Postpartum Expectations Versus Reality
The postpartum period can be both exciting and overwhelming for new parents. Before the arrival of the baby, many parents have expectations of what their life will be like after the birth.
However, the reality of the postpartum period can often be very different from what they expected. From sleepless nights to unexpected physical and emotional changes, the postpartum period can be a challenging time.
In this topic, we'll explore some common postpartum expectations versus reality and offer tips on how to navigate this period as a new parent
Expectation: Many parents believe that they will immediately bond with their baby when they see them for the first time.
Reality: Bonding takes time. It's a process that happens over the first few weeks and months of being a parent. Sometimes, new parents might not feel an instant bond, and that's okay!
Attachment is a two-way street, and it takes time for both you and your baby to get to know each other. Skin-to-skin contact right after birth is great for bonding, but if you miss out on that, it doesn't mean your relationship with your baby is doomed. Just give it time, and focus on making your baby feel safe, loved, and cared for.
Attachment happens naturally over time, and it's different for everyone. So don't stress if you don't feel an instant connection with your baby. It will come!
Expectation: Once I deliver my baby, my body will go back to its pre-pregnancy state, and I will feel like myself again.
Reality: After giving birth, many women are surprised by how their body looks and feels. It's normal for your belly to still look swollen, and you may need to wear loose clothing or maternity clothes for a while.
You might also have swollen hands, legs, and feet from the fluids given to you during labor. It takes time for your body to heal and go back to its normal state, so don't expect to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes right away.
Postpartum bleeding, or lochia, is also common and can last up to four weeks. You'll need to wear large pads or diapers during this time, and make sure not to overexert yourself to prevent excessive bleeding. It's also normal to experience soreness in your body, including your breasts as your milk comes in.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you're experiencing a lot of pain, and they can recommend ways to help you feel more comfortable.
Remember that you just did something incredible by giving birth to a new life, so be patient with yourself and give your body time to recover.
Expectation: I can handle being tired since I'm already used to it. Plus, when the baby naps, I'll catch some z's too!
Reality: Let's face it, every parent expects to be tired after their baby is born. But being a new parent can take exhaustion to a whole new level.
On average, new parents get less than 6 hours of sleep each night, and it's usually interrupted by frequent wake-ups. This lack of sleep can cause problems such as marital stress, anxiety, breastfeeding issues, postpartum depression, illness, car accidents, and even overweight babies and mothers.
In the first few months, you may have to prioritize and let some things slide, like leaving the house untidy or ordering takeout instead of cooking. It's important to avoid burnout, which can negatively affect your parenting.
Many parents feel pressured to do everything perfectly, which can lead to exhaustion and mistakes. Don't fall into this trap!
Seek help if you feel overwhelmed or exhausted, and don't wait until you reach your breaking point. Reach out to health and child services professionals and be honest about how you feel. The more parents ask for help, the more normalized it will become.
Expectation: We got this! Me and my partner are responsible adults who can handle anything that comes our way, and we don't need any extra help.
Reality: In the past, people used to raise children together as a community, with grandmas, aunties, cousins, and other relatives taking turns to care for the baby.
But now, many modern parents feel like they have to do it all alone, which can be overwhelming and lead to exhaustion.
Research has shown that it's important to remember your identity as an individual and balance your own needs with those of your child. It's impossible to do everything perfectly all the time, so it's okay to prioritize and make time for self-care.
Your baby's needs are simpler than you might think: they need to eat, sleep, and calm their crying. Try to plan some time for yourself and your partner, even if it's just a stay-at-home date.
By taking care of yourself, you'll be better equipped to take care of your baby.
It's totally normal to have high expectations for the postpartum period, but let's be real, the reality can be a whole lot different. Don't beat yourself up if things don't go as planned, new parenthood is a challenging time for everyone.
So cut yourself some slack, moms and dads, and remember that you can handle whatever comes your way!
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