There are many strange things that happen to our bodies after we deliver our bundle of joy, and the maddening thing is that different women experience pregnancy and delivery differently. Some seem to be made to breed. They pop out babies without batting an eye, and seemingly bear the changes without a hiccup, always glowing, always smiling, and always looking as joyful and radiant as we thought motherhood was for everyone. Others face an ugly battle, and are ill-equipped either by nature or by circumstance to gracefully handle the changes. Let’s face it. Hormones reign supreme. No one can escape the fact that we are the sum total of our own unique hormonal cocktail. EVERYTHING is affected by our hormones. Maintaining a pregnancy, PMS, depression (estrogen is strongly linked with serotonin production and brain chemistry), muscle tone, where fat is stored, how the brain processes information, our short-term memory, fine-motor skills, and how we feel pain. Men and women are very different. You will find that I am not a supporter of gender-equality simply because I have seen too much evidence that blasts gender equality to pieces – our sex hormones influence much more than our ability to bear children. But I digress.
So what are you supposed to do when you find yourself holding this little baby, and instead of finding yourself the domestic goddess, radiant and lovely in her new role, your hair is falling out, and your body won’t quit aching, and you cry ALL THE TIME and try as you will you feel, in your hear of hearts (although you would never admit it), that you’re not connecting with your baby the way “they” said you would. I’ll tell you what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to take a breath, acknowledge the reality of your feelings and situation, thank yourself for being honest, and then begin to kick your butt into gear. Take control of what you can, and make sure that you are caring for yourself in the way that needs to happen. Do what you need to get the rest your body requires, FEED YOURSELF CORRECTLY, get nourishing, healing exercise, and nurture your relationships. You need all of these things to properly deal and heal, and you can whip your body into shape and yet still feel awful and run down if the spiritual and emotional components of the postpartum period are neglected.
You simply have to be your own advocate and take charge, even when you don’t think you have the energy or resources to do so. Make it happen. You are the only one who can know what you need.