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No one should ever have to keep an emergency mind-set for weeks on end, but that is often that is how postpartum can feel. Some days are exhausting beyond belief, and other times you feel unstoppable— this duality is your new reality. It’s going to feel a little up and down for a while, let us help you not feel entirely alone along the way.
We started Anya to free women from the pressure of ‘bouncing back’. Just as you took 9 months to grow this human, it takes at least 12 months on the other side to fully recover from birthing one. Your body just did one of the most insane things it is capable of doing, it went beyond what you could ever imagine it could do. It’s probably easy to look back on your old life and wonder why you chose to have a baby when you’re too terrified to pee, poop or even look at what’s going on down there. You’re in awe that your body made a home for this tiny human for 9 months, and probably feeling a little anxious about how you’re going to keep it alive. Everything is unfamiliar, and you’re learning something new about your ever-expanding capacity to grow and adapt to this new season of life.
This is something that women all over the world do every single day and that’s mind-boggling to think about. You might be wondering how all these women before you recovered on the fly, whilst suffering from sleep deprivation? How they juggled understanding what this new baby needs, with understanding your own needs. How they had time to do basic things like shower, and wash dishes, and take a walk around the block for fresh air.
While motherhood is exciting, exhilarating and ever expanding, it can also be lonely, depleting and isolating for so many women. No one experience is the same, and while motherhood is universal, the experiences, thoughts and feelings that encompass motherhood are varied.
Motherhood can sometimes be recovering from physical trauma whilst welcoming visitors and putting on a smile. It can be staying in bed for a month trying to work out this breast-feeding thing. It is feeling so fragile someone could blow you right over. It is almost always deliriously laughing at your boobs leaking, and trying to remember if you closed the fridge door. It is the anxiety that you’re doing everything wrong, but learning to take your own advice and trust your gut instincts. It is looking at that baby and remembering YOU did that. It is a running list of open tabs in your brain. It is often forgetting the one thing you came to the store for. It is the combined anxieties of every parent that has ever lived before you, and still wondering how in the world no one told you this is what it would feel like.
Should I be swaddling? Am I going to be ok as a single parent? Why does breastfeeding feel harder than labor? Will I ever leave the bed? When can I drink coffee, and how much? Should I use this formula or that formula? Is my pelvic floor broken? Will my boobs ever stop leaking? Why am I still bleeding? How long before I can poop again? I made it to month four, and the baby is still not sleeping! Where should they sleep? When will I sleep? Will I ever sleep the way I used to?
If you made it this far, we’re here to tell you that anyone who has made you feel bad or unprepared going into recovery isn’t doing you any favors. That lady on the internet isn’t in your house, she hasn’t had your day, and she certainly hasn’t been in your body. We’re giving you permission to take a break from all that noise and understand that recovering from a baby takes some extra TLC and most of all it takes time.