I don't know about you, but physical recovery has always been difficult for me. I overdo things when I'm sick, which usually backfires and makes things much worse than they would've been if I just listened to my body and slowed down. I have risked re-injury to get a run in on broken toes, all because I needed an endorphin fix. Yeah, it's that bad. However, nothing is as difficult as trying to rest so my body can recover from pregnancy and childbirth. There are so many things my body was trying to tell me postpartum, too. I just wasn't really up for listening.
Guys, we spend a lot of time talking about what a baby needs during the fourth trimester, and almost no time talking about what the person who birthed the baby needs to fully recover from growing a human in their freaking body. Things like slowing down, getting some rest, and for goodness sake, eating something. Plus, it's more than worth mentioning how important it is to take care your postpartum vagina, and how to make your first postpartum poop more bearable. Then there's the things that we really don't talk about at all, like how breastfeeding can hurt and you might feel really depressed and anxious after you have a baby. These one's are really hard, because your brain can lie to you, too, and essentially convince you you're doing well when you're really not.
I learned so much about how to take care of my postpartum self when I eventually started listening to what my body was (and still is) trying to tell me. Usually, my body would say something along the lines of, "Take care of yourself. You are someone's mother now. They need you to be well, and so do you." So, with that in mind, here are a few of the things my postpartum body has been trying to tell me.
"You know that pain and fatigue and bleeding and soreness you are experiencing? It's me, you know, your body, trying to tell you to slow the hell down. Seriously, listen to me. Don't listen to your friends or fitness magazines when it comes to what what you should be doing. Recovery from growing a freaking human is not 'one-size-fits-all.' We need time to recover if we want to be able to be even more badass in a few weeks. Your workout can wait."
"You Need To Eat Something"
"Hey, I'm starting to feel dizzy and weak. When was the last time you ate something? You need your strength to be an awesome mom. Go have a sandwich or something."
"Get Some Sleep"
"I'm not sure what's happening but, um, why aren't you sleeping? I need sleep. Seriously. Just an hour, please."
"Ouch, Don't Do That"
"Between hunching over to feed the baby, changing his diaper, picking him up, and putting a ton of weight on your wrists, arms and shoulders carrying him around, you are seriously hurting me. If you don't want me permanently injured, take care of me, please."
"Eat More Fiber"
"Your ass will thank you. Please have some fiber, some coffee, and a stool softener or laxative before you even think about pooping. Trust me."
"Seriously, postpartum sex will be way better if you use lube. Buy a couple of options and try them out to see what works. Let's try for more orgasms and less pain, OK?"
"The Baby Needs To Eat, Now!"
"If you don't feed him soon I'm going to explode. Literally. Plus, I'm sure you don't want to change your shirt again, right? So yeah, you better hurry because I can hear him crying.
Dammit, too late."
"You Need To Pee"
"Seriously, if there's even the slightest inclination that you need to pee, you'd better go pee. If you don't, I promise you I'll leak, and probably at the most inopportune moment. Neither of us want that."
"You'd Look Great Bald"
"Remember that beautiful head of hair you had during pregnancy? Yep, I'm making like Elsa and letting it go. I'm sorry if it freaks you out in the shower or when you are brushing your hair. I can't help it. It's normal."
"You Don't Really Like Jeans, Anyway"
"Jeans are overrated and leggings are life. There, I said it. At least give me a few months before you try to squeeze me into pre-pregnancy jeans. It may not work, and I don't want you to feel bad about yourself after growing and birthing a tiny human."
"I'm So Sad"
"I don't feel good. I'm seriously sad, breastfeeding hurts, I'm so tired, and I can't make us get out of bed. Plus, even though I can't get out of bed, I can't sleep when I'm in this damn bed. We need some help, and that's OK. It's time to make a call, for us, because we can so rock parenthood with a little support."
"It's Snuggle Time"
"I'm feeling a ton of hormones course through me, and a sole crushing emptiness when I'm not touching that baby or gazing at his sleeping face. Can you take a break from trying to do too much and give him a snuggle? I'll reward you with some happy love hormones in return. Awwww, yes."