Updated: Feb 3, 2019
To be honest, when I was planning for the birth of my first child I really didn't get very far. I was young and naive. I knew childbirth was going to hurt, but It never occurred to me that it would hurt past the actual labour & delivery. It never occurred to me that I was going to be IN CHARGE of taking care of a new baby, when I felt like I had just been hit by a truck. Turns out that's what happens when you have a baby. You go through 9 months of feeling more and more tired, then, just when you think you can't take any more, your contractions start (or your induced, or go in for your cesarean, etc). Then, whether you have a fast, short, cesarean, water-birth, WHATEVER kind of birth you have, you are so beaten up. BUT when you have a baby, you don't get to take your time healing and binge watching Netflix. You pack up all your crap and go home. And your going with a newborn that depends on you completely. Did you ever take care of a newborn before you had your own? I sure as hell had not. I could hardly even stand up due to my labour and cesarean and somehow I was in charge of keeping this thing alive. Don't get me wrong, I loved her. But I didn't know what to do with her. And my husband was GREAT. Like hella great. And he looked hot doing it. But I felt pretty lost.
People came by and said how gorgeous my daughter was and told me to ask for help if I needed. But really, they had their own lives. Jobs and homes and routines. Like I was going to ask them to come over to watch me cry and figure out how to breastfeed.
I was so emotional that bursting into tears over anything or nothing was a daily, no HOURLY occurrence. Or I'd be SO tired, but not able to sleep. Which let me tell you, does NOT speed up the healing process. Then after the shortest week of my life my husband had to go back to work. I tried to talk him out of working altogether but he was stubborn and insisted on paying the bills.
So my Mom would come stay with me. Now my Mom has always been amazing, but this was the best gift she had ever given me (and she had bought me a pony). My Mom is SO easy to be with, she swoops in, tidies up, throws in a load of laundry, and brings me food. She did it all while I bawled in the living room about how I can't sleep and my nipples hurt. Then she would send me to my bed and hold my baby walking and talking with her. Making sure she felt loved. And also bringing her to me to breastfeed when she would show any sign of hunger. Because she wasn't there to take over, she was there to let me rest and process my new life, so I could continue to do the hard work of becoming a Mother. She NEVER complained, she NEVER rolled her eyes when I exploded into tears and began rambling on about who knows what. She would look at me and listen, show me how to breastfeed in different positions, fold the laundry while I nursed my baby and watched 'The Price Is Right'. She taught me in those days the exact way I was going to care for Moms in the future. This is the reason I became a postpartum Doula. Because we need to do better for new Moms. We need to Mother them.
If you would of told me before my daughter was born how much help I was going to need, I would of scoffed at you. "Not me, we do things on our own. Were good that way." But Holy hell was I wrong.
I did get stronger. I got more confident. And after I got REST and my body HEALED I didn't need as much help.
You know what? New Moms need Mothering. That's all there is to it. And the best kind of support will swoop in, tidy up, feed you, listen intently, all the while never judging you.