A part of me is hesitant writing under this blog title. Maybe it's because of the bridge between what I've learned and what I desire. And quite honestly, I'm hesitant because I know the difference between luxury and necessity when it comes to postpartum. I'm not an expert in this area but I am a mother who has done a lot of reflection and grieving and that's quite sufficient.
I'm going to be very vulnerable here in saying that I've had many moments of grieving in the past 6 months or so. In preparation of our second son being born in October, I've found myself needing to heal from my postpartum story with our firstborn. These grieving moments have come when necessary and have been covered in God's grace to overcome many fears I've had. And praise the Lord, He has brought me to a much healthier and peaceful place in knowing that this time around will be much different.
Two questions I would ask any woman who is pregnant:
"What are your desires for giving birth to your baby?"
"What do you desire your postpartum story to look like?"
Now, before I go any further, friends, please hear me out. Of course, the unexpected ALWAYS happens. It's called life. Life will never meet all of our standards due to the inconsistencies that will forever surround us. However, I believe so much more in the power of envisioning our desires, writing them down, planning accordingly and holding them openly before our Creator. He has given you and I deep desires for reasons too beautiful to fully understand. And when we dismiss those desires (especially in pregnancy/postpartum), we are actually communicating with ourselves, "You're not worthy. You're not good enough." There are God-designed desires for women who are expecting and have given birth. Those desires for you and your baby are there because God put them within you. And to ignore them is to ignore your God-given discernment to what you and your baby need.
This is where I was 2 years ago when my first son was born.
Regrettably, I ignored pretty much every mama intuition for the sake of looking "strong" and trying to meet many expectations I put on myself.
So, we come to TODAY. It's quite amazing, actually, to see what God has done and I'm looking forward to what the coming months will look like in preparation for our little one being with us.
** If you're a new mama reading this or know of a friend who needs the encouragement, please pass along.
I want to go ahead, right now, and dismantle all of the assumptions to what are "luxuries" in postpartum for any mama. (During the first 1-4 weeks depending on her physical healing)
1. Meals cooked and brought to you in bed or on the couch is NOT a luxury, it is a necessity.
2. Getting a shower everyday is NOT a luxury, it is a necessity.
3. Being "off duty" from cleaning, laundry etc. is NOT a luxury, it is a necessity.
4. Being able to sleep as much as possible while baby sleeps is NOT a luxury, it is a necessity.
5. Receiving help from family and friends is NOT a luxury, it is a necessity.
I believe the primary reason why mothers struggle so much with postpartum depression and anxiety is because in the early weeks and months after baby is born, the expectations on mothers are astronomical - whether or not those are self-inflicted or come from others around them. There are other factors that attribute to postpartum depression and anxiety (hormones) but in my opinion, if a mother's needs are met, she is much more at peace and can allow her body to heal in due time while caring for her newborn baby.
With all this being said, friend, I want to now share what I am planning for and desiring for during my first 30 days postpartum this time around. It is not a list of “to do’s“ but rather the experience my heart craves as I enter into a new season of motherhood.
From the day my son is born, I desire ease and peace without my expectations overshadowing my motherly intuition. I want there to be a softness in how I think about myself, free from self-inflicted harshness that speaks, “You should be doing this or that.” I want to embrace the strength of having just given birth to my son while also embracing the weakness of my body while it heals. I desire for my mind and heart to be in alignment with the truth of who I am and whose I belong to. I will give myself permission to rest…to soak in the beautiful messes of newborn life (while also having a toddler). And I will remember that everything is a season and every season passes by…so to grow and learn in all the hardship and beauty of it all.