Embracing life postpartum (it's all postpartum from here, honey)
Some birth experts and psychologists refer to the postpartum period as the first month or so after birth. Some say it lasts about forty days, some say six weeks, others say the entire first year is intense, delicate. I say that “postpartum” is life after birth.
Yes, the first year is hard because it’s all new. You have to figure out how to take care of yourself when someone wants you all the time. It’s grueling. Asking for help is key.
But for me, there wasn’t really a moment when I felt like the hard part was over and I could just go back to my old life.
When my kids were around 3 and 4 someone asked me, “So, when does it start getting easier? Like, when did you start to feel like you had things figured out?”
My eyes welled up with tears.
Because I didn’t and still don’t have things figured out.
Yeah, I figured out breastfeeding and by some miracle they started sleeping through the night, but I still wonder if I’m doing things right. I’m still tired. I still take care of myself absolutely last.
And so I think that life is postpartum now.
And I need just as much support as I did when they were newborns.
I still long for time to slow down, for sleep, for a conversation with my husband that’s not about them.
But there’s an upside.
Life as a parent isn’t just harshly unique because it involves little sleep and constant messes.
It’s special and intense because no one will make you reexamine your life, your entire being, your reason for living, like a child can. You may rethink your education, your upbringing, your core values.
Our children are constantly throwing us for a loop, making us question what’s right and wrong, and forcing us to become better people.
And so we grow. And change. And evolve. And that’s not easy. It requires support.
So maybe we can embrace postpartum, embrace life as a parent, asking for help when we need it, giving thanks for this grand opportunity to grow and learn and rethink some of the rules and customs of our grandparents. We might even (gasp!) change a few things. Because, yes, sleeping in on weekends and having alone time was really wonderful and luxurious, but with the right kind of support system, postpartum can be amazing, too.
And by postpartum, I mean life. Life as a parent. Life as a world-changer. You can do this.
What do you think?