If there is one thing you can expect from me on this blog here of mine; it is honesty and truth. It’s the same thing when you have a real conversation with me. Yes, I’m that person. If you ask me if something looks good on you, I’m gonna tell you the truth! I try to use discernment while telling the truth, as some things are just better left unsaid and not shared. However, there are some things that are good to share…and I’m choosing to share my current life with you, readers. The wonderful ups, the incredibly vulnerable birth story of my daughter, but also the downs that present themselves in our lives. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
So, without further ado…8 truths of the post-partum life:
1. A whole new body. I’ve had three bodies in the past 10 months. My pre-pregnancy body, then my pregnant body, and now this post-partum body. None of those are bad bodies, they are just 3 distinctly different ones, and I have had to learn to adjust to each one. For some reason, I was thinking there was only two bodies: my pregnant body and my not pregnant body. But that is just not the case…and that is ok! And I’m not just talking about the loose skin on my belly, I’m also talking about my energy levels and my strength, etc. Before pregnancy, I was a chore/work/hobby machine. During pregnancy, I was slow, exhausted and irritable. After pregnancy, I’m much less physically exhausted (I know! It seems crazy!) but am now a feeding machine, and focused mainly on keeping my child alive. Plus, there are the clothes that need to go with each body…
2. We suddenly became very, very popular. All of a sudden, my phone is exploding with texts, my facebook is exploding with comments, my mailbox is exploding with mail (including a lot of extra bills!), my neighbors are popping over for visits (they have never talked to us in the year+ that we have lived here lol), and nobody can hold their excitement in! For an extrovert like me, I have to admit that this is a whole lot of fun…plus, with how adorable Tera is, I don’t blame anyone for wanting to sneak a peak or hold her for an hour…or two.
3. All the feelings. Trust me on this one: ALL the feelings. From the deep, amazing feeling of joy and never being so in love, to the terrifying moment when you realize that you are solely responsible for the life of a human, to fierce protectiveness over anything bad happening to this little one, to the moment when you are frustrated with the tiny human for waking you up once again in the middle of the night. It’s all there. It’s all just under the surface, and I never know what emotion is going to bubble up next. It’s all very overwhelming, those emotions.
4. Dad needs TLC, too. The #1 person getting attention after a birth is baby. The #2 person is Mom. Often, Dad can be forgotten. Theo was my rock through labor- he did a TON of work, and he has gotten just as little sleep as me. In fact, he had gotten much less sleep than me because he has had to return to work already. It’s important to remember to take care of the husband during this time of adjustment, and not just expect him to take care of me.
5. Bodily Functions. I’ll try not to say very much, because I know that I have a mixed audience reading this here blog, but, boy oh boy does a woman’s body go through a mini-labor after the baby is born. A labor of changing and growing and changing and changing! And remember that one time you were so excited for your baby’s first poop? Yeah, well, I was even more excited for my own first poop…! Tmi, I know.
6. A support system makes a world of difference. My parents have been here since a few hours after Tera was born. What a difference that has made! If I am feeding the baby or doing something else that needs to be done, I can just ask someone else to do that task that pops up out of nowhere (get the dog, turn off the oven, etc). My Mom has taken over most of the chores, and it’s nice to be able to ease back into my old routine. My church has also been an incredible support system, with flowers, cards and meals arriving every few days! It is so wonderful to relinquish some of that responsibility and take a much-needed nap or just feed the baby without having to worry about starting dinner NOW.
7. We need to find our own groove. People will give lots of grand advice about what to do with your baby. How to make them sleep, when to take them out, when to stay at home, how to swaddle them or lay them down or dress them or kiss them or carry them, etc, etc, etc. But a friend reminded me today that I need to find what works for us. I have found this to be SO true. Listen politely to advice, take it into consideration, try it even! But if it doesn’t work, throw it out the window and do what works for you! And don’t even entertain those guilty thoughts.
8. You will make mistakes. I was required to take Tera to the pediatrician the day after we brought her home. Theo and I had a list, and we picked one from the list. When we got there, we realized it was in the ghetto. Now, I don’t have anything against Dayton or the ghetto, but it is not somewhere that I don’t necessarily want to take my 3 day old baby. The people in the waiting room were all talking about getting tested for their STDs and using so much vulgar profanity that I wanted to cover my baby’s ears. It was a HUGE mistake. I felt like the worst Mom in the world. Another time, I completely forgot to change her diaper, and it wasn’t until a few hours later that we realized she had been chilling in her poop and pee filled diaper for a couple of hours. Major mom fail. And I’m only going to make more mistakes from here on out.
So, how are we doing? Well, I think that we are doing really well! Tera has a great disposition- she is SO social. She perks right up when people come and visit, and she loves to interact with us during her wake times. She sleeps like a champ at night- 3-4 hour stretches. She eats like a DeValve AND a Hines, and she poops like a true DeValve. (All.the.time.) We have great help around the house, but we sure do miss Daddy when he is gone at work. We are all adjusting to life together, and figuring one another out. One thing is for sure- we sure do love our Tera Evelynne!