Just before the baby is born, many moms-to-be fill their to-do lists with plans about what to do shortly after childbirth. From detailed schedules to shopping lists, from baby to-do lists to returning-to-work plans, it’s all just part of mom’s goal to be the perfect mom for the baby.
Many moms who have done this find that they often fall short of their expectations. As such, they’re prone to get disappointed with themselves within the first few months of the baby’s life. And that's understandable since that's how anyone would feel if they don't think they're achieving anything.
And the problem here is simply that they’re setting the bar too high for themselves. Sure, we’d all want to make ourselves and our family home-cooked meals. Yeah, it would be great to be able to get exactly the recommended amount of exercise. And many of us certainly don’t want to leave the little one crying for her next feeding for more than a couple of minutes.
But it’s important to be realistic. The period after childbirth can be a challenging time. And while some things will certainly need to be done, it might be worth setting the bar low for some others. The trick to keeping mom’s sanity intact during this time is to set priorities. Determine which parts are the essential things that need to be done right, and then identify those that won’t kill anyone if they’re not done with a lot of care.
Not convinced just yet? It might be worth going through 15 reasons why moms might want to set the bar for themselves low after birth.
14 Because Bouncing Back Isn't For Everyone
Every single time a celebrity gives birth, chances are that we’re going to find a stunning photograph of her within a month or so, on the cover page of a fashion or fitness magazine. With the headline “How to Get Your Body Back in Two Weeks or Less” or something like that.
And while, in a reasonable world, this would be absolutely preposterous, apparently we don’t quite live in a reasonable world. What happens, instead, is that moms across the world begin to question themselves. Some will even blame themselves for “not trying hard enough” to get back to their bikini-perfect body.
Although some moms can manage this with the help of too much free time, amazing genes or, dare we say, Photoshop, we’re calling it out: not everyone is going to bounce back, and not everyone is going to do so in the record time the magazines claim we can.
13 It's Hard To Look Model Perfect Three Weeks After Birth?
Fact: There’s a huge difference between looking good and feeling good. It’s not that one isn’t possible without the other. It’s just that there’s a distinction between the two. But let’s face it, after birth it’s not like mom is going to have time to deal with both at the same time, especially with a newborn. So, if you’re going to choose one, we recommend choosing the latter.
Having an Instagrammable bod shortly after childbirth might seem like the pinnacle of bragging rights. But, we promise, it’s vastly overrated. Instagram can’t buy happiness, after all.
Besides, most of us agree that a woman who feels good will radiate an energy that will make her look fabulous, even with her flab and stretch marks. Dare we say, she’ll look even better than the mom who feels like crap, but got her body back within a week through salads and workouts.
12 Because Mom Will Feel Like One Giant Leaky Faucet
We hate to break it to everyone, but the fact is that mom will leak from almost every embarrassing place anyone can think of. With the ferocity reserved for horror movies. Consider that a fair warning, best taken into consideration when mom is planning for a baby shower weeks after childbirth.
For those who don’t believe us, just go google “lochia,” click on the very first page and take all that information in. Go ahead. We’ll wait. And that’s just from one orifice.
But don’t stress out over it. Everything will go back to normal, eventually. And even if it doesn’t, just go to the doctor. There’s a pill for that. Mom’s main concern should be just to set the bar down low because she’s not going to get any lower than feeling all wet and sticky in places that she would rather not talk about. Trust us, she’ll be better off that way.
11 Suddenly Becoming A Mother Is Hard
When moms ask for advice about motherhood, there’s always that one person who always says, “You’ll know when you get there.” And some moms nod their heads sagely and figure that yeah, she’s probably right because that motherhood instinct is a thing, for sure. Apparently, midwives and doctors alike will sprinkle her with magic motherhood fairy dust during childbirth, making her all-wise and all-knowing about babies.
Only, when mom actually gets there, she might realize that motherhood is like being in a circus and a train wreck, all at once.
It can be easy to panic, especially when she’s in the surreal moment where she’s 100 percent responsible for this crying baby in her arms and she’s still sleep-deprived. But it’s important to remember that, no, mom hasn’t been training for this all her life. It’s hard, and that’s OK. If mom just does the best she can, that’s good enough.
10 Because Mom Won't Get Things Right The First Time
Many moms often get stressed out when they make a simple mistake with motherhood. Maybe they forgot to sterilize the baby bottles or they’re having trouble breastfeeding. Maybe they put the diaper on too loose or a haughty relative just reprimanded them for putting pillows into the crib.
“Don’t you know that those increase the risk of SIDS?” she’ll say in that superior tone.
And mom may take that as a sign that she’s just not a good parent. She shouldn’t even have bothered procreating. Heck, maybe she should have gotten her tubes cut when she was, like twelve. But let’s not get away with our anxiety here.
Parenting is a lot of trial and error. It takes time to get to know the little one and what works best for her and for mom. Just learn from experience and adapt to whatever feels right. Chances are, it’ll all turn out fine.
9 Still Looking Pretty Puffy A Week Later
We all know about how mom retains far more fluid during pregnancy. After all, she did need a whole lot of extra blood to support another human being residing in her womb. Kind of like one would need some extra cash to support a freeloader living in the basement.
But many moms expect the extra fluids – and therefore the puffiness – to disappear shortly after childbirth. After all, that spare stuff is no longer needed anymore, right?
But really. Let’s not kid ourselves. It took months to build up that water weight and it’s only natural that it’s going to take a while for it to completely go away. So it’s best not to panic and sob about “not getting my body back” when it’s only been, like, about three days.
And, even in the freeloader-in-the-basement scenario, it’s going to take time and resources to clean out the basement long after she’s left.
8 Mom Will Struggle With Going To The Bathroom
Yet another common problem after childbirth are problems with urinating and defecating. Moms who have multiple pregnancies are at high risk for this, as their babies will have pressed upon their intestines and bladder with more pressure than a single baby.
Also at risk are moms who have had particularly traumatic childbirths. That is, those that are prolonged or involve a baby that is disproportionately larger than their pelvic inlet. This can cause trauma to the urinary meatus and the anus, especially if she experiences a third or fourth-degree tear.
While it may seem like something relatively easy to handle, it can be extremely uncomfortable and even a nuisance, especially when there’s so much to do. Incontinence, painful urination or hemorrhoids can be huge issues at this point. As such, any mom would appreciate not having to do everything perfectly, if it would mean a few extra moments to recover from the pain.
7 Social Media Sets You Up For Failure
It can be super tempting to head on to Facebook or Instagram after childbirth. After all, most moms want to show off their little ones and, perhaps, receive all the love and attention that any new mom deserves. But, to paraphrase the wise words of Boromir, one does not simply go into social media. Because it has horrors that are far worse than Mordor itself.
There are actual studies that show that the more people go on social media, the more miserable they actually are despite all the #blessed stuff they post. This is because many feel the constant need to compare themselves to family, friends, celebrities, husband’s exes…
So if, at any point, social media begins to put mom in a deep depression, stop. Unplug the computer. Back away slowly, and run for the hills. There’s already a lot to deal with, getting the hang of motherhood and all. Adding another source of stress and misery isn’t worth it.
6 Cooking Barely Happens
Moms have to constantly deal with people yammering about how much superior pure breastfeeding is. Or those that insist that formula is totally fine and that anyone who says otherwise is crazy. And in the middle of all the debate, the only people who are actually reasonable are those who say #fedisbest. After all, there’s no need to stress out over what mom is feeding her baby as long as the little one is well-nourished.
And here, we say that the same applies for mom as well. In the midst of people insisting that fresh, organic, whole-grain, free-range, home-made or something like that is the only thing that she should eat after childbirth, it’s fine to live off McDonald’s. After all, mom has just pushed a baby out of her hoo-ha. Or, alternatively, got cut open. Anyone who insists she has to home-cook all the time is a heartless savage.
5 Mom Will Have Snail-Like, Overwhelming Exhaustion
Childbirth is exhausting. No mom in her right mind would have any question about that. After all, it takes a lot of strength to go through labor and push a baby out of the birth canal. And even for moms who have gone through C-sections, a lot of their energy will be directed towards recovery from an invasive procedure.
As such, it’s important to consider that, chances are, mom will be all but exhausted during the weeks following childbirth.
Baby care is, of course, a priority. But it must be planned in a way that allows mom to regain her strength, so she can have enough energy for the long stretch that is motherhood. It’s important not to pressure mom too hard about meeting all her expectations during that first week. It’s the least that everyone can do to make sure she stays healthy and sane after she’s given birth!
4 Going Out With A Newborn Can Be Scary
As much as showing the baby off to anyone and everyone who will listen might seem the norm, nowadays it’s not always the best thing to do. Cocooning a newborn is normal, even healthy.
There should be no pressure to take the baby out. Besides, other than immediate family, nobody is actually entitled to see the baby. Outside love and validation might be great, but frankly, it’s overrated. Sometimes it’s more comforting to just stay in for the time being. Get to know the baby better. Look at them. Get familiar with how they respond. Watch out for milestones. Smell them, love them. Relax.
There’ll be plenty of opportunity for outside. After all, maternity leave only lasts so long and, failing that, mom has got to do the groceries again one of these days. In the meantime, it’s best to enjoy these precious little moments of peace. Chances are, they will be sorely missed.
3 Everything. Hurts. Real. Bad.
Many moms expect to experience postpartum aches and pains for a few days after giving birth. What some don’t take into account, however, is that some of those aches and pains can last for weeks, even months, after birth. The specific pains that will be experienced, of course, depend on the nature of childbirth that mom went through.
Even for run-of-the-mill uncomplicated births, most moms experience cramps, breast pains and a whole lot of body pains. Think of it as if mom’s abdominal muscles and uterus has just run a marathon, so to speak. They’re going to be sore afterwards, especially if she didn’t do prenatal exercises regularly! Moms who get C-sections will have to deal with aches from their post-operative site.
And moms who set the bar low for some of the lesser priorities in their life be thankful that they gave themselves permission to rest while dealing with all this!
2 The Emotional Rainbow
Those pesky hormones always love to mess with mom’s mood. Whether during the menstrual cycle or throughout the pregnancy, they can cause mom to feel sad, irritable or even euphoric. Sometimes, all within the same hour. And just because mom has just had a baby doesn’t mean that she’s completely off the hook. In fact, she may just get the worst hormone-related mood swings of her life.
This is because pregnancy hormones build up to extremely high levels until the third trimester. When the baby is out, well, the hormones aren’t needed anymore. And so there is a sudden, drastic dip, which affects mom’s mood just as abruptly.
Many moms deal with the postpartum blues. This can affect mom’s ability to care for the baby – and herself – quite a bit. Yet others will sink into postpartum depression, especially if the hormones refuse to balance out within a couple of months. In this case, getting therapy should be a priority.
1 Chaos Is The New Norm
Take our word for it: there'll be way too much to do in the period following childbirth. And while some of them can be anticipated, post-delivery life can be extremely unpredictable. Because of that, it can seem that there's just so much to do at once. This can be very stressful for moms who aren’t so flexible in their plans.
In this case, it’s really best to set the bar low, if only for mom’s mental health. As long as mom and the little one are both well-fed and healthy, a lot of the other little tasks can wait for later. Or not at all.
For instance, it’s impossible to know when the little one might get sick and need a visit to the doctor. This can throw off mom’s schedule if she hasn’t put in enough time allowance for unexpected events. And we all know that once a teeming full schedule is thrown off, it can be incredibly difficult to bounce back!
Sources: Bundoo.com, WhattoExpect.com, WebMD.com, SmartParenting.com.ph, BabyCenter.com