Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mommy Moments :: Postpartum Recovery

Today, I got the best news ever--  I am cleared by my gynecologist to return to my "normal" life, whatever that is/was. I couldn't be happier!  I have been waiting on the go ahead since the end of my second trimester.  Now that I am considered "recovered" and things have settled down a bit, let me tell you about my postpartum recovery.

It seems strange to be talking about my postpartum recovery.  I wish I had something meaningful or insightful to share, but the truth is my vagina exploded, a baby plopped out.  My world has been rocked with a newborn, hormones, and a whole new lifestyle over which I have managed very little control.
I know, I am making it sound so glamorous, right? Sometimes, in my Very Limited free time, I sit and wonder what postpartum recovery is like for B-list celebrities.  You know, people like Kim Kardashian's sister who doesn't really "do" anything.  What is it like to have a baby and be mega rich with nothing to do other than lie about while your lady bits heal, nursing your child?  I can't even imagine!

For me, I had to recover and continue life simultaneously.  No one pushed a pause button.  There were so many times that I was out running errands and I thought, "Holy Hell!  My entire reproductive system, ovaries and all, is about to fall out of my vagina right now!"  I am fortunate and grateful that never happened.  Unfortunately, however, even though my new vagina was able to hold up during my active recovery, I am currently sporting the Third Installment of my vagina.  I don't know about other women, but after having a baby, experiencing a perennial tear, and being "reconstructed", Old Girl never looks the same.  At least mine doesn't.  I liked my "pre-baby vagina" just fine.  It took a couple of years to get used to the second edition, after having my Little Darling.  That was a much worse tear and took months longer to heal.  This time, I am not particularly excited about my Third Installment of my vagina situation.  I keep staring at it.  I am sure I will get used to it.  I am not rich.  I can't just call up Dr. 90210 (remember that show?!) and have him give me a sweet little vagina that looks like it was kissed by angels and dye my pubes golden blonde to accentuate the virgin-like qualities of said angelic reconstruction. Instead, I am regular, broke, boring, mundane and of middle class status.  No new angel puss for me.  I will have to learn to love what I have here.  No, I am not in the porn industry.  No one is looking at it except me, and for all intended purposes, my wah-gina is a rockstar and she works just as exquisitely as she has all these years, but still.  When a part of your body permanently changes, you can't help but take note.

I was very shocked that I did not obsess about my figure immediately after having my Little Someone.  I was just focused on being a Mom!  Such a different feeling from when I had my Little Darling.  After my first pregnancy, I was hyper focused on getting my pre-baby body back.  It consumed me and I went after that body only three weeks postpartum.  It made a full recovery stretch to months and it ruined my pelvic floor. This time, I just can't stop staring at my precious Little Someone.  I literally had given up all hope of ever experiencing bringing home a new baby.  Now that I have one, I can admit that we all spend more time staring at, loving on, and enjoying our sweet baby girl more than we worry about anything else around us.
Now, that I am clear to start back with being active, I am trying to assess my situation so that I can set some realistic fitness and weight loss goals.  I believe that setting goals and aspiring towards them is excellent!  Accomplishing any goal leads to a sense of inner confidence that can't be taken from you.  That is extremely rewarding and very sexy!  Now that I have been cleared by the doctor, I plan on returning to my journey of getting in shape.  I now have Two kiddos I have to keep up with.  It was hard enough with my very hyper Little Darling.  I also have patella tendonitis in both knees.  The extra weight I am left with postpartum is causing me a great deal of pain.  It's hard to walk, take the stairs, drive my car. Shedding some weight will make that easier for me and will make it easier for me to be a better, more active and involved mother.  And that, folks, is what I live for!  Improving myself so that I can improve the quality of care I provide to my children.
 Most of my postpartum recovery was a combination of sleepless nights, sleep-filled days, watching more TV than I am sure is considered healthy, and eating lots of fast food, since The Hubs doesn't cook much and it took a few weeks for my back to stop hurting from the epidural.  I am fortunate that I haven't suffered from Postpartum Depression, but I would be a liar if I didn't say that I am anxious to find a way to return to the way things were. No, I don't mean "pre Baby Number 2".  I mean I want things to return to being less stressful and easier.  I miss feeling like myself: active, fit, fun, laid back.  Right now, I am a mutant combo of a frantic, over worked and over stressed personal assistant to everyone in my family, a sleep-deprived zombie wandering about eating whatever and doing whatever I can with the energy I've got and a robot going through the motions of day-to-day tasks without truly feeling anything other than a need to check tasks off my list so I don't forget.  I am ready for THIS phase to end, and I suspect that taking time to work out every day might give me the motivation and strength to start pushing things in that direction.

I can't wait to experience the stress relief of doing cardio and see the transformation from a one form of a Strong Body, able to create and carry children full term and survive the terrors of labor and delivery to the another form of a Strong Body, one that is fit, toned, and capable of handling the physical task of being an active and involved parent. Working out always has a positive affect on my mood and my creativity.  I get my BEST ideas when I am working out (cue scene from The First Wives Club with Goldie Hawn boozed up on a treadmill).

In all honesty, my sanity depends on it.  Let's just say the emotional recovery is just as hard as the physical one.  I have experienced "post partum rage" more so than depression.  Usually, all responsibilities regarding the house fall on my shoulders alone.  I am nursing for the first time and my Little Someone has colic.  They say each baby is different, but I don't think that reality fully set in until I went three weeks with 2 hours of sleep each night!  It has been really wearing on my nerves and my relationship as we all struggle to figure out how to get everything accomplished and how to keep everyone satisfied.  Unfortunately, I am usually the one doing the most accomplishing and I am the least satisfied, as I have very little, if any, time left for myself.  It has been frustrating, but after 6 weeks of trying my best to get things sorted, I think I have finally figured some things out!
The things they don't tell you about bringing home a new baby is all the relationship strife.  There is some unspoken rule that the children are just "the mother's problem".  It's even more difficult to break that misconception if you are a stay-at-home mom.  There was a point, when, if my husband asked me just One More Time, to justify how I spent my day, I was going to pack my bags and leave.  I couldn't handle it.  I won't lie, I didn't think we would make it.  The fighting was really bad, but I can be ever so thankful that ultimately, The Hubs will literally do ANYTHING to keep me happy and in his life.

Ladies, if you are a new Mama and you need help, DEMAND IT!  I felt incredibly guilty for not knowing how to handle everything on my own.  I felt irritated when The Hubs refused to help because he feels all things house and home related are only my responsibility.  I was also ashamed of the example I was showing our little girls of how women should be treated and their role in society.  In the past week or so, things have changed. The Hubs and our big girl have been stepping up and helping me out so much more!  I can finally breathe and relax.  It also helps that my Little Someone is getting better with nursing and sleeping better. She still has pretty bad acid reflux, but I have figured her out so much more than what I understood about her one month ago.  It's amazing to me how time, just the passage of time alone, can make things so much clearer.
Now, let's see what the next phase is all about.  I have survived pregnancy, labor/delivery, and my postpartum recovery.  I feel like I can take on the world.  So what's the next step?! 

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