Banner photo by the amazing Katie Jett Walls 

I had the honor of supporting Corinne for the births of her son and daughter, and their subsequent postpartum periods.  Corinne and I both feel that women are unaware of just how much support they will need after baby arrives and that our culture expects women to quickly return to doing all.the.things.  My intention for this post is for mamas to begin to think about how they can best support themselves during and after pregnancy.  Corinne had two radically different experiences, but as she says in her own words, ” I felt so supported, empowered, and dignified due to the team of midwives, my doula, the nurses, and (of course) my husband.”

I asked her to weigh in about her experiences in her postpartum time.

 

:: Briefly share your story.

I am a mother of two who were born at the Midwifery Services at the George
Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. My son came into the world
in a very long, complicated birth in 2015. My daughter flew into my arms less
than two hours after arriving at the hospital in 2017. While both births were so
different in nature – my son’s birth was medicated due to preeclampsia HELP
and other complications and my daughter’s birth was unmedicated, they were
similar in that I felt so supported, empowered, and dignified due to the team
of midwives, my doula, the nurses, and (of course) my husband.

:: Tell us a little bit about your postpartum experience.

I was grateful to have you to support me as my doula and postpartum doula. As
a postpartum doula, you assessed my individual needs that varied from day-to-
day. A typical day could include grocery shopping, cooking meals, washing
dishes, folding laundry, snuggling my baby, answering my many questions about
everything from breastfeeding to baby care, and making me smile and laugh
about this journey called motherhood.

:: What was the biggest struggle in your postpartum journey?

There are a lot of challenges during postpartum including navigating the physical
changes in my body and fatigue. But the two biggest struggles were managing
my high energy two-year-old around the newborn especially during the winter
months. Both of my babies were born during the winter holiday season which is
my least favorite time of year. In addition to the holiday stress, it was difficult to
have to stay inside for days at a time due to the weather. I feel best when I’m
active and outside and not being able to got out is a struggle for me even without a
newborn. Having postpartum support certainly helps navigate these struggles!

:: In what ways did you support yourself during your postpartum?

Taking a bath every night for the first few weeks. Having a glass of wine. Hiring a
postpartum doula, brief nighttime support, and meal delivery.

:: What surprised you the most (physically, emotionally, spiritually) after baby’s arrival?

After giving birth which was the most difficult and painful thing I’ve ever done in
my life, I now feel like superwoman and that there is nothing I can’t do. While
my body is still recovering from pregnancy and birth, I feel emotionally strong
and powerful after accomplishing such a feat as bringing two little souls into the
world.

:: Is there anything you would do differently if you had another baby?

Absolutely nothing!

:: If you could share some advice with a friend about what they need to do during their postpartum experience, what would it be? What do you feel is MOST important that mamas should know?

Support will make or break how you remember your postpartum experience.
After coming home from the hospital I felt elated, overwhelmed, and exhausted.
If you’re lucky enough to have family members who will help you in the way that
YOU need, that is wonderful. But in place of, or in addition to family members, a
postpartum doula who is there to support your individual needs can build a solid
foundation on which you build your motherhood journey.
While people typically focus on the baby, someone needs to just be focused on you and
your recovery. What worked well for us was to have family meet the baby for a very
short stay (2-3 nights) then return a month or two later for a longer visit.

:: In one sentence describe what motherhood means to you.
Motherhood is a dichotomy of feeling the fulfillment of falling in love everyday with
these little people while simultaneously feeling like I must be doing something wrong in
their childcare!

If you need help preparing for your postpartum period, join me on Feb 24th for Nurturing New Moms: Planning for a Successful Postpartum Period.  You’ll leave with a better understanding of why the postpartum period is so important, what pillars of support you need to thrive, recipes and nutrition information, and with a solid postpartum sanctuary plan in place.

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