So you just had a baby. You’re wherever you gave birth: at the hospital, in the hospital parking lot ( it happens !! ), at home, etc. After a few hours, maybe a day, maybe a couple days, whoever your caretakers are ( nurses, midwives, ob gyns – obstetricians and gynecologists ) just send you off into the world with a baby.
Did anyone else think this was wild? Like, I’m just getting a baby, going home & am all the sudden thrown into this thing called motherhood? Not only that, little did I know that my hormones would be all out of whack which would make losing my pregnancy weight that much harder to lose, then sprinkle in some anxiety & you have an experience I just wasn’t prepared for.
For me personally, I didn’t know much about pregnancy or having a baby when I got pregnant. & I also didn’t really care to research it or read about it. I just wanted to go with the flow & figure stuff out on my own.
Luckily I had an amazing pregnancy, but I really didn’t anticipate how hard the aftermath would be. In a recent episode of The Skinny Confidential HIM & HER podcast, Dr. Alyssa Berlin talked all about what to expect after having a baby and gave loads of advice on how to handle it better healthily with your partner.
Dr. Berlin is a clinical psychologist specializing in pregnancy, postpartum & parenting, so she’s definitely an expert who knows her shit. You also might remember that her husband Dr. Elliot Berlin was on the podcast talking all about fertility & labor a few months ago.
The episode ends up being a bit of a therapy session for me & Michael, but it’s a really good listen if you’re about to have a baby or thinking of having a baby one day. Michael also thinks it’s super helpful to have your men or partners listen to this too, so they can understand the ins & outs of postpartum a little better.
You should know that I get very emotional in this episode & go over some of the issues I’ve had postpartum. It’s been a really difficult time for me & I’m still in it.
Anyways, this episode is such a good one, & you should definitely listen, but I wanted to round up the top tips for the blog too because I know I’m not the only one who is having difficulty postpartum.
The Skinny Confidential Postpartum Tips:
♡ Any woman who has had a baby is in the postpartum period. That’s it. Whether it’s hard or easy, you are postpartum if you’ve just had a baby. It’s a natural, normal phase of life that needs to be accepted.
Women are sometimes expected to just be off & running after having a baby, but that’s just not the case. Dr. Berlin compares this to any big life change- there’s an adjustment period – a postpartum care period. It’s good to take your time during this stage. Weeks postpartum generally takes 6-8 weeks and it is a time that requires a lot of care for your baby and yourself. There are a lot of ways to work around that and with Dr. Berlin, she makes it easier since she lays it out flat and takes the time to better help us understand what to do during and after.
Being in labor (specifically giving vaginal birth), can take a lot of time since you’re pushing yourself to push the baby out. After 12 or so hours you have a baby on your hands and you think the hard part is done but postpartum comes in and crashes everything.
♡ During your postpartum recovery period, it’s totally normal to not feel like yourself, have the baby blues, be in a total fog, not feel connected to what you’re doing, feeling sad or hopeless & having scary or intrusive thoughts ( this is called Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder ).
YES it’s normal, but it also doesn’t have to be that way. Experiencing mood swings, sleep deprivation, and anxiety throughout (this is called “Postpartum depression”) can seem like forever and people often feel stuck & think this is just how I am now, but there are so many good options to get help. The good thing about PMADS is that it responds very well to treatment like EMDR & somatic experiencing therapy.
♡ It’s normal to experience sore nipples during your first time breastfeeding! Relieving sore nipples definitely improved as the days went on. Make sure that the baby is latched on properly while breastfeeding and try different positions to suit your liking.
♡ Make sure to talk to your doctor if you’re worried about possibly getting postpartum bleeding ( when a woman experiences heavy bleeding after giving birth), it is a rare case but it is serious. It consumes more than one sanitary pad because of the heavy bleeding. However, if you experience vaginal bleeding during early pregnancy, its normal!
♡ If you’ve had a baby & it triggered trauma, Dr. Berlin said that’s very normal. Just like any other major life event, having a baby can bring up things that you didn’t know were there. We discuss it in the podcast episode, but for me, having a daughter really brought up a lot of feelings about my mom passing away when I was 18.
♡ The relationship you have with your partner should remain on a different tier than the one you both have with your child. Babies tend to take all the attention but Dr. Berlin shares some good tips for keeping your relationship in check. She talks about things like scheduling sex, talking time, & having family meetings almost like you would have a staff meeting at the office.
♡ Having a baby in your life changes everything because you need to fix your schedule around to fit with the baby’s needs but your partner is not gonna be there at all times to do all of that. Talking with your partner not only makes you see eye to eye but it strengthens your bond as parents and improves how you both work together to better adjust each other’s needs and the baby’s. Dr. Berlin talks more about this during the episode!
♡ To round it out, the most important thing about this episode is that you don’t have to feel like this forever. And you don’t have to feel like this with your 2nd or 3rd kids either. There are treatment options available & Dr. Berlin even launched her own course called The AfterBirth Plan Workshop to help people prep for postpartum. Getting hit in the face with it is no fun, but when you’re a bit more prepared & know what to expect, it can make all the difference.
As I said, this episode ended up being a bit of a therapy session for me & Michael, HA! I mean, things aren’t perfect, but we’re both willing to work on ourselves to try to get there.
Be sure to listen to the episode if you’ve just had a baby or are about to. It’s a really comforting podcast & Dr. Berlin uses so many amazing analogies that really put the whole postpartum experience into perspective. PLUS, relationship tips! LOL.
Have any of you experienced anything postpartum? Depression, weird feelings, OCD, fearful thoughts, insane worrying, and other mental health worries? Would love to hear everyone else’s experiences below.
+ if you’re interested in fertility be sure to listen to Dr. Elliot Berlin’s podcast episode.
++ check out my pregnancy weight gain story here.