Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Six Weeks: Emerging Out of Post-Partum

40 days post partum is a significant number. Many different cultures have special customs for this 40 day time period. If you don’t believe me, just ask Wikipedia. 40 days is approximately equal to the six-week-period recognized by US disability. AND my 40 days ended on my 32nd birthday this weekend. It’s odd, because I feel like this weekend I crossed over some sort of hurdle into feeling like myself again.

Things I did this weekend that made me feel human:

-Took a long, hot bath.
-Went out for an expensive birthday dinner with my husband while my sister watched Owen.
-Split an expensive bottle of wine with my husband during said dinner. This bottle of wine was the first really expensive bottle of wine we ever splurged on and when we bought it (a few years ago) we said we would drink it after I had our first baby. It was definitely worth the wait. It was also worth pumping and dumping the milk.
-Went grocery shopping by myself while Daddy watched the baby.
-Took a nap with Owen and B, snuggled in bed together.
-Took Owen to a baby shower and showed him off to friends.
-Visited friends who just had a baby and felt like I actually had good advice and wisdom to share.
-Was surprised by a small family birthday party.

Overall, I began to feel like there were other things in my life besides baby. Now, don't take this the wrong way. I’m not saying “everything is better because of the non-baby stuff.” It was a combination of being able to have some time for myself as well as continuing to feel more and more confident and happy in my role as mother. I’m also really enjoying my days home alone with Owen. We have a nice rhythm and I love being able to easily give him what he needs and keep him happy. All of this is tied up with feeling better physically in terms of recovery from labor and breastfeeding, such that I just feel so much more normal.

The bizarreness of it all is that it coincided with the 40 days period of post-partum. Almost as if the traditional 40 days really are a magic number for recovery. Because it was a recovery for me. I know that it's not always like that for everyone, but for me it was a major process. As of this week, the first part of my maternity leave (disability) ends and the second stage (family leave) starts. It really feels like the first six weeks were a disability period for me. I was kind of a mess. Now I am really looking forward to the next 12 weeks of just being with my son and enjoying my time. This morning, when Owen woke up, I pulled him into bed with me and fed him in a side-lying position (the best possible way to breast feed), and then we cuddled together in bed, half asleep. A pretty amazing way to start the next stage of maternity leave, if you ask me.

15 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you're feeling good! That is wonderful news! And happy birthday :)

    I notice you're using Honest diapers. What do you think of them?

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    1. Good question. I really wanted to use just Honest. But when he was just born (7lbs), the Newborn was just way too big. Then, when he grew into Newborn, I didn't like them because he seemed to pee out of then all the time. But, we had a bunch of size 1 Honest that were given to us, so I thought we'd try. I don't know if he's just fitting them better or what, but so far I'm liking this bigger size. Plus, they're just so cute!

      Before this we've been using Pampers Swaddlers.

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  2. It sounds like you're doing great! I can totally see what you're saying about feeling better since being able to be out and about again. You are very much "tied" to Owen right now because he is very dependent on you, but you aren't JUST a mom. Or a milk cow! Just like you aren't just a wife, friend, therapist, etc. Who you are is the sum of all those parts (minus the milk cow, obviously! ;)). You have to take care of you and nurture yourself too, so take advantage of the moments when you can focus on you.

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    1. Yes, yes, yes... Exactly! The problem is, I sometimes feel like it's become taboo to talk about yourself in terms of anything except 100% Mommy. I think it comes with good intentions, but isn't realistic for most of us.

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  3. Getting out and doing normal things again has been huge for me. We have been to a couple Mommy movies at The Grove, go out to eat and just are getting out a little more now. Tomorrow we are even meeting friends for drinks WITH the babies. Gah. All this stuff has been done with my husband, though. I am still completely intimidated by the idea of taking both girls out by myself.
    I do love to get out to the grocery store or target by myself. It feels like a vacation and I come back feeling just a little better. Soon I may even venture out for a pedicure. Now that just sounds dreamy :)

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    1. Oh I just heard about the Mommy movies at the Grove. I totally want to do that! As far as getting out with two babies, there is no way I could do that alone! I'm sure somehow you will figure it out though. I think that is the theme with twins. You figure it out because you just have to!

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  4. Sounds like you are doing great! And Owen just keeps getting cuter and cuter.

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  5. I have read a lot about the 40 day period after birth. It really is fascinating that so many cultures have the same belief that the first 40 days after birth is significant. My Romanian friend was horrified that our other friend was taking the baby out of the house before the 40 days was over! haha

    I am so glad to hear things are going well for you. Also glad to hear you were able to enjoy a nice bottle of wine and a hot bath - two of my favourite things in the world!

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  6. I LOVE side lying nursing! I'm so happy bottle feeding right now, but that is the one position that I will really miss. I'm so glad you guys are enjoying it.

    I'm also so glad you still have 12 weeks before you have to return to work! That is awesome. I'm jealous. Really soak it up, because going back is no joke. Your little man is so cute. Thanks for sharing pictures.

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  7. Ohhhh! You sound wonderful! And Owen may be the cutest boy that ever was.
    Ive never heard of the 40 days thing! Something else to add to the reading list (very little of which is actually getting read). I can't wait to side lying nurse. I actually think about it whenever I'm laying in bed at night (on my side) and I can't sleep. I think, man. There will be a little baby on that breast in a matter of months. :)

    I can't tell on my phone. Is that an adorable cloth diaper on his adorable bum? if so, I want to hear how that's going!

    Glad to hear you're emerging from the dark, my friend.

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    1. Nope, not a cloth diaper. I decided to say No to the extra work and I don't regret it at all. Ha. They are Honest brand diapers. They are adorable (lots of patterns), but jury is still out about how well they work.

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  8. Ahhhhh yes, the 6 week mark! It's a magic number for whatever reason. This happened for me as well. All of the sudden I went from a crazy/stressed/frazzled mom to a human being again. It's amazing how that happens! I'm so glad you got there too. YAY!! It seems like life gets a bit sweeter from this point on.

    I agree--sidelying position is the best!! I love those morning feeds where I'm half asleep and baby is just eating her heart out! The more rest I get, the better :)

    P.S. Happy birthday!

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  9. I'm glad you are doing so well. But woman, you don't have to pump and dump! The amount of alcohol that gets into breast milk is negligible:

    http://biologybrain-simonsays.blogspot.com/2008/12/alcohol-content-of-breast-milk.html

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    1. Thanks for the link! I know I don't have to pump and dump to get rid of the alcohol, but I had to or else my boobs would explode! Ha.

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  10. The 40 days ("la cuarentena") is definitely a thing in Mexico... when I was born (in the UK) my mom was dying to go back to Mexico, but we left precisely 40 days after I was born.
    I am not sure if I will manage to stay inside the house for so long (particularly because Dutch cultures is kind of the opposite... as soon as you are able to they recommend fresh air... over here fresh (cold) air is the cure for everything. Same goes when you are sick, they send you outside. They might have a point though... I think going out can be good for the peace of mind). Anyhow sorry for the ramble.
    Just wanted to say it made me smile to read that you are doing and feeling well, more like yourself. Owen is extremely cute, I think getting cuter by the second.
    And... belated happy birthday!

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