What are the most common markers of postpartum recovery? Social media inundates us with images of “perfect” postpartum bodies, bombards us with words like “bounce back,” and encourages us to lose the weight quickly. With my first baby, I went to the doctor for the usual 6 week post-delivery appointment. Despite post-birth pain I was having at the time, some lingering lactation issues, and a vague feeling on some days that I was drowning in uncertainty, I was cheerfully “cleared to return to all regular activities!” Great, I thought. Normal. What does that even mean?
Nearly 6 years after the birth of my first, I’ve learned a great deal about the importance of postpartum care for new parents--both the parent that actually gave birth and the supporting partner. That care can come in many formats, from accepting help from friends and family, to hiring a postpartum doula, to creating a plan of self-care before the birth. Bluebird Baby Company sells products designed to nourish the postpartum body and soul, but we’re also happy to share our recipes too if you find you have time on your hands and want to get creative in the kitchen.
And finally, maybe one of the most important components of the postpartum experience is managing expectations. Every experience is uniquely yours. Generally speaking, healing from pregnancy and birth takes longer than 6 weeks. It’s good to remember some other markers of recovery too, such as learning to ask for (and accept) help, understanding there will be tough days and amazing days, learning to find time for yourself--even if it’s just a few minutes. Feeling supported, connecting to others, getting enough sleep, and not expecting perfection all help contribute to a sense of well-being and make the adjustment into parenthood a little easier.