He is finally here and the raw emotions that are in the room are heavy. We are crying tears of joy because the baby we tried so hard to have is now looking at me in the eyes, lying on my chest and is here. He is not a thought anymore, or a kick in my ribs, he is here.
The emotions of having a child is indescribable, and then there is the shock of postpartum, which is simply not talked about.
I am here to talk about it.
I remember the pain of the contractions had subsided, while other pains had intensified. I was sore in all the places we are not supposed to talk about. My modesty was out the window as four strangers now knew more about me than I did, and then there was just messiness all around. It hurt to get up, it hurt to go to the bathroom, it hurt my heart to look down at my belly. I kept reminding myself, “Jenny, you just had a baby like 9 hours ago”, but my mind kept telling me how undesirable I was.
As society and even as mothers we talk about the joys of our precious new babe, but we do not talk about the healing that we have to go through after. We all act strong and walk around like we have it all together, but in actuality, we are tired from waking up every two hours to feed our infant, which means are boobs are extremely sore from getting used to the routine of breastfeeding, and we are still bleeding. Yes, I said it on the world wide web. We bleed, like for several weeks after and let’s be honest, it really is not fun.
The best advice I got before having Jadon was from my friend Jackie when I was visiting her right after she had her first baby. She looked me straight in the eyes and told me explicitly. “Something I wish people would have told me before becoming a mother is that breastfeeding really hurts. You have to build up the stamina and endurance, so just know this. It hurts, everything is fine, and you will soon get used to the pain.”
Why as women do we not share the gross, the uncomfortable and truths of postpartum and becoming a mama?
Motherhood is rewarding, but it is not easy. Not only do you have to keep a little human alive, but all of sudden priorities change literally overnight. We all prepare for this by buying the crib, the millions of diapers and the cute outfits, but it really does not settle into your soul until you have that little one in your arms.
The moment of having Jadon was a joy, but it was also an adjustment. I had to learn how to settle into my new normal and give myself grace on my ever changing body.
Postpartum is emotional and that is why you hear of postpartum depression because it is real. You start to doubt who you are and begin to ask some serious questions of your identity. Somedays the cries of your baby are overwhelming and you just shed tears alongside your newborn. You lack sleep, you lack food, you lack self-esteem. These emotions and experiences need to be talked about. Women all over the world need to know they are not alone and that it is normal to feel “out of whack” every now and then.
My hardest postpartum day was when Jadon was 5 days old.
(I had many hard moments, but this one was especially hard)
I remember it so vividly. I had just fed Jadon and put him down to sleep. My doctor had given me instructions to soak in a bath filled with salt once a day, so that I could heal in that place we are not supposed to talk about. If any of you have received an episiotomy then you know exactly what I am talking about.
It seems simple, but it is was a little more complicated for me because I live in a place where I do not have access to a bath. I have a bucket. Every night, my sweet husband would heat water in the kettle and prepare my “bath” for me. I was told to soak everyday for twenty minutes for the next week.
My bucket was ready for me, so I stripped down and my hubs helped me sit down, since I was not strong enough yet. He then would hand me a book or play some music to keep me busy for the next twenty minutes. That night I was not able to concentrate on my book and I was just counting down the minutes in my head. I was sitting in the middle of a small room in a 2 x 2 foot bucket. I glanced down at my squishy belly, leaky breasts and started crying.
Tears streamed down my face.
I felt hopeless, humiliated and really sad. I kept asking myself, “How can I feel so sad when I just gave birth to such an amazing little boy? I should not be feeling like this. I should be happy to be a mama.”
Short answer. Grace.
My husband swept me up and held me for a long time until I could control myself. He took care of me, cleaned after me and reminded me I was beautiful. I remember the days when I thought I could not love my husband any more than I already did. Then I gave birth, he became a father and I fell in love with him all over again. He is one amazing man and the love he displayed to me post birth was a servants love.
He gave me strength when I felt weak and showed me how to love myself again in the midst of all the lies that were stored up in my head.
He continued to direct me to the Truth from our Father as well as he never went a day without reminding me that I was worthy.
When I became a mama, I grew in my dignity and learned to display grace to myself often. I also learned how to love deeper.
Jadon will be 17 months old tomorrow and I can tell you my body is still a little different. My belly did not exactly “bounce back” as society likes to say and my back is always indifferent (oh, thank you back labor!), but everyday is a new day.
A day for healing.
A day for grace.
A day to feel worthy.
A day to be thankful.
The day after I had Jadon was beautiful because he was finally in my arms, but it was also painful and messy. It is okay for all of us women to talk about the messy.
Let us start being open with one another.
Let us begin to speak truth and
Let us stop acting as if postpartum is “easy”.
Let’s start getting real.
My hope is that this will be one of the many stories that bring us together, so that we can use this shared space to create an authentic community. Share your story.
t o g e t h e r we can inspire. motivate. change.