Welcoming a new baby into the world is a joyous and transformative experience. While many expectant mothers prepare for the challenges of childbirth, the postpartum period often brings its own set of surprises that you may not feel prepared for. Below are some of the unexpected realities of postpartum, so if you are having a difficult time with any of the, know that you are not alone. Becoming a mother is not easy, and can be a difficult transition, no matter how prepared you thought you were.
One of the most unexpected aspects of postpartum is the intense emotional rollercoaster many women experience for the following months after birth. Hormonal changes that are happening in your body, sleep deprivation, and the responsibility of caring for a newborn can lead to fluctuating emotions, including mood swings, irritability, and feelings of overwhelm. There are a lot of changes happening at once and you may feel that you have no idea what you are doing. All while the well-being of a little one lies on your shoulders. It’s crucial for new moms to understand that these emotional ups and downs are entirely normal and to seek support from loved ones or healthcare professionals if needed.
The physical recovery after childbirth is often more demanding than anticipated. The postpartum body undergoes significant changes, including healing from childbirth, perineal soreness, engorged breasts, and fluctuations in weight. It’s important for new moms to prioritize self-care and allow themselves time to heal. It can be beneficial to see a physical therapist postpartum as they will have exercises for you to do to help your body heal. Ensure that you are getting enough sleep, eating a nutritious diet, and taking care of yourself mentally as well to help with your overall recovery.
While breastfeeding is a natural way to nourish your baby, it can come with unexpected challenges. Many new moms struggle with issues like sore nipples, engorgement, low milk supply, or difficulty latching. If you find that you are having difficulties breastfeeding get in contact with a lactation consultant, attend breastfeeding support groups, and practice patience with yourself through the journey of breastfeeding. Also know that if it is not working for you and causing more harm than good to your mental health, formula is also a great option.
Sleep deprivation is a hallmark of early motherhood and can be far more intense than anticipated. Frequent nighttime feedings and the irregular sleep patterns of a newborn can leave new moms feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. For an extended period of time, you may never feel that you are fully rested. This can be hard on your body and mental health so it is crucial to prioritize sleep whenever possible. If you are able to ask for support from your spouse or family members, take advantage of their willingness to help so that you are able to rest your body.