The Truth About Postpartum Recovery
Postpartum recovery is a topic often avoided, I really am not sure why because as women we go through a heck of a lot to have our children and we should be proud of every obstacle we have overcome. It’s sad that often times we are silenced regarding certain topics, whether emotional or physical, dealing with postpartum. My hope is that in sharing my story, women that are also dealing with postpartum struggles either emotional or physical will feel less alone. The first few months I barely shared how I felt with my husband let alone strangers for the fear of judgment from others. I thought that if I wasn’t completely blinded with happiness from my baby boy then there was something wrong with me. Once I began to open up, I found that I was indeed not as alone in those feelings as I felt. That is why we shouldn’t hide our stories. As women we should come together and reminisce on the good and the bad. All you hear is the wonderful happy and oh so joyous parts of becoming a mom when in reality it’s also painful, difficult and extremely trying. Just because you talk about the negatives of motherhood does not mean you love your baby any less. I am completely head over heels in love with my son and if I was given the choice to do this all over again for him I would in a heartbeat.
I mentioned a bit about my struggles with postpartum recovery in an earlier post but I didn’t feel quite ready to share, mostly because it’s dealing with my nether regions, I doubt many people want to know about that topic. If you’re among that group of people feel free to bow out gracefully now before you get in too deep. It’s also extremely emotional for me and feeling vulnerable as well as possibly being judged is not really a favorite of mine.
Let me start off by giving you a quick overview of my birth story; I had a vacuum assisted vaginal birth lasting roughly 24 hours from start to finish. If you want to read the whole story feel free to HERE. I sustained a pretty gnarly 2nd degree (now come to find out, probably 3rd degree tear) to my lady bits. They stitched me up and told me to check back in six weeks to be cleared. Six weeks came and went, I wasn’t cleared because my tear was healing incorrectly, and I had multiple granulomas (small skin growths similar to skin tags) as the result. My treatment? Wait another month. So I waited yet another month to exercise, be intimate with my husband and do pretty much any type of physical activities pain-free. You see, the granulomas and scar tissue rub around down there and cause this intense burning pain pretty much every single time I moved. Are you completely grossed out yet? No? Wonderful, I’ll keep going. A month passed and I returned to my OB to have a procedure done involving silver nitrate. If you don’t know what that is then thank your lucky stars. It feels like your entire lady bits are on fire and not just a tiny fire a little house extinguisher would put out either. Nope, it feels like a full fledge forest fire is going on in your undies. My doctor thought the procedure would help close the parts of my wound that had not healed correctly and get rid of the granulomas.
This fun little procedure DIDN’T work. I repeat, my lady bits were set on fire for no reason! I returned to my OB’s office for the third time postpartum and pretty much begged them to fix me or else I would lose what little sanity I had left. At this point I felt like I needed to just accept the fact that I’d be in pain for the rest of my life. She sent me to a specialist for another “little” procedure. This time instead of setting my lady bits on fire they stuck a few needles into it and went to town with some scissors. Needless to say, it was pretty traumatic and slightly painful. I am now a week out from this procedure and although I am still in a small amount of pain, it feels much better down there. I think in a few weeks time I’ll be fully functioning and pain-free again. On to the next postpartum complication I suppose…
I also want to add that I am going to a physical therapist for pelvic floor muscle therapy and a colorectal specialist because well, hemorrhoids from three hours of pushing. 🙂
Recovery for me has been a rollercoaster. I know my story is full of jokes and me making light of the situation, that’s just how I handle the negative in my life. In all seriousness, not being able to get back to my regular workout routine and be intimate with my husband has been so killer to my emotional health. Those are two very great ways to release dopamine the happy drug for our bodies. For three months I have been walking around in almost constant pain. That combined with my fluctuating postpartum hormones seems like a recipe for disaster right?
Luckily, I have dealt with depression and anxiety practically my whole life so I knew what to look for and was prepared if and when the symptoms arose postpartum. Pre-baby days I was able to find a good balance of eating health, working out, finding “me” time, and a few essential oil mixtures that have helped me battle my depression and anxiety. Since I cannot workout or find adequate “me” time anymore I rely heavily on my balanced diet and essential oils. I can tell I am still suffering from a bit of anxiety most likely because of the physical complications I’m dealing with. When I notice I’m dwelling too much on the negatives I try to do something for myself whether its go for a walk or just read a few pages of a book. Deep down, I know that this too shall pass and hopefully in a few short months I will be sitting back laughing at how ridiculous my postpartum recovery story is.
*If you know someone is struggling with their recovery or exhibiting signs of postpartum anxiety/depression, please reach out to them. I can’t tell you enough how much it meant when someone would actually make sure I was doing OK. Everyone wants to see and hear about that beautiful new baby often times the mother’s well-being and feelings are pushed to the way side. When you aren’t feeling yourself, knowing people care and are there for you goes a very long way!
*If you are that person struggling with your postpartum recovery or feeling like you are dealing with postpartum anxiety/depression please don’t hesitate to contact me or find someone you love and trust who can help you. These feelings and this trying season you may be in right now will pass. Take each struggle individually and conquer them one by one, do not ignore your problems for the sake of your baby. The best gift you can give your child is a happy Mommy.