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You’d think I’d be an expert at living life postpartum, now that its the third time around. Newsflash to motherhood: each child does not give you another notch of expertise. Darn. Would be nice though. Third time or first time, postpartum life, particularly in the first week is still just as messy and surprising. Postpartum life is messy, icky, uncomfortable and all-round surprising at times. I’m hoping in sharing these lessons I’ve learned that you can avoid them, or feel better if you go through them!
Lesson 1: How To Not Wet Yourself In The Middle of The Night
Sadly, I’ve experienced some middle-of-the-night accidents postpartum. Take the other night for example. I’m up, nursing the baby. Its about 3am in the morning. I currently sleep with the boys now – them in one bed, the baby and I in the other, so Daddy gets his sleep for work. Most of us are familiar with finding a situation where the dad gets his rest, so he can make it to work, think clearly, and at least we will have one, level-headed and open-eyed adult in the home. Anyways, the baby is just now starting to spit up, which I forget. I’m falling asleep while burping him when he starts to get gaggy. Oh boy. He launches yellow grossness all over my hair, shoulder, back and himself. YUCK! I jump out of bed with him and immediately realize jumping out of bed was not a good idea. I NEED TO GO TO THE BATHROOM STAT! I can’t hold it well at all, so I’m running and holding the baby with yellowy-milky liquid all over one side of me. I have to lay baby on the shower rug and slide onto the toilet as fast as possible, later than I’d like to admit. I’ve had a few of these late-night emergencies, and I should’ve been more aware of the fact that I needed to go to the bathroom. If you can, prior to your middle-of-the-night feeding, make the baby weight 1 extra minute and make yourself go to the bathroom first. It will save you some embarrassing moments later.
Lesson 2: Dry Shampoo, Trust Me
In the moments like the one above, where you are totally exhausted, and still have spit up in your hair, there isn’t much energy to shower and start over. Somehow, I ended up with spit up in my hair more than I’d like to admit, so dry shampoo was my way of feeling like I washed it out. That helped me function as a sanitary-ish human. At times, I would need to run an errand, get older children to appointments and more, so I’d be left with two options: leave it slimy and icky, pulled back, or at least spray some shampoo on that ish and roll. I chose the latter, and I think its a good lesson in postpartum life. You have to choose the lesser of two evils and do the best you can.
Lesson 3: Get Sleep Anyway That Works
This is an important lesson because with my first baby, I really struggled to get him to sleep in his crib. I finally slept with him, and it was a miracle! I wasn’t aware of the co-sleeping idea at the time (5 years ago), so I thought I was doing something wrong by sleeping with my baby. Don’t let any ideas on sleep make you feel like you are doing something wrong. Work with your baby to find what works best to get you both rest. Whether that’s in the crib, a bassinet, a Dock-A-Tot, right next to you…It will help you be a happier mama as you navigate having a newborn!
Lesson 4: Subscriptions!!!
Please don’t wait to do this like I did! I finally have diapers on subscription with Amazon. Join Amazon Family 30-Day Free Trial!! A LIFE SAVER! It really makes a difference to have all your diapers shipped to your door, before you even realize you are running low. There’s a new company that does this as well, Parasol, which is more eco-friendly and stylish. Definitely check them out as well! I think Amazon is cheaper, but go with what you want for you baby. Just get a subscription and never think about it again!
Join Amazon Family 30-Day Free Trial
Lesson 5: Don’t Worry If You Don’t Feel Better By 6 Weeks
With my first baby, I got the “OK” from my doctor that everything was great. Well, I didn’t feel completely healed, and my body just didn’t feel back to normal. I thought something was wrong with me, but now that I’ve had three babies, I’ve found its normal to “not feel normal” even after your doctor says you are. My mom advised me that it took 9 months to grow the baby, and it can take nine months to feel completely healed. Now, we are both not doctors, but this is our experience. What I learned is that you need to give yourself time to heal, and do not put pressure on yourself to jump back in the saddle – literally. Patience is so very, very important with postpartum healing and recovery.
Even with these lessons learned, it’s amazing how no matter how many times you’ve given birth, changed diapers, pumped milk, washed clothes, made crafts etc. You never know what’s going to happen. You prep, pack, clean, think ahead…and it can all go surprisingly wrong in an instant with kids. I was hoping more kids meant getting better/mom life getting easier. I envisioned myself knowing what messes and disasters would be coming ahead of time so I could ninja respond before it actually happened. I think with the third baby I’m less ninja like, and more like a freezing goat. You know, the ones that are running all pretty, then they just freeze and fall over? Yea, I’m closer to that still. I am so caught off guard by the amount of things I don’t expect to happen, I stand stunned for a hot second while I contemplate if it’s really relaity. I’m sure (or I tell myself this) that a lot of mom’s have their postpartum mishap stories. It’s too bad we can’t get a medal for each baby and graduate out of the messiness that follows childbirth, but then again, maybe we’d have way too many babies if that were the case.