Postpartum, this huge word which designates an after, incredibly enveloping, almost heavy and far too often frightening, postpartum includes many stages and trials that mothers have no other choice but to accept. From projections to tangible realities, from hypervigilance to exhaustion, and from turbulence to surpassing oneself: the challenges of postpartum, a short definition.
- The reality of postpartum: a period of great upheaval
- The physiological postpartum
- Surround yourself and rest after childbirth: experience the Golden Month
- Preparing for the challenges of postpartum, a new truth to understand
The reality of postpartum: a period of great upheaval
The postpartum period — or after childbirth — has a reality of its own. While your body needs rest more than ever and, as a woman and new mother, you are looking for your new compass , life now demands total attention for your newborn. Where you expected cloudless happiness, there is, in reality, a certain adversity.
A sometimes intense gap between dreams of motherhood and realities
The first reality of postpartum is before postpartum. It's childbirth. Rushed birth or unplanned cesarean section , women who experience a traumatic childbirth are between 15 and 20% each year , some of whom will have psychological and/or physical after-effects likely to complicate the postpartum period in particular.
Hypervigilance of mothers is another potential consequence linked to entry into the postpartum period. It manifests itself in different ways, including constant fear for the baby's health, frequent insomnia and disturbances in mood, concentration or appetite, which can lead to exhaustion.
The baby clash is another postpartum challenge which, this time, does not only concern mothers, but more broadly, the couple. It happens that the birth of a child, the fatigue and stress that accompany this incredible upheaval, leads to tensions in the couple, arguments and sometimes even separations. To avoid or overcome the baby clash , it is essential to show kindness and make time for yourself.
More profound, postpartum depression is another danger of the postpartum period. It generally manifests itself as great sadness, significant fatigue, sudden crying and a feeling of not being able to properly care for your child. In the most severe cases, a lack of interest in family life and dark thoughts appear, but postpartum depression can also be silent.
If, like most postpartum challenges, maternal regret remains a taboo subject, it is one of the challenges that young mothers sometimes face, a few months after the birth of their child. Maternal regret is a feeling that is both intimate and complex, difficult to express. Mothers who experience it explain that they love their child, but regret having become mothers, in the sense that this role seems too heavy, too cumbersome and too permanent.
Maternal exhaustion , or maternal burnout, can occur at any time, but particularly concerns mothers of young children. Deeper than the baby blues, it is an additional risk for mothers who feel overwhelmed by the physical and mental load linked to parenthood.
The physiological postpartum
Because we are not born a mother, but we learn to become one, matresence should be a concept known to everyone. Identified in the 1970s and popularized very recently, matrescence is a concept that encompasses all of the physical and psychological changes encountered by women when they give birth. Among the challenges of postpartum, there is, in fact, that of learning to recognize oneself, in particular, through a new body.
Because menstruation is not fun for any of us, postpartum bleeding (also called lochia) should be anticipated with the greatest calm. When you leave the maternity ward you receive protection specially adapted for the first days, which can be replaced by sanitary napkins or menstrual panties after a while. However, expect the discomfort to last for about a month.
Rebirth is another period of heavy bleeding after the birth of a child. At least 45 days after giving birth, but up to several months later if you are breastfeeding your baby , your first postpartum period begins. They are a sign that you can get pregnant again and that it is time to look into the (recurring) issue of contraception.
After giving birth, young mothers also have to deal with a new body. More tired and less toned – at least for a while – this body is entirely turned towards the stomach. A postpartum belly whose skin is generally relaxed or even distended, and often marked with stretch marks. But above all an empty stomach since the birth of your baby. Massages with vegetable oils, but also abdominal re-education (to be practiced after perineum re-education) and above all kindness towards yourself , will help you tame it.
Resumption of sexual activity is another major postpartum stage for which women (and men) are often poorly or poorly prepared. Discomfort, discomfort, vaginal dryness, even pain or apprehension, the torrid nights are far away. Besides, you may go several weeks without making love and that's okay. But it is important that you know this, especially so that you can talk about it in advance, with your partner .
Maternal exhaustion , hypervigilance, baby clash... The challenges of postpartum are numerous, sometimes difficult to recognize and all the more complex to soothe or treat. To best prevent these ills, the most ancestral civilizations devoted 40 days after the birth of a child to the mother's care. This period of extreme kindness and maternal reconstruction still bears the pretty name “Golden Month” today.
Surround yourself and rest after childbirth: experience the Golden Month
The Golden Month, this postnatal period lasting 40 days , has its origins more than 2,000 years ago, in China. However, we find traces of it in stories from the Maghreb, India and, more and more frequently, the West.
The idea behind this ancestral practice? Offer a period of recovery to the mother , both physically and morally, and help her come to terms with her new condition. Valuing the mother-to-be through attentive listening, kindness, patience and appropriate care.
Rest is the key to everything! Take as much time as possible to relax and unwind, every day. Enjoy special moments with your newborn, enjoy the benefits of skin to skin, immerse yourself in their first glances, breathe in their scent... Create your timeless bubble and leave everything else aside. In addition to cuddles, add a good dose of massage and lots of warmth, provided in particular by a rich diet based on hot dishes and golden spices which will help you regenerate your body and mind from the inside out.
Preparing for the challenges of postpartum, a new truth to understand
The more society lifts the postpartum taboos and the more it recognizes the complexity of this period as well as the fragilities it creates, the better mothers will be able to experience it and get through it. There is no doubt that dialogue, training, learning and listening before, during and after pregnancy promote a smoother transition from womanhood to motherhood .
It is also essential that mothers never hesitate again to share their experience of motherhood as they live it, as they feel it, in parallel with their own story and their own experiences. Communicate with the person who shares your life, with your family, with your friends, with maternity professionals, your doula or the PMI… Never doubt that there is a solution to meet your needs and help you overcome a to one, the challenges of postpartum.