Becoming a new parent, and taking that little bundle of joy home, who can’t talk, take care of themselves, or even alert you to why they just spent six hours wailing at the top of their lungs, only to fall blissfully to sleep, is simply terrifying. Having well meaning friends and family constantly bombarding you with ‘helpful advice’ just adds to the stress. There are a host of things we will all need for a newborn, but they can all fit into one short conversation and be over. Here’s some things you can feel pressured to do when you have a baby, but don’t have to.
We need to be offering women support, rather than instruction, unless instruction is explicitly asked for, in which case, instruct away.
Don’t get that epidural
Use those glass bottles
Don’t use bottles
Do what you want, It’s your body
Don’t buy that cream
Don’t gain too much weight
Not gaining enough weight
Sleep now!! You’ll never sleep again.
Natural, Natural, Natural.
As Hannah Murphy from Romper explained, “Breast is best” they told me, and like any mother, I wanted what was best for my baby. So, I put forth my best effort to breastfeed my newborn. Not only did I struggle to breastfeed, but I also struggled with postpartum depression.The longer I put off seeking medical help for my PPD, the worse it got, and it made me struggle even more with breastfeeding. Once I finally reach my limit, I went to the doctor and was promptly put on medication for my postpartum depression. Though I told my doctor I was concerned about not being able to breastfeed because of the medication, she told me that my baby needed his mother to feel happy and stable more than he needed my breast milk. Turns out, breast isn’t always best. Not for everyone. The very first day I chose to stop breastfeeding and was able to give my son a bottle (and even allowed someone else to feed him) I felt an immediate weight lifted.
Allowing Everyone To Visit
It’s such an exciting time, a new baby! Those little toes, fingers and sheer and utter exhaustion. You’ve politely explained how you’d like to be alone, but not wanting a confrontation with your mother in law about what exactly constitutes as ‘time alone’, with you figuring three to five days, and her thinking it means having her head at the business end of your body during the birth.
Treat this like an ‘out of office’. Set up your email with an away message, have a ready made text response to your social media, and turn off all phones unless you want to check into Facebook during those 3am feeds yourself. Play good cop/bad cop, and enlist your partner to deal with their family and persistent friends who announce they just got over the ‘worst flu of their life’, yet can’t wait to come over tomorrow and sneeze all over your newborn. Some people won’t be too happy at not being the star of your show, but too bad. This is your time, and you don’t get a do-over.
Be Super Human
Dinner ✓ Laundry ✓ Guests ✓ Exercise ✓ Exhaustion ✓
A lot of us are guilty of ‘having it all’, and watching women bounce right back into their size zero ten seconds after giving birth. Also while flying around the world in a hot air balloon in their underwear while saving starving children, just simply doesn’t help us normalize that labor is tough as hell. It does a serious number on our bodies, that we shouldn’t have to have it all. Sit on the couch, eat the oreos, watch day time tv and snuggle that baby. It’s okay to be stressed, sad with the laundry in competition with the empire state building for height. It will get done (maybe), and take out is perfectly reasonable fifteen days in a row.
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