This ones a little controversial. But I don’t think it should be, and I think it should be talked about more supportively and openly! After all, how are babies made to begin with?!
I had a noticeably absent mojo postpartum and I didn’t think it would ever come back – I felt a bit broken to be honest. They say wait six weeks for healing physically, but don’t really discuss it beyond that, even when it’s made up of so much more; mentally, emotionally. It’s ingrained into our culture as a sort of taboo, a not seen and not heard issue, but like Ina May Gaskin says, sex has been taken out of the birthing experience, even though it’s how we got there in the first place and the oxytocin so central to it all plays a HUGE part in the birth experience and mothering too.
It’s okay to not want to, and to feel like your body isn’t yours anymore. I woke up one morning six months postpartum and just sorta had my mojo back but it took a lot of patience from my husband and a lot of reflection on my part. I wanted to want my husband!
You have to find a way to be yourself again as well as a mother. You have to have your own identity too. I struggled with this when I got married as well as becoming a mum but what I found was that the key is to find a way to fit all the pieces of who you are into the whole.
Take time just for you to nurture yourself. It’s hard but possible and worth doing. An uninterrupted bath, a couple hours sleep while someone else watches baby – use whatever help is offered, because if you can’t feel like you’re looked after/ able to look after yourself, then how are you supposed to feel good enough about yourself to let someone else make you feel good?
I spent most of the first six months postpartum feeling just like a mother rather than “mother” now just being one part (if a rather large part!) of the wider whole of who I am. Thanks to people like our friends, my brother in law and my sister, I had support and help to just be “me” too.
They’re right when folk say “it takes a village” and even if you don’t think you have one, I really hope you have at least one or two people you can depend on when you really need them.
Your body. It takes time to settle in to your “new” body. I can guarantee that even if you do “bounce back” quickly or not, it will still be a little different in some ways. There are days I still feel a little broken; most days I’m in major Bridget Jones pants, and we have to do things a little differently to before. But it still works. And I’m getting back to some familiar feeling that resembles what “normal” was before. So will you.
Husbands/ Guys: be patient. It’s okay to show you still love your other half and find them attractive, but don’t whine or be pushy. Respect her boundaries. TALK TO HER ABOUT IT. And actually LISTEN TO WHAT SHE SAYS. Another human being has exited your wife/better half. She deserves time to heal mentally as well as physically, and to find her identity again, after the maelstrom of becoming a mother has subsided somewhat. Support her to get there. Be truly selfless about it. Help by doing things round the house if they need done – housework kinda suffers with a new baby in the house. Take baby and change them, give her something to eat or let her go get a shower/bath/nap. And eventually your patience and support will pay off.
Oh. And boobs. I don’t recommend touching them too much unless you want to be punched in the face or squirted with milk. They’re not yours. They’re serving the function they were made for, and if they’re full they’re probably a little tender/ sore. So yeah – be gentle with them.
If you haven’t got your mojo yet: don’t panic. It may take less or more time than it did for me. Everyone is different and that is totally fine. Relax, enjoy these early days with baby when they are oh-so-small, it really doesn’t last forever. Be a mum first and foremost for a bit. You’ll figure out how it fits in with the rest of you in time.
I want to hear about your experiences and struggles. Has reading this helped? What would have helped you more postpartum in hindsight?