Everyone has a postpartum story. This is part of mine.
I have never felt more alone than I have after giving birth.
This Is Postpartum
Just writing that is hard for me. As a black woman, we’re seen as these pillars of strength that overcome everything. And we do. But it’s hard.
I was a single mom when I birthed my oldest Mini. I didn’t know what to expect. Growing up in a “good” family and having a baby alone after being divorced from my secret marriage wasn’t the easiest. I struggled to find happiness with having my one wish for my future come true–becoming a mother. But then I felt Mini move and I knew I was destined for more.
After she was born, I had one visitor in the hospital outside of my mom. Goodness, that was lonely. I had no idea what to expect in the moments after having her. She latched perfectly and even though the nurses pushed me so hard to wake her up to nurse, we already had our groove. Staring at her perfect face and fingers was my only solace as my uterus contracted back to a smaller size. Becoming her mother empowered me.
When I had my second child, I was married to the most amazing man in the world. After we had abc, I felt the loneliest I’d ever felt. I was scared that her fast delivery had broken my vagina even though I had no tearing and she delivered with 2 pushes. Healing after her was so hard because I was in so much pain. And then I was anxious about having sex with my husband again.
Friends, I was a mess after having her. I was scared of juggling two children during the hours my husband would be at work. See, I had abc on a Wednesday. By the next Monday I was dropping Mini off and picking her up from school. My husband was back at work. We lived far away from my friends and I had no visitors. I cried a lot. We had rare visitors and they only came to see how the baby was doing leaving me to figure out how to adjust back to life through blogs and books.
The one thing I underestimated was the role that resuming a sexual relationship with my husband would have in creating a balanced environment for me. While I love being a mom, I really thrive in my role as a wife. My failed first marriage taught me my love of being the wife that I became to my now husband.
See, being a mom is scary. These little people can’t tell us if what we’re doing is right or wrong and at the end of the day, I’m a great mom because I have a great partner that supports me.
While I struggled in adjusting to postpartum life with two, it was the strength of my marriage that helped me so much. But it wasn’t easy to get there. Being in pain makes it hard to be happy, feel sexy, or anything positive in truth. Leaking milk and wondering if at the bare minimum my vagina had snapped back really had me insecure.
See, no one talks about sex after baby. This is taboo. And I didn’t know what to be prepared for. I was awkward, squishy and filled with milk. But my husband and I talked through what would make me feel comfortable and we took things slow. After about the second or third time, I began to feel more like myself. And me feeling more like myself enabled me to handle feeling lonely. I began to feel empowered again.
It’s not important to everyone, but sex is really important to me. If I can be physically naked then I can be emotionally and mentally connected with my husband. I was able to voice my needs to him and about how I didn’t feel prepared to handle both kids alone. That physical connection bridged a gap with us and when our third child was born, things were way easier because we had a blueprint.
This is just part of my postpartum story. Every mother has one and I hope that by me sharing part of my story, another mom is helped.