Is it right to tell pregnant women the whole truth about the first few weeks after birth?
I have to say that I am not sure what the answer is. I had a friend who gave birth two months before I did and when I saw her right before I gave birth, I questioned her on the birth, the breastfeeding and the pain.
She was very vague, all she would tell me was that it was indeed painful, that I would know when I went into labour (I told her that I was worried I would not recognize labour pains), that I should make sure that I slept as much as possible and that breastfeeding takes commitment.
There is no doubt that her answers were right on the money I felt that she should have given me more information. Though I wonder whether I would have really listened, many times one thinks in the back of your head that it will be different for them. It sure was not.
So if there are any pregnant women who by some chance are reading this post here are my two cents:
- Labour will be what it will be, you may be one of the lucky ones who has bearable pain or be like me who had pain that required medication. I think that if I can say anything on this is to have a plan before you go into labour about your comfort level with medication and communicate this to your doctor and partner.
- The first couple of nights will be extremely tiring, the baby will be feeding what feels like all the time in order to help the milk come down.
- No matter what kind of labour you have you will be very sore and in pain. Take care of yourself and don't worry as things will get better with time.
- Breastfeeding may not come 'naturally', at least it did not for me. I had the help of my doula and the nurse from the hospital. Please ask for help if you feel unsure, this is so important.
- Have the baby close to you at all times. I find that it is great when you have a baby sling and have the baby sleep next to you because this way you don't have to travel far to get to them.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps, no matter what is happening.
- You will be emotional for a few weeks after the birth and should not feel guilty for any of the emotions that you may experience. It is important to talk to our partner about any feelings that you may be having.
- If you can or want, have a birth doula. The reason why I recommend a doula is because with the cut backs in our medical system, the doctors and nurses are not always available to answer questions or concerns quickly. Also a doula will stay with you after the birth and make sure that you are breastfeeding well, that you yourself are feeling okay and will answer any questions that you may have. During the labour they will be a familiar person besides your partner whom you can rely on. They will also stop by a couple of weeks afterwards to check up on you and the baby.
- Go for nice walks with the baby as soon as you can. I found it so relaxing to take Isa out for walks soon after she was born. We both got fresh air and I got some low impact exercise.
I guess that that was more then two cents worth of 'advice'. Take what you like and ignore the rest. If you would like to share any other please leave a comment.