Oftentimes, a woman has very little support after a baby is born. This can make the postpartum period a challenging time.
I’ll use the birth of my third child as an example. I had a rough few last months of my pregnancy and then a traumatic birthing experience. It was also my third kid in three years and I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I was released from the hospital 24 hours later. From there, I was taken to my parents house and cared for the next 4 days, but I got little rest as I was adjusting to this new life. On day 6, I was left alone with my two children all day and had to pack everything to go home. We got home that night, exhausted. Now I was home all day with the girls (18 month and 3) for 12 hours.
Thank God my parents sent me home with some leftovers. I don’t know what I would have done otherwise. That was my next three days. Then was Sunday, with church, eating out and shopping. Monday brought another full day of shopping. Then back to being home by myself for 12 hours a day, except my oldest daughter was now really sick. I then watched my husband get sick and then my other daughter. My husband still worked his 12 hour days, but I was left nursing all the sick ones in the house. I was only 2 weeks postpartum when everyone was sick. Going into the third week, I got sick. Let’s just say that things got really tough then. Now the postpartum period is usually considered to be six weeks. I was still supposed to resting and not doing much of anything but taking care of baby. I never really even had that kind of resting with my third child at all.
Along the way, I picked up some valuable tips to surviving a rough postpartum period. I’m sharing them with you, in case you ever have to face a situation like that one.
1. Free Food
If you can get any kind of help at all, having meals delivered is the most helpful thing, especially if the mom has more than one kid. I didn’t have to think about feeding my family. It was already done for me. If there is no help to be had, using a mail subscription meal service, like Blue Apron, can really help as well. You don’t have to worry about thinking up meals and shopping. All that is done for you and the recipe and ingredients are delivered to your door.
When you can’t stay in bed for hours on end, rest when you can. And yes, that means ignoring the dirty floors, the piles of dirty clothes and dishes, and the toys scattered everywhere. While it’s not the most fun to sit in a messy house, rest is vital to your recovery!
3. One Chore a Day
On the other hand, yes, the chores need to be done. If you can’t get any help with these, then choose one chore a day to do. No, the house won’t be spotless, but what is necessary to live is getting done. I had a rotating schedule between dishes, laundry and some basic cleaning (kitchen, floors, and bathroom.) It wasn’t until much later, that I was able to clean in any depth.
4. Keep Distractions on Hand
When you have other children in the house, especially younger children, having distractions will help retain your sanity and help you reset. In our house, we don’t have cable and rarely watch movies. However, an exception was made for this time. Their grandma bought them Frozen and my girls watched this daily until we all had the movie memorized. But it gave me a two hour gap to rest and kept the little ones resting when they were sick.
5. Have Adult Visitors
If you spend your days alone and/or with kids all day, you need a break! Whether it is finding a babysitter for the older children and going out with a friend (with baby of course!) or just having someone drop in for a chat, being with another adult can really be a breathe of fresh air.
6. Ask for Help
Now granted, this one I’m still working on, but asking for help is important. I even asked my sick husband who worked 12 hour days to occasionally put a child to bed or take out the trash. It can be hard to ask for any kind of help, but there is no shame in needing help in this vulnerable and overwhelming time of your life.
I know that a rough pregnancy, birth and low/no support during postpartum can be a really rough time. I pray that you don’t have to go through that. However, if you are ever in that unfortunate situation, I hope these tips help you survive. I know they helped me survive and I also know that I will be much more insistent on help with the next child and will be asking people ahead of time for the specific help I need.
Have you ever had to survive a rough postpartum period?