The Postpartum Period Can Last for Years, Not Weeks
Did you ever imagine your postpartum period would last as long as it has?
Many women are confused about the postpartum period because they assume that after six weeks they'll be feeling pretty great again. And why wouldn't they? It's what their post-birth care plan revolves around: that 6-week checkup and then....nothing. After that, there's literally no regular appointments to be checked by your doctor, physically or emotionally. So it's no surprise that it's a complete surprise to so many women that their postpartum adjustment is taking years, not weeks.
After surviving (and eventually thriving!) through four postpartum periods of my own, I'm convinced that each one is unique. It depends on a lot of things and it's more than the birth stuff. Of course the way I gave birth did affect my recovery- my c-sections were a lot longer to recover from than my vaginal births- but my life situation at the time mattered a hell of a lot too.
What about you, Mama? Are you finding that you thought you'd be a 'bounce-back mom' (just so ya know, I puked a little in my mouth when I typed that) but you're still not feeling quite yourself all the time? If your baby has turned into a toddler and then a real kid, it's perfectly fine if you still feel emotional, exhausted and empty.
After you have a baby, you hit the ground running. D'uh, understatement of the year, right? So many changes are happening so quickly with your physical self, but also so many feelings that you may not even have the time or energy to process! All of a sudden you're responsible for this new person and your own needs take a bit of a hit.
Relationships change during this time, too. Another HUGE understatement. Suddenly you're parents and that comes with a lot of baggage. Let's admit it- baggage isn't sexy. I mean, you know that you should be connecting on all the different levels, but all you can muster up is a quickie in the bathroom. At a time when you need to support each other the most, ignoring each others' needs may be the best you can do right now. (Btw- if you want to see what other moms are doing in the bedroom, click here to take our sex quiz! It's anonymous, but it shows you how other women answered the questions. Cool right?)
Postpartum depression and anxiety can last a longer than we're told. In fact, a lot of women fight the feelings of PPD and PPA for years before they even get help. I know how hard it is to admit that you're struggling, but it's time to end the stigma of mental illness in moms. I believe in this so strongly that I created a free download for moms to take the same test that doctors use to diagnose and treat postpartum mood disorders. I care about you and your health, so I hope you'll click here to grab the test, score yourself and seek out help from your doctor. It starts the difficult conversation for you and it's a tool that your doctor is probably already familiar with.
Women have described their feelings about this stage of motherhood in different ways: lost, a stranger to themselves, living in a fog, a disbelief that they're a mom now and even feeling like a failure and not good enough.
A lot of women talk about not "feeling like themselves" in the early years of motherhood. Birth has a way of undoing a woman to her very core and the rebuild can take some time. Most of us don't feel the same as we did pre-kids: and that's okay. Women have described their feelings about this stage of motherhood in different ways: lost, a stranger to themselves, living in a fog, a disbelief that they're a mom now and even feeling like a failure and not good enough. I've even heard it described as though a bomb had dropped and everything is chaos and unrecognizable. As the smoke clears and you can see some familiar territory, you start to put things back together. But they're never quite the same.
Does any of this sound familiar, Mama?
If becoming a mom has been tough for you, you're definitely not alone.
I always feel that the best way to shine light on a dark subject is to talk about it. Let's stop being ashamed that we may not be handling motherhood as well as society says we should. Let's talk about how tough it is to adjust to this new life and help other moms understand that they're not alone.
If you've been looking for your village of supportive moms, head over to mamasoup.ca and download the Mamasoup app just for moms- it's free, anonymous and location-based. And it's a safe place to talk about the tough stuff.
Joanne Ilaqua - CEO of MamaSoup
Hey there, I’m Joanne.
I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I have 4 kids and I know firsthand how lonely and isolating motherhood can be, so I created MamaSoup. I'm mostly known for my love of red wine, spontaneously singing and my confidence in being my true self on social media. When I’m not busy building women up, you can catch me taking Instagram stories of my bulldog Ruby, watching The Handmaid’s Tale, playing MUber (Mom Uber) to my kids or vacationing in my favourite town: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
I love serving the world by providing a space for moms to connect and support each other. In my opinion, moms are the backbone of communities because they are (literally) raising the future!
As the founder and CEO of MamaSoup, I’ve been featured on CHEX TV Morning Show, KawarthaNOW, Economic Development- The City of Kawartha Lakes and MyKawartha.
Still with me? Join me over at MamaSoup to keep the conversation going!