Picture this: You've just gone through the most intense (and, inshallah and incredibly empowering!) experience of bringing your baby earth-side. You're holding your baby in your arms for the very first time. You've been dreaming of this day for a good part of the last 9 months and now it's finally here! You look into their brand new eyes, with tears in your own, and you wonder how you got so fortunate, alhamdulillah.
The realization hits: You've been chosen to Mother this new soul. This is the beginning of an incredible new chapter in your lives. The responsibility is huge, the rewards even greater.
And you ask yourself: "am i ready for this?"
"I just went through the most physically taxing experience of my life. I need time and space to heal. But the baby will be solely relying on me, for nutrition, for comfort, for love and care...how am I going to do sleepless nights when I feel so insanely exhausted already? How can I maintain my sanity when I feel like I need to recover but I'm being pulled in all directions? Is my relationship with my spouse going to be okay? Am I going to be able to set appropriate boundaries with the people around me? What even is my parenting philosophy?"
And then your nurse interrupts your thoughts and says it's time to breastfeed. She takes your baby, places them across your chest, grabs your breast and shoves it the baby's mouth- OUCH!- that first latch was not pleasant...but you're being told to bear it, because it's "normal". The entire feed is painful, and you're caught off guard by the other things your body is doing while you're attempting to breastfeed.
You realize you don't know what's normal and what isn't when it comes to breastfeeding. "Is this supposed to be this hard? Is breastfeeding even the right option for me? What are my other options? And how do I decide what's best"
The first few weeks postpartum are no joke! Thankfully more and more mothers are preparing for their birthing journeys, but the postpartum period needs to be paid attention to, as well. After all, they say that how you experience your first 40 days will set the stage for your next 40 years.
With intentional, careful preparation, learning to manage expectations and going into your birth knowing you have an unshakable plan for your postpartum recovery, your postpartum can be a sanctuary for you to come out of, stronger, self-assured and at peace.