18 Days Postpartum
Recently reminiscing on the early postpartum days and I remembered this photo. This is me, first time mum 18 days postpartum breastfeeding my son in my very first ring sling: a gift from a dear sister friend of mine. As soon as I had given birth I was eating all the sashimi I could!
I look at these photos and cringe: he was positioned too low (not close enough to kiss), so much fabric slack near his neck and I had way too much fabric on his face covering while I breastfed (although I would check every 2 mins): I had a long way to go with my learning. But we all start somewhere.
There is a learning curve with wearing the ring sling, but in my opinion, it is so worth it. It is a valuable tool in my parenting toolbox I honestly don't know what I'd do without it.
I look at this photo and see a new mother who was still battling with the idea of motherhood: 18 days postpartum is still so fresh. This impromptu lunch was on the way home from an appointment (ambitious with a newborn!), I remember the nerves I had sitting in the restaurant eating and worrying he would wake and scream. You can see the tired in my eyes: I should have been home trying to sleep! I guess part of me wanted to be able to do it all: pop out a baby and return to my normal life. I hadn't yet realised you needed to slow down and that taking care of a baby, as mundane as it gets at times, IS the most important work you can be doing. I didn't yet appreciate the sacredness of it all.
It takes a while for the mental shift to happen: to give up the idea of you and your life pre-baby and just submit. Submit to the relentlessness, the limits on your time & activities. Acceptance that this new baby is your priority and the lifestyle change that comes with that. It happens eventually, but I found once I submitted, my whole perspective changed.
It got easier.
I understood this baby needed me and I needed him.
I held my baby while he slept and didn't feel 'bad' about it: I wasn't fighting it, trying to put him down when I knew he'd wake 5 minutes after. I wore him inside the house and out and hugged him like a security blanket. I said 'no' to things I'd usually say 'yes' to and didn't feel like I was being unproductive or unhelpful.
Letting go of the idea about 'productivity' which has been perpetuated by colonialism and capitalism, I felt free.
I am unapologetically a mother.