005 Pregnancy and Postpartum Survival Guide

Postpartum Essentials: Here’s what you need to know!

Motherhood encompasses so much more than most of us could imagine. Starting with the very decision to be a parent, all through the pregnancy, and finally what comes after birth. While most people try to prepare for the coming of a baby, most mothers would agree that you can’t actually be prepared enough for parenthood; there are so many postpartum essentials.

This episode looks at the entire process of motherhood, from pregnancy to post-birth; while correcting a few myths and outlining what should be done differently for the sake of the baby and the mother.

Pregnancy

Most people experience a lot of stress just from the anticipation of a pregnancy, just imagine the amount of anxiety a person who is pregnant has to deal with. Motherhood begins at pregnancy; the moment someone finds out that they are pregnant, they start being a mom.

Pregnancy comes with a lot of change; a mother’s body, mind, emotions, and even routine are all affected; and it can take quite a toll on the mother if she is not supported through the process. We therefore need to be supportive, understanding, and accommodative of pregnant women.

Doing life while creating a life simultaneously is a lot of work. That is why it is important for the mothers to be in an environment where it is possible to be pregnant. A pregnant lady should feel free to be sick, cranky, and picky without having to apologize or explain. Especially in the workplace, because we live in the working-mom era.

Pregnancy varies from person to person depending on the circumstance at hand. Some of the factors that shape one’s pregnancy experience include:

  • The type of partner
  • Whether they are working or not
  • Whether they are in school or not
  • Access to support

Pregnancy can be very uncomfortable even in the best of times; your organs and life change orientation just to make sure that the baby is okay. Pain, weight gain, weight loss, sleep disruptions, anxiety, and phobias are all things that pregnant women deal with regularly.

Everyone should learn how to respect a pregnant woman’s space, avoiding touching their bellies without asking, for example. Learn to keep your unsolicited touch and advice to yourself.

Birth

Childbirth is not only complicated but also very personal; labor and birth vary from woman to woman. Sometimes it even varies from child to child by the same woman. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation available to women. It is therefore important for women to be skeptical and picky about what they apply.

Women will often yearn to have a very personal birth experience which is why home births are increasing in popularity. However, safety remains paramount hence the clinical aspect. A woman should be allowed to speak her mind and mitigate their risk while creating an autonomous experience without dealing with unwanted opinions.

Women need to be flexible in their thinking as far as the birth plan goes, always considering their baby’s safety and their own. In case anything happens and there is a deviation in the birth plan, the mother should adapt for the sake of both herself and her baby.

Also, a woman should be in a supportive environment despite the birth plan; a support system goes a long way during the birth process. There should be open communication about the mother’s needs and beliefs.

Postpartum

This is yet another important phase of motherhood. You have had 9 months to prepare and the baby has been born; what next? That’s where the postpartum survival guide comes into play.

The mother’s hormones are usually running; the baby needs to be fed every 3 hours. Life goes on but a new person has to be included in every single plan. This segment talks about the emotional changes that mothers go through; when and why should people get concerned?

Baby Blues

As already established, emotional imbalances are an intricate part of the motherhood journey. 85% of mothers experience baby blues, and it is different from depression. Even though the body is going back to normal stress levels, some new moms will experience the following mild symptoms for about two weeks.

  • Crying spells
  • Lack of appetite
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Nervousness
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Mood swings

Postpartum depression

If the hormonal imbalances last longer than 2 weeks, then it turns to something else. Signs of postpartum depression include:

  • Scary thoughts (suicidal thoughts)
  • Extreme guilt
  • Extreme feelings of worthlessness
  • Panic attacks
  • Avoiding things
  • Nervousness
  • Leaving the baby

It should be noted that postpartum depression cases are more common for people who’ve had anxiety or mood disorders before. It is very important to get treated for such disorders as soon as they are identified.

As for family and friends, the biggest job is to breed a connective and supportive environment for new moms.

Postpartum psychosis (Medical emergency)

It is seen in 1% of moms and the symptoms include:

  • Irrational/bizarre behaviors
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Disconnection/disorientation from reality
  • Refusal to eat
  • Refusal to sleep
  • Agitation
  • Pacing
  • A quick departure from normal functioning

The role of the support system in handling emotional and mental imbalances after birth

Relatives and friends should take it upon themselves to show the mother love, care, kindness, and support. This can be achieved in the following ways

  • Being on the lookout. Assess the situation right while checking your own biases.
  • Offer practical help. Identify where your partner needs help; is it help with the baby, cleaning, or other house chores?
  • Try to create a sense of normalcy.  Restore the normalcy within their comfort zones, don’t push too much.
  • Creating a sense of community. motherhood can be quite lonely; friends should come up with creative ways to spend time with the mother while respecting the time she needs to spend with her child.
  • Ask directly about the mother’s needs and state. Mothers can be quite resourceful when it comes to their feelings and state of mind. Open communication will make it easier to know exactly what she needs.
  • Encouraging therapy and healing. Therapy will help a new mom unpack their emotions, heal, and ultimately become a better mother.
  • Being more accommodative of children. Children are not young adults; we need to create an environment where they can sort through their emotions even in public. Tantrums are normal, so is crying and being irritable. Mom’s don’t need to keep apologizing for the presence of their children.