My little baby girl is already 4 weeks old and doing well. Everyone always talks about giving birth, contractions etc. but the “after party” is pretty much ignored. I am looking back on the past few weeks and sharing my highlights, but also the “not so fun” stuff. It might not be pretty but it is the cold hard truth. For mommies the journey does not end when a Mini arrives. There is a little more to it than that.
THE PINK CLOUD
I did not expect a pink cloud and I also did not really experience one (side note: maybe I am just too “Dutch” to acknowledge it). However, your baby staring into your eyes is the best feeling in the whole world. Lois did it on day 2. I held her head close to mine and she just stared at me. The expression on her face, her tiny eyes: an absolute highlight. Also now, I love it when she looks at me when we are cuddling or resting together. Hands down, the best moment after giving birth.
THE NOT SO COOL LIST
People do not talk about the aftermath of giving birth a lot. Maybe because (A) they do not want to scare women (or men for that matter) or (B) they are emberrassed (I am definitely not fond of sharing the stories in detail, so I am going to keep it a little bit decent) or (C) they forget about it (pregnancy dementia and all). Anyway, the aftermath is not cool. Here it goes:
- It is true: I really did not feel it when they made a small cut while giving birth. However, in the next few days, I did get to experience the “joy” of the stitches. I took Paracetamol, lots of it. And I still cannot sit properly on hard chairs for a long time. It gets better every day. Just hold on to that.
- It is perfectly normal to feel anxiety because of the responsibility you gained. I did not sleep for the first 2 nights because I was checking her breath every 5 minutes. That too gets better after a few days and I now only check a couple times per night how she is doing (and yes that is still normal).
- Going to the bathroom provides a challenge. It does not mix well with the stitches so you are going to have to use the shower for several weeks. Especially for baby daddy it is not very nice but it is necessary. Just ask your mom or sister to clean the shower every day.
- I won’t even start to talk about other bathroom challenges. Talk to your doctor if you keep on having problems. I had to get medication. It was painful. That is all I want to say about it.
- Before I met baby daddy, I always had the illusion that certain things would remain private in order to keep the attraction alive. After giving birth, all will be lost. My absolute low: when he walked in on me “airing out” my stitches. Apparently wounds heal better in fresh air. That means you are required to lie on your bed with your legs wide without pants for a few hours every day. We can both laugh about it now but I still feel mortified about all the embarrassing moments in the last weeks (there were so many).
- There is a lot of blood loss after giving birth. It lasts weeks (yes that is correct: weeks not days).
- Another thing that lasts weeks (more likely months, but I am not yet ready to acknowledge that): the baby bump. I now look like I am in my first trimester and I did not gain that much weight during the pregnancy. The bump apparently needs time to get back in shape. This is fine after your first week but after 3 weeks you get annoyed. Yesterday I managed to finally squeeze myself into one of my high waist skirts. I could not walk in it or breath properly but it is progress.
I think that was enough sharing for now. Let’s move on to the best moments because next to the “not so cool” moments there are also many highlights. Here is my top 10.
- The Mini staring into your eyes as described above: my absolute favourite moment.
- Your first glass of wine: a drink has never tasted so good.
- The cuddling in the morning: I love it when she falls asleep on my chest or lies next to me in the bed. Our bed has never looked so big before.
- When you finally get to use those “baby milestones cards”. Of course I missed the first milestones (1 day and 1 week old being stuck in the bed and all) but we did do a photoshoot when she was 2 weeks old. It was so much fun.
- On that note: your first update on Facebook showing off all those adorable pictures. When some of my friends had babies, all their updates involved their Mini. I vowed that I would never do that. So I try to behave and not post too many pictures of her. That is why it was quite a big deal when I did share some highlights. I felt proud. And it helped that I got 100+ likes.
- The fact that you and baby daddy are genuinely happy when the Mini manages to pull off little accomplishments. Like burping after her bottle, sleeping for more than 6 hours in a row, not screaming all through your evening meal and other random stuff like that. I never thought such little things could bring such joy.
- The first time you get to wear real clothes again. A pyjama gets really boring, really quickly. You almost feels like a person again.
- The first time she gets to wear that adorable outfit. You always imagined it would look cute but it almost always exceeds expectations.
- Your first outings: to the grocery store, the ice cream place on the corner (yes there is one) or into town. It does not matter where you go, it is so good to be out of the house. Even the grocery story felt like an amusement park to me. On that note another highlight: our first date night. Me and baby daddy went out to diner last week. This combined several highlights mentioned in the list: I got to leave the house, wear real clothes and we had time to gush over all her little accomplishments so far.
- Recovering from the “not so cool” list. The first time I showered by myself (and felt good), sitting down on a chair and the first walk without experiencing too much pain, preparing food for yourself: it is the little things that count.
It seems like so much time has passed already. Drop me a line if you would like to share your highlights or add to the “not so cool” list.