t seem fair all the emotional and physical burdens women carry. I just felt jealous that Tim was otherwise the same, and I made all of these sacrifices and may never be the same again.
Since 2020 when the pandemic started, I haven’t felt like myself. It was a tough year for everyone in different ways. Then getting pregnant at the end of 2020, I was physically sick and emotionally very much felt like a shell of myself. I wasn’t motivated to work and was sort of in hiding from social media, which at the time felt like a huge part of my identity disappeared because I didn’t necessarily know who I was without work. That continued throughout pregnancy and postpartum because I was trying to keep things as normal as possible when obviously there was a lot changing. It could be the excitement of a New Year, but I finally feel some normalcy coming back. It obviously looks different, because my time during the day is significantly different than before having Josie. But during the last year, I started to rework my expectations to something a bit more realistic for myself moving forward, and I feel like I’m truly starting to accept that.
There’s a hard balance between trying to work on self-improvement and goals but also not having an unrealistic expectation for yourself. I know speaking from my own experience, I spent a lot of days feeling like a failure because I never finished my to-do list, and saw a constant comparison on social media. I know a lot of people work on finding more balance in life, and I myself was the same way.. but I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that maybe balance isn’t possible? Maybe I need to focus on what I did accomplish, instead of what I didn’t get done. It’s also helped to prioritize things outside of work first, which probably sounds counterproductive, but it’s helped me tremendously with feeling more accomplished by the end of the day. I’m working on a blog post about how I’m creating a routine that will go into more detail about this, so stay tuned.
Even now I’m still working through postpartum. I started wondering.. how long does this last?? Am I still considered “postpartum” or does that end after the fourth trimester? I’m very thankful that emotionally, I didn’t experience any PPD or any baby blues, and overall I my recovery was very positive. In fact, it went better than I expected and I know how lucky I am to say that.
What was the most surprising thing about Postpartum?
Thanks to social media, I learned a lot from others who shared their experience, from night sweats, the bleeding, the squishy tummy, etc. But one thing I didn’t prepare for was the intrusive thoughts. I never heard about it honestly, and when I experienced it myself I thought I was crazy. But I stumbled on a tiktok from a doctor who mentioned it and said it was totally normal for postpartum women, which validated my feelings so much. If you’re unsure what I’m referring to, intrusive thoughts are very visual unwanted thoughts in your head. It can be anything really, but mine was triggered by going down the stairs. Thankfully it could have been much worse, but it was just something that caught me off guard.
How did you lose the weight so quickly?
I’m still not back to my “pre baby” weight and haven’t done anything specific to lose any weight. I actually gained a few pounds from my post-delivery weight the first month. I had a lot of blood pressure checkups with my midwife after delivering so that’s how I know. Initially, after postpartum I treated myself to whatever I wanted, knowing I needed to keep up my calories anyway to help with my supple. But eventually, I felt like crap and wanted to make a change because of my ongoing high blood pressure. So I slowly added in 3 quick workouts a week and switched my regular lunch (pub sub) for a healthier option (like avocado toast and eggs). I’m sure breastfeeding has helped, but right now I think it’s what’s keeping my weight where it’s at and I’m ok with that. I talked about my recent health journey in this post if you want more detail as to what I’m doing currently.
I’m not a fan of following any diets, that’s for sure. But I am trying to add in more fruits and veggies to my diet and be more mindful of what I’m eating, but I don’t restrict anything. I am probably following more of an intuitive eating approach more than anything.
What was your mindset when it comes to accepting/loving your new mom body?
I know this is a challenging topic for many women, so I want to be mindful in my answer because feeling insecure in your body is a very valid feeling. I had a brief period of frustration with my body once I started going out a little more and needing to get dressed. It was challenging to find something flattering that was also easy to nurse in. My closet wasn’t prepared for it. I think if I was going back to work or going out more often, this would have been a bigger issue, but the fact I stay at home in comfy clothes the majority of the time I didn’t have to feel those daily frustrations. I was thankful for these leggings because they provided some extra lower tummy compression (AMANDAJOHNxSPANX for 10% off). I also feel a little more confident with a self-tan. I’ve been using this tanning butter the last 5 months and absolutely love it (I didn’t use it initially with breastfeeding all the time).
Overall I’ve had a pretty positive mindset with my body the older I’ve gotten. Because of my job, I’m more aware that what you see on social media isn’t actual reality (thanks to angles, posing, am vs pm tummy, etc). I also have a bigger appreciation for my body after seeing the physical changes it goes through to grow and raise another life.
How has breastfeeding been for you so far?
I’m thankful that overall, it’s going well. I don’t want to sugarcoat that it’s been easy all the time though, because it hasn’t.. more so mentally than anything. I have to work through doubts that she’s getting enough food since she’s on the smaller side. After her last doctor appointment, I felt so much better about things so hopefully, that’s in the past now. I talked about it a little bit more in her last monthly update, where I was weighting her feeds and supplementing with pumped milk just in case. Every now and then she will have fussier periods with it which is difficult emotionally, but we have worked through it thankfully. In the very beginning, I was very overwhelmed by feeding her every 2 hours and thought there was no way I would ever be able to leave the house again.. but thankfully I have more sense of freedom now that she eats every 3-4 hours during the day and is taking a bottle.
Right now I usually nurse Josie 4 times a day and then pump around midnight before I go to bed. We usually give her a small bottle of pumped milk before bed as part of her routine.
Is Josie in childcare?
No, as of now she’s home with us. Tim and I both work from home and so far have been able to manage at home. Tims’s hours are more traditional, so I kinda work around him and his schedule. I usually film or do more on the weekends because of that and he can hang with Josie in between her feeds and naps. We also have family close by if we have super busy days, they come and help! But that’s been pretty minimal lately.
How are you managing being a work from home mom?
It may look like I have a super productive life on social media, and maybe I do compared to some, but also remember I have the luxury of pre filming content and sharing it when I have the time. So sometimes you see content on Instagram stories that were filmed a few days before that I forgot to share or wanted to space it out. I also have a virtual assistant and someone to help edit videos for Youtube. I couldn’t do it without them!
Josie is a great sleeper at night and during the day she takes 3 naps. Some are short and some are long, you never know what you’re going to get, but I try to knock out what I can content wise during the day during her naps. Sometimes it takes me a few days to finish filming a Youtube video and I just give myself grace with that.
I think it will get progressively harder here soon as she becomes more mobile and has longer wake windows, so I fully expect things to change. we’ll just have to cross that bridge when we get there.
Did you have any PPD or Baby Blues?
I don’t think I truly had either, but that’s not to say it was all rainbows and butterflies. I had a difficult time with my blood pressure management at the end of pregnancy and following delivery, and it was tough going back to the hospital for a few days with a newborn. I had some anxiety at night for the first week or so not knowing what to expect, but thankfully that didn’t last too long. I felt better about it once Tim and I found a rhythm to help each other through the night.
How are you healing? Did you do any pelvic floor therapy?
I didn’t do any pelvic floor therapy, but I think it’s a great idea if you’re interested! You don’t really know how your healing will go, so it’s always good to be ahead of the game with preventative therapy if you can. Thankfully, I didn’t have any complications from delivery. I had a grade 2 tear, but it honestly never bothered me. Breastfeeding, in the beginning, was honestly more painful for me than anything else.
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Thanks for catching up with me today. If you have any other questions, leave me a comment or share your own experience below!