Truth be told, I was more afraid of the recovery from labor than the actual labor itself. I hate being in bed, and I hate needing the help of others. I also hate lingering pain and discomfort. The changes with pregnancy are so gradual that I felt I could adapt accordingly. But birth is a drastic and immediate change. Here are some tips for helping with the recovery period.
Get your zzz’s
I know, right? Does anyone else get sick of hearing this advice? I remember getting angry any time someone advised me to get more sleep. Duh. Yes, sleep is important. And getting sleep once a newborn enters your home feels almost impossible. But do what you can to find some time to sleep, nap, or rest. Especially right after giving birth it’s tempting to just stare in awe at your new, little bundle of joy. Take any opportunity for rest.
Accept (and assign) help
I tend to be a control freak. I don’t really like asking for help. And even when I know I need it, and there are people offering it, I have a hard time letting people go to work. This is a sure-fire way to get even more exhausted. When someone offers help, take it! Better yet, be specific on what they can do for you. Tell them you could use some help with laundry, dishes, meals, baby-sitting, a massage, whatever!
Take it easy
This is different than “get some sleep.” Taking it easy means recognize and honor the intense process you just experienced in giving birth. Respect your body. Take some time before jumping back into your marathon training (ha!). Gentle stretching in bed (think “good morning” stretches not “jump into the splits” stretches), deep breathing, and following your midwives/doctor’s orders will help the recovery period go by faster.
Proper nutrition for proper recovery
Especially if you are breastfeeding, good nutrition will be imperative to recovery. Considering that new moms are not getting the sleep they probably need (or want), eating a nutritious diet can help “fill in the holes.” This is no time to forget about healthy living. Stay balanced in your approach to diet.
Tell us: What is your advice? What helped you in your recovery?