Whether it’s your first or your third, all natural or a c-section, your body and mind is rocked throughout pregnancy and delivery. So let these serve as some simple tips for postpartum women & some much needed advice on how to get through those brutal hours without making it any worse for ourselves.
What you need to know so you don’t go crazy in the first year
In the spirit of supporting postpartum moms, I want to save you from the biggest culprit of hormone-charged insanity: ourselves!
Nature is wild, y’all. You might be shocked by some of the thoughts you have and ideas you think sound great. But worse is when you don’t realize how crazy you really can be because your chemicals are alllllll out of whack.
Here’s a quick collection of PSAs to stop you from jumping to hormonal whims during the first year after a new baby.
Don’t cut your hair
Or at least don’t get a new haircut/jump to a new hairstyle. I have a whole post on this, and regularly receive thanks for this warning.
I know it sounds like the natural order of operations (have a baby, become a mom, get a “mom haircut”) but don’t do it.
You’re dealing with too many hormones to tolerate such a big change without big feelings coming with it.
Beware of baby hairs
This might sound like I’m beating a dead horse, but hormones do some seriously crazy things. One of the most obvious ones is the effect they have on your luscious pregnancy locks.
Months of hair growth is almost instantly reversed once that baby is born. It seems to fall out in droves and these freaky little baby hairs pop up everywhere.
Those short, wispy little baby hairs will pop up in all the undesirable places. In my case, it’s been in the form of sideburns….
Literal sideburns. Full and fluffy.
Last time, during a fit of postpartum disappointment, I used hair remover on my sideburns and got… months of waiting for those disasters to grow back!!!
Instead of soft short wisps, I had patches of obviously shaved sideburns.
I went through the agony of chemically shaving my sideburns so you don’t have to. On another note, watch out for out of control nipple hair. Sorry, not sorry.
blame the hormones (i do).
Literal sideburns. Full and fluffy.
caution against getting a new job/switching employers
Jumping into a new role or leaving your company is a good idea under normal circumstances. These are not normal circumstances.
it’s always tempting to upgrade your salary or leave a less-than-awesome position, but if you can hold out until after the first year then you’re probably doing yourself a favor.
It might not seem huge, but added to the adjustment to a new baby and all the quirks that come in that first year you’re looking at enough changes. I can speak from experience here too (easily the worst experience)
I left an amazing job at the 6 month mark (3 months after returning from maternity leave) because I was offered more pay and less demanding work. The gig lived up to its promise, but I was still miserable. In fact, I was teetering on suicidal and ended up in therapy.
Not to get all gloomy, but I grossly undervalued the my position and the team I had. I thought I wanted more downtime on the clock, but I traded that for more time to be miserable and a crappy boss.
This scenario is highly personal, and I would never advise you stay in a job that is toxic or manipulative. But I will say that our “desires” are easily affected by the same hormones that convinced me to shave off my sideburns sooooo maybe they aren’t the most helpful.
Also feel the need to add that the best time to operate at peak performance level or aim for a higher title is probably not within the first year after a baby. Food for thought.
The weight can (and will) come off later
We all want to bounce back, and I’m not saying all of us will (that’s a personal choice/commitment) but weight loss during the postpartum period is…. tricky.
Every body and every pregnancy is different. Some moms will put you to shame because they had a 6-pack after 6 weeks and others will never lose a pound and send you spinning wondering if you’ll have the same problem. But believe it or not your body will hang on to excess fat stores well into the first year. Especially if you’re breastfeeding.
People like to say that breastfeeding melts the weight off but they forget to mention that breastfeeding sends you starvation spells too! It takes a lot of calories to keep that milk bar in business.
Even if you aren’t breastfeeding, nature works in mysterious ways and will hold onto 10 extra pounds just in case*
So use this as an excuse to go easy on yourself.
With my first, I was back to my prepregnancy weight by 18 months WITH effort (and excess stress).
Don’t overdress for pediatric appointments
I’m referring to the baby here, but I guess it could work both ways! It is tempting to pull out all the stops and use any excuse to play dress up with your new little one (and all the new little clothes! 😍) but hold tight.
The first order of business at every baby appointment with a pediatrician is to strip them down to the diaper. And if you’re like me, those visits to the doctor and best spent with as few tears as possible.
every awful phase will end eventually and you’ll look back on it like a fond memory
Whether your baby is a violent puker or your linea nigra still hasn’t faded, everything is temporary. And that might break your heart.
The most common “advice” moms get is to cherish every moment, and frankly it sounds stupid. There are memes about it and how hard it is so appreciate ANY moment let alone most or “every”. It feels like we’re always chasing the next break or milestone and never taking the time to honestly cherish this time with our babies and our postpartum bodies.
There will be time to try on a new hairstyle and your babies will be old enough to comment on it, for better or worse.
There will be opportunities for dream jobs down the road, and you’ll have the capacity to truly go for it without spreading yourself between precious fleeting baby stages and being your best professional self.
There will be seasons of life when your fitness is front and center, and thank god because your kids will be busy growing into themselves as individuals too.
Whichever way you want to look at it, do not use the baby phase to delay joy. Every challenge, illness, struggle, and scare that comes with babies and the postpartum period is uniquely yours. Some issues are easily resolved and others might add a few gray hairs and take a year off your life, but the one thing I hope you take away from this is the chance to be there for it all.
To show up for this stage of life, because one day you might be that woman in the grocery store telling a young mom with baby hairs giving her the electro shock look that she should appreciate it all. And I hope you are able to say “I did”.
Ok that was lame, and also unrealistic. We’re always going to feel regret and tinges of bad motherness. It comes with the job, and from what I understand, if you aren’t worried about how well you’re doing it then you aren’t doing it right.
But I try damn hard to appreciate the frustrations of child rearing because everything really is temporary. They won’t be sucking on a pacifier at their high school graduation. They won’t be waking up all night when they’re 3 and spent the day terrorizing you. They won’t be spitting up after every meal when they’re running away from you around 18 months.
Every difficult challenge and developmental triumph will come and go before becoming part of the baby story. Ugh I love it!!
The postpartum period is temporary too
Just a reminder to get you through <3