Take one new babe, a toddler, a father with a decent amount of parental leave, and a mother set on nourishing herself and the newest addition in the vein of the first 40 days and mix them all together,and what do you have? A lovely start to parenthood.
When I mentioned I would be focusing on hibernating for the first 40 days of motherhood this time around most people thought I was a bit nuts. Why would someone willingly seclude themselves with few visitors and even fewer outings for more than a month? Well for me it made sense. It gave us time to adjust to our new family, and me the space to bond with the babe and heal from the birth and to gently allow the babe to settle in to life outside the womb.
Those early weeks passed in a blur of a lot of couch time and naps; herbal tea by the gallon, meals dropped off by family, cooked by Steve or pulled from the freezer stash; afternoons spent in the backyard; and the rare trip out to a movie or park and I relished it, feeling my strength returning much more quickly this time and a strong bond forming. I don’t exactly regret what we did the first time around with Jman, but I definitely wouldn’t do it again. There were too many walks when cabin fever set in (hello longer recovery period) and too many well-meaning visitors who all wanted baby cuddles, which resulted in an unsettled baby and a lot of tears from all of us at the end of days when we were exhausted from playing host or had overextended ourselves.
I also can’t entirely credit a quiet fourth trimester for a calm babe who contentedly naps for hours at a time, but I like to think it played a big role.
Regardless, we emerged from our fourth trimester cave slowly and carefully, adding in lunches out, gentle walks with the baby wrapped on my chest, market trips once vaccinations were done and a trip to Lennox Head before Steve went back to work so we could all bask in the sand and sun. It was pretty glorious.
Since then we’ve been tackling the challenge of finding our feet, balancing two kids and still trying to find time for us as a couple. I’ve also been focusing on repairing my diastasis recti and regaining my strength and fitness under the care of a womens’ health physio. Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t do this last time but looking after your pelvic floor is so important if you want to live an active and full life – which I do!
Each week I attempt – and I mean attempt – a pilates class with the two kids in tow. Sometimes I sweat it up, others I spend the class breastfeeding the babe or trying to wrangle my theraband from Jman. I also have regular pelvic floor check ups to make sure everything is recovering nicely.
(On a soapbox note, this is something I really, really think more mums should factor in physio-led exercise in those postpartum months. Speaking from a yoga teacher perspective we know zilch about the delicate nature of returning to movement following childbirth, which could actually result serious injury.)
And now for pics.