Advice for the Postpartum Mama

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As you can imagine, I have a much different perspective on postpartum living with baby #2 than I did with #1. With #1 you make plans. How you’re going to feed, how you’re going to sleep train, how you’re going to lose the baby weight…. and people laugh at you, which is particularly cruel because they are the one’s who ask you these specific questions, and expect you to have thought of what method you’re going to go with. The thing I’ve learned is, they’re not actually laughing at you [most of them, anyway]. If they laugh, it’s because the same pressure was put on them as new moms to have it all figured out before baby even arrives, only to have it all go to hell in a hand basket when baby arrives.

It’s true: there is no way to prepare. We try, because its such a monumental event, how can you sit back and not even try to be prepared? But many of our efforts are in vain. I’m not saying don’t prepare. You should try, if for no other reason, than to take your mind off of the fact that you’re still pregnant… but know that it may not all go “according to plan.”

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And be OK with that. Be gracious with yourself. Also, be gracious to others. Some times I felt resentment toward the people who wanted to help, because I felt they thought I was incompetent, or at the very least, they were just disrupting the specific way I wanted some thing done. Let it be disrupted. Let dad put the diaper on a little saggier than you would have. Let that relative rock your baby in a way you’d never rock them. They want to help — and whether you admit it or not you need the help.

Its not about being incompetent. It’s about having just grown and pushed a human person out of your body and being exhausted. It’s about needing to take a break and remembering that you too are you’re own individual person even though it seems like your only purpose in life is to now sustain the life of this baby. That is definitely a huge part of it… but you need sustaining too. Try not to be stubborn, or too locked into whatever plans you had drawn up before you went into labor. Parenting, particularly in the beginning, is fluid and requires flexibility. Accept help and rest.

That is what I wish I could go back and tell myself with Sophie.

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