In part two with Savannah Walsh, we explore postpartum care from the mom of 5 (soon to be six!). Savannah didn’t set out to have so many children, but now can’t imagine her life without her small army of kids. If you didn’t catch the first interview, be sure to check it out here!
As a postpartum expert, what do you wish you knew before giving birth to your first child and what have you learned through your postpartum experiences since then?
Every postpartum journey is such a wild and different ride that I am truly still learning every time! That said, here’s a few pointers I can share:
- not only is every day different but every hour can be different too and that's OKAY. It is completely normal to feel all over the place emotionally and have the most ridiculous things set you off in either direction!
- sometimes your bond with your baby takes a bit to come in and that is also okay and totally normal. It isn't always this instantaneous, deeper than life connection. Remember, motherhood is both a journey and a relationship, and some relationships take longer than others to develop. Give it time!
- you can talk about your birth as much or as little as you want to. This one can be a really big one! I feel like it goes one of two ways, either people don't stop asking about your birth or no one wants to talk to you about it. If you don't want to talk about your birth, establish that boundary with the people around you. Birth of any kind is an emotional and deeply personal journey. If you don't want to or don’t have the capacity to share that with others, that is beyond your right. On the other hand, a lot of people (myself included) love talking about their births. If that is you, find yourself a close friend or family member who is good at respecting boundaries and validating your experiences.
- Take it slow. Sometimes you feel better than you are. I somehow manage to do this every single postpartum. I’ll have a random day where I am feeling human again, like myself, and every single time I extend myself past my limits and totally overdo it. Be patient with yourself and your body, recognize all that your body just went through. Plan to take it really (really) easy. My rule of thumb is however you are feeling, assume you're at least 50% worse.
- postpartum bleeding is all a gigantic lie. Postpartum bleeding is the wildest of all rollercoasters–it's like a volcano, then it's calm, then it's a full blown volcano again, then moderate, then light, then volcano again. Believe me, don't trust that you're done bleeding until you haven't bled for a solid few days.
- physical and emotional rest are equally as important. They go hand in hand more than we think they do. If you are not emotionally resting, your physical self cant recover and vice versa. Having support and help is so important. Do not be afraid of asking for it.
How do you care for yourself during post-partum with so many little ones around? So often, the focus is on the new baby but we know it’s the mom that really needs care as well.
I am still figuring this out! I told Jay that this postpartum I want to literally not leave my bed for the first five days–at all. Which I am sure will be next to impossible for me as a busy body, but I try to be crystal clear with my expectations with everyone around me; clear on what I need help with and what I expect for support. Being really easy on myself is also super important and accepting that it will be chaotic, hectic and messy for a while. That’s just life! There will also be lots of movie days and ordering take-out for the first few weeks and to be honest that's the best!
What have you learned about your body throughout your journeys to conception? Anything that has surprised you?
Overall I can definitely say I have been incredibly blessed to have no fertility issues or struggles over the years, which I am so so grateful for.
Truthfully, I was really naive to how fertility or conception worked until only a few years ago. Heck, to be fully transparent, I didn't really know how my reproductive system worked in general until we were trying for our fifth! Now I am incredibly grateful to be getting to know my body and my own reproductive system and love learning more about it. Women are bad asses and honestly, we are the superheroes we are all looking for in the world!
Lastly, what is so shocking to me is how calculated pregnancy is. Everything has to line up so perfectly and precisely...like I said...BAD ASS!
Photo by Sasha Blaney.