I'm on a compassion kick lately.
We are so freakin' tough on ourselves, there are just moments it feels especially shocking!
This will be brief but I need to say something specifically to postpartum moms who worry about how emotional they may be feeling after giving birth. Who somehow imagine that they wouldn't or shouldn't feel emotional after giving birth.
To which I say, um, how could you NOT?! Let's take a look at what's just happened in your life...
You've just died! (The before you became a mother part of you has anyway).
You're falling in love! (There is no greater joy OR vulnerability).
You're physically wounded! (C-section, tearing or not, you're literally walking around bleeding from the wound your placenta has left inside your body).
You're now responsible for the life of another human being!
You've just started a new, all-consuming job learning new skills every day at which you understandably feel inadequate, primarily because, you've never done this before!
Any ONE of these things would bring most of us to tears.
So I ask, how? How could you not be emotional?!
I love you.
Because to top it off you've been raised to see being emotional as a sign of weakness. And for this I am especially sad. Because to be walking around wounded, grieving, leaking, bleeding, vulnerable and responsible for new life makes you the strongest human being on the planet!
Truly, thank you for your service.
P.S. Feeling emotional in the immediate postpartum period is 100% normal and can be a perfect sign of health. We worry more about the people who can't cry. But seeking support is valuable for whatever degree of emotions you are experiencing during this time. Whether that is simply the support of a postpartum doula, caring family members, and other moms, or the help of an experienced mental health professional, will depend on the degree of intensity and need.
My intention here is only to bring compassion and understanding, not to dismiss these feelings at all or to deter people from seeking postpartum support. In fact being more supported during this stage will only ease this massive life transition. Mostly I want to say, there's nothing to feel ashamed of and your feelings are beyond understandable.
Some signs may especially indicate the need for more extensive professional help, such as being unable to sleep or eat, having scary thoughts about yourself or the baby, feeling scary bodily sensations such as rapid heartbeat, or experiencing an intensified emotional state beyond the initial first weeks among others.
Most importantly, new moms deserve all the attention and support in the world during this time, so I guess my message is this. Don't ignore your feelings or suffer in silence, but also don't be shocked or hard on yourself for having these feelings either.