Lots of couples take a Babymoon during pregnancy to enjoy one last vacation before Baby arrives. Feet up, no chores, relaxation, and maybe even a prenatal massage. It’s easy to think of a weekend getaway as a vacation. But did you ever think of the first weeks of your infant’s life as a vacation, too? Maybe it’s easier for me to think of it this way with a toddler in the house. I made the mistake of not resting enough my first time around, so I made a bigger effort to get the house prepped and my husband and some helpers on board to get through the first two weeks. Now, it’s drawing to a close and I know how much of a difference it made for everyone.
After my first pregnancy, I really struggled with my recovery because I didn’t feel that bad. I felt better than I thought I would after giving birth and truly empowered by the experience of a natural, non-medicated delivery. I started walking right away, not realizing the strain my body was going through trying to heal. In fact, it felt better to walk than to sit because of my episiotomy, so I figured I was just making progress toward getting better. Since Hannah was early I didn’t have as much time to prepare the house. We were the lucky recipients of a handful of meals to get us through, but I found myself in the kitchen more often than not because I didn’t have easily available snacks. Plus, I was so burnt out from the breast feeding/pumping/supplementing round-the-clock baby meals that I welcomed any help with those to give my weak arms and back a rest. Apparently the Lindsay Brin prenatal exercise series was helpful in developing arm strength, but no match for holding a 5 pound 13 oz infant all day. (Yes, my triceps were that sad.) So I sucked it up and plugged through 8 long weeks before I ultimately started to feel “normal.” I battled serious nursing issues and concerns with milk supply, not to mention the up and downs from the hormones. On top of that, I struggled with dreams that I couldn’t find the baby who was sleeping merely feet away. Plus, I regularly missed her kicks and the closeness we shared during the pregnancy. I could have chocked all this up to mild PPD and done everything the same this time around, but I changed the whole plan instead.
Having a second baby is absolute Heaven. We spend hours in bed together getting to know each other and developing a comfort level. I’m memorizing her face and her coos and the little expressions she makes. When she opens her eyes, I share her excitement at learning about her surroundings. I tell her everything I’m doing and make gentle oooos and aaahhhhs when she’s really alert. She’s nursing really well, sleeping great, and I am making so much milk. Everything baby-related feels like a huge success. The only hard part is the Older Sibling Blues. Since Hannah is just 14 months and barely walking, her care is generally beyond my capabilities right now. Of course I’m excited that she has a sister and I know in the long run she’ll forgive me for these weeks in bed. I just can’t wait to get through the post-partum stage and back on my feet with my girls!
It hasn’t been easy to stay put, but it’s made a huge difference. I’ve walked past the dirty dishes in favor of sitting on the couch nursing while Hannah plays in the room. I’m not worried that the laundry doesn’t get folded the way I do it or that my husband throws bras in the dryer. Maybe they make nursing bras so ugly so that you don’t mind if they get ruined by others who help around the house. I know I have a big job ahead of me with two little girls, but I’m ready for it. All it took was a little rest to get there.
Thank you to all my friends and family who’ve extended a hand or a kind word to help us and especially my husband, who has fought me kicking and screaming on this but somehow managed to wrangle our family and keep the house from burning down.