When you have a baby, you at some point become privvy to all the postpartum secrets that no one talks about- you know, what happens after giving birth. Conversations with other new moms are dominated by diapers, sleep, breastfeeding, nipple shapes (yours and the bottle’s), and mostly, all the postpartum symptoms that are now part of our new normal (like diastasis recti).
Or are they?
Common or Normal?
Recently, I was talking with a girlfriend who had a baby. She nodded in knowing recognition as I described pelvic girdle pain symptoms (also known as SPD or symphysis pubic dysfunction) and suddenly we were comparing brands of postpartum belts (I can assure you, postpartum belts were not in our vocabulary before having a baby). Like lots of new moms busy and focused on taking care of their new baby, she brushed off her symptoms and hoped it would go away. Luckily for her, it did.
Lots of women out there experience some really common symptoms that get ignored- by themselves or by their doctor. It’s as though we are led to believe that common means it’s normal. But most of the time, postpartum symptoms are not normal.
Take my friend. She was told she’d “just had a baby and it would go away.”
It’s also part of why Duo Diary was created, so that women can start to demand better care for themselves after they have a baby. Postpartum symptoms shouldn’t just be “a new normal.” They should be addressed. Just because lots of women experience symptoms after having a baby doesn’t mean it’s normal (remember, common ≠ normal). It actually probably means that in America, we’ve got a massive problem caring for postpartum women.
Dr. Google to the Rescue?
My friend and I talked about how we spent hours googling our issues, hoping to find any blog or website that would a)explain what it was and b)how we could make our symptoms go away. Depending on the symptoms, sometimes we could find answers and sometimes we couldn’t.
In my case, I began keeping notes in my first Duo Diary ‘prototype’ (= a notepad) about my symptoms, when I experienced them, what triggered them, what seemed to make them feel better. I googled the patterns I noticed in my notes, and finally marched into my OB’s office one day armed with my Duo Diary and a list of potential ailments I thought it could be. She patiently went over each one with me, listening as I rattled off symptoms that I had jotted down and the potential ailments Dr. Google had found. This helped us pinpoint specific issues that were getting overlooked.
How to Take Charge of Your Health
After that appointment, my OB gave me a prescription for a women’s health physical therapist (also called pelvic floor physical therapy) and I finally started to get the help I needed. (You can find a PT in your area through the links on our Resources page).
This is when I realized the power of journaling for postpartum women. The hard fact is, there isn’t a great safety net for postpartum women in the US, so it is up to us and those around us to be our own safety net. Is it unfair? Yup. But that’s why products like Duo Diary exist (and also why we love promoting other women-led companies that are just for mom)- to help us moms be our best, healthiest, and happiest selves.
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