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The Dark Week

All the build- up, all the waiting. Baby clothes washed and folded, crib assembled, diapers stocked, excitement brewing. Well…excitement coupled with anxiety, nervousness, with a mix of confidence lingering on self-doubt. Labor hits, and it’s go time. The very immediate postpartum in the hospital is run on adrenaline and reliance on the extra hands at the hospital as you start your recovery from pregnancy and birth.

All of the planning of choosing a provider, place to birth, maybe a birth plan (if that’s your thing). Figuring out what to pack in your hospital bag, finding someone to walk the dog and feed the cat while you are birthing your baby…’ve done it! You have created life. And now you must bring this new helpless life to your home and care for it, fall in love with it, and ENJOY EVERY SECOND of it. Which is all well and good…until it isn’t.

When you get home with this squishy bundle, you are swollen, sore, exhausted. Your house looks a little different than it did when you were last there, but you can’t quite put your finger on why.

After a couple of days home, the hormones start to rollercoaster. You heard about the “baby blues”, but when it hits you…it hits hard. You begin to question if you are bonding with this baby. Maybe you don’t feel head-over-heels in love, but aren’t you supposed to? Nursing hurts, you are healing from birth, you are hungrier than you have ever been but you keep forgetting to eat…which leads to standing at the fridge, fork in hand, shoveling in whatever you can get before this baby needs you again.

And if one more person tells you to “enjoy these fleeting moments” because they “go by so fast”, you might just scream.

I had a client once refer to this as “the dark week”. Because that is what it feels like when you feel the metaphorical sun shine once again and bring you out of the darkness.

So here’s the secret. Most moms DON’T fall immediately in love with their new babies. Not everyone can fall in love at first sight. This new baby is a stranger. You need to get to know her. You need to heal from birth. You need to let the hormonal rollercoaster settle. You need to find your new normal, new routine.

When making your postpartum plan, remember to change (lower) your expectations. Be gentle with yourself. And when you feel like things are not going the way you thought they might, give your doula a call for a pep talk and a reminder of how amazing you truly are.

#birth #birthdoula #postpartum #postpartumdoula #doula #hospitalbirth #labor #laborsupport #labordoula #hormones #postpartumhormones #newborn #baby #bostonbirth #boston #massachusetts #northshore #breastfeeding #nursing #bottlefeeding #formulafeeding #support

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