The maternity weeks (2/2)

The maternity period: that's a magical time with rainbows, glitter and unicorns right? you're on a pink cloud and having a baby is all about enjoyment! At least, that's what many people think and expect. What we also often hear: you have a healthy baby, you absolutely cannot complain! In this blog I am going to be very honest, so if you would like to stay in your bubble of rainbows and unicorns for a while longer, please don't read any further. So is that maternity period the worst thing there is? No! Absolutely not! But it is a period with many changes, sleep deprivation, recovery and habituation. It is the period when, first of all, you will get to know your beautiful baby and start writing your baby's manual. Unfortunately, this manual does not come with it so with every cry, moan and sound you have to start figuring out what it means. If you don't get your baby comforted then this can leave you feeling helpless, this is quite normal. Know that if you have gone down your "list" it could just be that your baby is looking for security or is processing stimuli, comforting then is really enough! I especially needed some time to get used to Maas. Of course you take care of your baby and do everything for him/her but I had to grasp in my head that Maas really belonged to me. I was suddenly someone's mum but I didn't really know whose. I took the time to get to know Maas and now it feels very different. What helped me was Jordy's presence. He had 5 weeks of birth leave which allowed us to get to know Maas together. It also ensured that I could take my break time every day so that I could cope better with the nights. Until about 6 weeks after birth, Maas checked in every 2 hours every night. This is tough, but accepting that this just suited Maas brought a lot of peace. Often the emphasis is on a baby sleeping through. Surprise! A baby is actually not supposed to sleep through and often has its day and night rhythms reversed in the beginning. They need some time to get used to this and that's fine. Once you remove the pressure for yourself that your baby needs to sleep through, you give yourself more peace of mind. Besides getting used to your baby, you are also still recovering from your labour. Depending on the course of your labour, you may be mobile right away or you may need a few days and sometimes weeks to recover. A caesarean section, for example, can mean that you need bed rest for the first week or that you are not allowed to do any physically demanding tasks for a longer period of time. Recovery is different for everyone, so give yourself and your body time to recover. Ask for help if you need it! Add some hormones to this whole story and you have a perfect recipe for an emotional rollercoaster! So don't be disappointed if that pink cloud feels way out of your reach, it's normal. So a maternity week really does go through ups and downs and the transition to parenthood takes time. Notice that for a fortnight there are only downs and no ups? Raise the alarm with your GP or midwife, you may be suffering from postnatal depression. So having a baby is not always enjoyment, and so to end this blog on a happy note: It's all worth it! That sweet little snout in the morning, the first smile you get from your baby. These are all moments that tip the scales to the right side.

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