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(Diary) Right After You Give Birth
This is what happens.
Welcome to my diary. These are entires I wrote during my own pregnancy. What you’re about to read is unfiltered, unedited, and perhaps a bit uncanny. But these are my raw feelings written in real-time. Everyone’s perspective and journey is different. This is mine.
Jen Glantz here.
I’ve been a mom for exactly two weeks.
The best moments have been the early mornings and the middle of the nights. The hardest moments have been then too.
I’m busy getting to know this baby and even busier trying to get her to know me too.
I talk to her about everything, from what the day was like to the meaning of good friendship. I know she hears me, but even more, it’s my touch that might mean more to her, forever.
I want her to feel safe and protected, loved and cared for, and I want her to feel those things right now.
Even when my eye sockets are dropping down toward my lips and I’m crying about how much I wish we had more help around here, I look at her and think:
She’s my baby and I’d do anything for her, gladly, easily, and without hesitation.
Ps. Know someone who would enjoy reading this?
Some quick things I loved this week:
❤️ Products that I fell in love with this week:
Loving these outfits from Old Navy. They are good quality and we wash and wear them daily.
This nipple cream is a godsend.
I made a bunch of detailed lists of all the things I bought for pregnancy, postpartum, and for the baby. Here’s where you can eyeball / share these lists with anyone who needs them
❤️I’ve been spending time spilling my thoughts on TikTok. Watch some of that fun stuff right here!
Right After You Give Birth
An hour after giving birth, I had to complete two major milestones that seemed impossible.
Hours earlier, these were things I did every day of my life: pee and walk.
But now, after pushing a baby out, after getting an epidural to make my lower body numb, and a catheter to catch the pee, I had to show the hospital staff that I could function on my own.
Every part of me felt that I couldn’t.
But if I did, I could go back and be with my baby, and I could eat, after not eating for 38-hours.
Two nurses grabbed my arms. When I felt my feet touch the ground, they buzzed. My body felt under attack by fire ants. My brain kept chanting: keep going.
I had never felt fear like I felt when I sat on the toilet and tried to pee. There was so much blood. There was, eventually, a little pee.
This meant I had graduated from the labor and delivery floor and now could be wheeled to the next phase of my life: postpartum.
I had spent hours preparing for birth and buying every gadget out there to make sure the baby had everything a baby needs.
I spent ZERO time understanding what happens to a person after they give birth, which felt like an initiation to a secret society where what you go through never gets spoken about to anyone, ever, even when you’re asked.
I knew nothing about what was going to happen next.
Upstairs on the postpartum floor, I found myself begging for help.
The baby is crying. What does the baby need? I have no idea what a baby needs!
How do we swaddle, diaper, and most importantly feed this baby?
One nurse came in and shoved her onto my breast. “Is this how I breastfeed?” I asked her.
“Yes, force the baby to latch.”
Whenever I asked people how I’d be able to take care of a newborn, they said:
Just wait. Your motherly instincts will kick in.
But as I sat there, with a baby on my breast, I felt less like a mother, and more like a broken robot, needing the desperate help of very busy nurses around me to survive.
Which I was, for now. But barely.
“I’m just so scared,” I cried to a nurse who I begged to come help me go to the bathroom.
“What exactly are you scared of?” She replied, as her eyes did a somersault behind her head.
The blood, the stitches, the soreness of my body, the fog of my mind, the baby in my arms, the breasts that have now turned into milk kegs, the pressure to figure it all out without knowing anything, the steady flow of nurses and doctors.
The next day, I slumped in the hospital bed. It felt like I might just stay there forever. I wondered if I’d ever feel well enough to go home.
A new nurse came in to look at me and said:
“I have one challenge for you today. Get up,” she said. “I want you to move today. I want you to get up, put on a robe, and walk to the end of the hall.”
“Trust me. You will feel so much better.”
Everyone has a birth story. But they have a postpartum story too. Sometimes, that story is slathered in impossibles, in simple defeats, in tiny wins.
I didn’t want to get out of that bed. I didn’t want to do anything that anybody asked me to do.
But I did want to feel better.
Minutes later, I put on my robe, I stood up, I walked up and down the halls.
We see the most beautiful photos of people after they’ve given birth. They look showered and refreshed. The baby is in their arms and they are smiling. I always wondered how people could look so put together after so much of them came apart.
I sat in the hospital bed for days with my hair in a greasy bun. I cried. I laughed. I fell in love with my baby. I felt sorry for my body.
I was dealing with so many things that could never be seen inside of a photo. And because of that, I felt so guilty, so alone.
Moving around was uncomfortable on my body, but important for my brain.
When we left the hospital, I felt like I had done the impossible, over and over again.
But what I didn’t realize was that going home, that first night, would be its very own challenge.
That we would survive, one buzzing step at a time.