Healing and Health in Postpartum for the New Mom.
The postpartum period is referred to as the fourth trimester for good reason, as the drastic changes your body undergoes continue after birth. Though challenging in its own ways, the postpartum transition can be just as trying if not more so than the previous three trimesters. While the hormonal and physical changes of pregnancy increase gradually with the size of your belly; the fourth trimester begins the minute delivery ends and to put it gently there’s nothing gradual about it. This is arguably one of the most vulnerable seasons of life, so the prioritization of your health in this period is something to prepare for.
Postpartum has become characterized by the emotional rollercoaster that results from the hormone regulation, sleep deprivation, and the overwhelming information overload of learning to nurse and care for a helpless baby. While these are all valid characteristics of the season, what’s often overlooked is the importance of combating these challenges with the prioritization of Moms’ health to minimize the effects.
Being set up for success in this season requires preparedness and prior planning, during the third trimester it’s important to anticipate the postpartum period and plan accordingly. Ensure that your space is ready to welcome you home and aid your physical healing upon arrival, companies such as Frida Mom
offer supplies for every step of postpartum healing. Some essentials include a Peri bottle, nipple balm, and witch hazel in some form or fashion.
While it’s impossible to perfectly gauge and predict the severity of your physical ailments following delivery, what you can predict without fail are your nutritional needs. While your suggested caloric intake increased during pregnancy, it will increase again with nursing which means preparing to have nutrient dense foods accessible is a must. Whether you plan to prepare freezer meals ahead of time or you’ll be relying on a church meal train, ensure that you’re prepared to consume foods rich in vitamins and protein. It’s also recommended to continue taking your prenatals and vitamins while nursing to ensure your body doesn’t suffer a deficit of nutrients.
Possibly the most influential tool for your postpartum health, mentally and physically is grace. Remember that your first postpartum experience will be the hardest in terms of not knowing what to expect while also learning how to nurse, manage nighttime wakes, and every other uncertainty that comes with a first born. Every postpartum season to follow will already have a foundation to build off of. So, give yourself grace and extend grace to your babe and partner as they’re both learning as well. When you’re engorged at 2 am and showering your sweet baby in milk because he’s still learning to latch, embrace grace and take a deep breath. Each day has its own challenges and victories, give yourself an abundance of grace in the valleys, and praise in each victory no matter how small. Seemingly each day, week, and month will be a new kind of hard but you’ll learn quickly that by God’s grace, He equips you to grow within the hard.