Steffi Gatto Herrera
Postpartum – The Secret Club
Updated: Jul 14, 2020
I was quite surprised and overwhelmed after the birth, which I wouldn’t have expected or even thought about. Also, no one tells you about what it's like. As soon as you are pregnant, you'll receive a lot of advice and information from everywhere and everyone. The best creams to avoid stretch marks, the most comfortable bras.
The same happens here for the topic of birth. Even if you don’t want to hear birth stories, it is difficult to avoid them. From horror stories to beautiful ones, some people encourage birthing in a hospital with a quick epidural—and many people's "kind" comments end up being kind of intense.
But that stops when it comes to the “postpartum” chapter. It seems that this topic is taboo if you are not part of the club. Society expects you to be a happy mom right after birth—you have just given birth to a healthy baby, so what else should matter now?
I thought that way, too, when my friends gave birth and I visited them. But now that I've given birth, I belong to the postpartum club and was super shocked when I heard stories about how they felt during those first few months.
I had a perfect birth with no complications. For me, it was magical and, quite honestly, the best moment of my life. But I was still hit hard in the postpartum period. I may have gone into my pregnancy super naïvely, but I definitely did not expect to bleed for 6 weeks. Also, the whole body feels so different after the baby is out. It is not like your body goes back to how it was before the pregnancy. This is obvious, but I still remember the feeling of standing up after birth—it felt so weird to breathe, as my organs had so more space and felt like they were out of order, like there was a hole in my core.
You have to be thankful and patient with your body. It just did an amazing job! Still, you are sore, you might have haemorrhoids, and going to the toilet is a new feeling that is completely overwhelming. Even without any tears or injuries during labor.
Another fact that I totally underestimated was the hormonal change. During pregnancy, I felt incredibly good and was lucky to have this glow and shine. After birth, it felt like I was on a rollercoaster. The rising hormones of pregnancy just vanished, and I felt like I'd fallen into a hole. I had no energy and deep baby blues. Everyone responds differently to this new role as a mom. Some flourish and never felt better, and for others, it takes more time. For me, it took more time, but I love being a mom, but I am still me. And this “me” is also the part that was lost for a while.
You have to define yourself as someone completely new, as you are not the same person you were before pregnancy. At least, I wasn't. Not only does your body change—the mental change you experience after birth is extreme.
You need to give yourself time and be patient with the new situation. It can take all the time it needs. Postpartum is sometimes a bitch, but also the chance to take time for yourself and reflect your life, what is important and where to go now with the little blessing you just birthed, is a true gift.
I haven’t mentioned the breastfeeding, which also makes the postpartum life challenging but this topic will need its own post.