I wouldn't exactly describe postpartum life as "wonderful." Emotionally I was a wreck, physically I was broken, and I spent the majority of my time feeling uncertain, unsure, inexperienced, scared, worried, and exhausted. I didn't know what I was doing or what the next step should be. I was afraid to take my eyes off the baby and I was worried I would accidentally hurt her. Thankfully, however, there are some new mom moments that leave you feeling like a rock star, and hanging onto those moments allowed me to make it through the tough stuff and gain some confidence in the process. Postpartum is a strange time for the whole family. New parents are treading the waters of a huge change and both parents are figuring out how to relate to each other on a whole new level. It's a time of discovery and learning and a lot of misplaced emotions, so trust me when I say every new parent should celebrate the wins when they can.
When I had my daughter I was a legitimate mess. She was born with jaundice and the doctors said her bilirubin levels were way too high. Immediately after we came home from the hospital we were sent to the emergency room to get her levels under control. What followed were 24 hours of hell. When we finally came home for good, more "fun" ensued. My newborn daughter refused to nurse, and I couldn't figure out how to make her latch. She screamed from one morning into the next, never seeming to take a break or give her very healthy lungs a rest. My partner and I were exhausted, irritated, and completely thrown by everything that was happening. So, yes, postpartum life was definitely an adjustment.
Eventually things just fell into place, as they tend to do. My partner and I learned how to soothe our baby, I stopped trying to breastfeed and started pumping, and her jaundice dissipated. Eventually my life as a brand new, sleep deprived mom felt like the new norm, and certain moments even became worthy of celebration.
Your First Shower Postpartum
I took my first postpartum shower in the hospital. I was in so much pain and utterly exhausted and the shower felt like a rebirth and a new beginning. I felt calm and serene for the first time since I found out I was pregnant and for a brief moment, I was at complete and utter peace. To this day, when I smell the shampoo I used during my first post-baby shower I am reminded of the entire experience.
Your First Postpartum Cut & Color
I don't know what it is about cutting and coloring my hair that I love so much, but doing it after having my baby made me feel on top of the world. Coming out of that hair salon with a fresh new 'do felt like stepping into a brand new life.
Successfully Burping Your Baby
You guys, I don't know why burping a baby feels so great, but to me it was one of my greatest new mom accomplishments. The gentle pats on the back and a hearty burp were more energizing and exciting to me than an hour of sleep.
The first successful latch is one of the best, albeit rather painful, new mom moments I can remember. Realizing you are feeding your child with your own body is immensely satisfying. Considering how difficult breastfeeding was and how I failed the first time around, successfully breastfeeding was definitely a rock star moment.
Mastering Doing Everything With One Free Hand
Who knew I could do almost anything with just one free arm, right? I definitely didn't. Not until I had a baby, anyway. Then I became a one-armed prodigy. I would whip up lunch, clean a house, do laundry, and cure diseases with just one free hand.
Getting Your Baby To Sleep
Rocking your infant to sleep is an accomplishment. While newborns generally spend most of their time sleeping, my first newborn had jaundice, colic, and acid reflux, so she did not sleep all that well. It was nearly impossible to get her to sleep, but when I was successful I took a victory lap around the house.
When You Wear Real Jeans
I'm not talking about pre-pregnancy jeans, mind you. I'm referring to any jeans. You see, I love jeans. In fact, I love jeans more than I love leggings. I hated wearing maternity jeans because they constantly slid off, stretched out, and needed to be pulled up. They were uncomfortable and not at all nice. So the moment I was able to put on a pair of jeans, was the moment I felt like a human again.
Successfully Breast Pumping
I could barely produce enough milk for my daughter. Each breast was able to give her 4 oz, at most. There were times, however, when the milk gods were way more generous and I was able to pump 6-7 oz. Those times were awesome.
When You Get Some Sleep
Getting some decent sleep as a new mom is no easy task, but when it does happen you wake up feeling like you've been sleeping for a week. The kind of deep sleep that a new mom gets almost makes up for the many lost hours of rest you've undoubtably accumulated. Waking up refreshed and ready to take on another day with a newborn is definitely a rock star move.
When The Pediatrician Tells You Your Baby Is Perfect
Few things are more satisfying than a professional telling you your child is perfect and that you are doing everything right. So when I brought my baby for her first well-visit and the pediatrician was impressed with her weight and alertness, I patted myself on the back. After all, us new moms can all use a little ego boost.