There is a common misconception that after you have a baby, you’ll walk out of the hospital in your skinny jeans or white dress a la Kate Middleton and hop right back into your old life, just with a baby. In this magic world, there is no need to question how to recover from childbirth, things just sort of...snap back to normal...right?
Having a baby suddenly enter your life is a massive upheaval. There is the emotional and identity upheaval, but there is also the physical aspect- you have just gone through one of the most intense physical events a human being will go through, and the fact is, you will need some time to heal from birth.
Newsflash, Childbirth is Hard
Yes, healing. Childbirth is physical. Physical like training for and running a marathon. And, like a marathon runner, you need to rest and recover after the race. No matter what society tells you, those skinny jeans will wait for you once you’ve taken the time and space to allow yourself to heal and recover.
How to Help Yourself Heal After Labor
After a big change like bringing home a baby and childbirth, there needs to be a period of adjustment, of being kind to yourself, and most importantly, of healing.
Not really sure where to start to? Here are 5 things to help you heal after childbirth:
At this stage, the name of the game is to do everything you can to just...rest. Yes, this is a crazy but oh-so-necessary thing to suggest with in-laws visiting, a newborn, and maybe other children to take care of, but it's important. Which brings me to the next item on our list:
Ask for Help
Let me repeat that because modern-day women seem to have been socialized to carry the load all by themselves - ASK FOR HELP. It does not mean you are less than, can’t handle it, or anything else. It just means you are human and like every other woman who has ever given birth in that we ALL need help. If you live near family or close friends- ask them to help a bit for a few weeks while you regain your strength. Otherwise, do what you can- if you can afford to pay a babysitter for a few hours here and there so you can rest, do it. If that’s not possible, consider asking a friend to come by and give you a break for a bit. And if you don’t have any of this possible...
Find a Support System
Often a support system is in the form of local friends and family. But since many people now live away from family, we’ve got to get creative about where we find support. The key is to find people who can help you if needed, that you can vent with or get advice from- anyone who makes you feel like you aren’t alone in this new world. A few key tricks:
- Local mommy & me groups: can often be found through OBGYN offices, local ‘pumping and breastfeeding’ stores, or a local kid or baby store.
- Meet ups: meetup.com has tons of other moms looking to meet up with moms, often free and local.
- Facebook Groups: Facebook moms groups are ubiquitous now- there is almost definitely a Facebook group for moms in your local area, often which can serve as a virtual support system and sometimes translate into real life meetups.
- Apps: And yup, there’s an app for this, too. Check out these apps for moms to meet each other.
Do not jump right back into exercise! For the love of coffee, do not do this. At least not for awhile- let your body heal, listen to it, and do what feels good/OK and your doctor has cleared. Yes, you are itching to start moving and start feeling like YOU again after your body has been taken over for 10 months, but giving yourself some extra time will go a looong way. Jumping right back into exercise could potentially exacerbate issues that haven’t yet reared their head, like diastasis recti, or symphisis pubis dysfunction, or just not being ready.
Food can be one of our biggest tools for healing. Seeking out the advice of a nutritionist at this time in your life can go a long way (like a one-on-one phone session with a Flo Living counselor, which specializes in women’s health). There are also lots of bloggers out there aimed at helping moms be their healthiest. Not skinniest, not ‘fit -mom’-est, but healthy and nourished with recipes for meals for new moms. And companies like Motherbees, From Mother to Mother and Osso Good Bone Broth have recipes and broths to help nourish new mothers.
This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.
This post may contain affiliate links.