To a New Mum With EDS, From Your Fellow Spoonie
First of all, congratulations. I bet that little bundle of joy is absolutely gorgeous!
I was lucky enough to welcome my own daughter into the world in January of this year, so I know how tough pregnancy and delivery with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) can be. My own labor was quite short, but very eventful, as most labors in EDSers are. So trust me, I know how you feel.
The first few hours, days and weeks with a newborn are magical, and should always be enjoyed to the max. I didn’t know anyone who had children with chronic illnesses, but here are some things I have learnt – which I wish I’d had someone to tell me.
1. Accept people’s help. Even when you want to do everything yourself.
Raising a baby is tough. There are so many emotions post-delivery to deal with, and if you’re anything like me and you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself all in a tizz because you’re struggling to do everything yourself. Guess what? You’re not meant to do everything on your own. There’s a reason the phrase “raising children takes a village” exists. Let people help you. Take the opportunity to get a little nap – sleep is like gold dust when you have a little one around!
2. Take time to heal. Don’t rush.
EDS can cause delayed wound healing, and yet for some reason after having a baby, we expect ourselves to be fighting fit in a matter of days. Be realistic. I had two severe tears, a hemorrhage and a diastasis recti of five centimeters. I couldn’t do everything myself, and it was a very humbling experience. Be kind to yourself. Take a bath (lavender oil is a good choice here), make sure you eat and drink, and don’t strain yourself. You will heal eventually, it just takes time.
3. Pace yourself.
You don’t need to play with your new baby, tidy the house and organize your life all on the same day. The more you rush into post-delivery, the more energy you’ll have to “pay-back.” It might not seem so bad in the middle of the day when your beautiful bambino is looking up at you, but when you’re awake for the fifth time in the middle of the night, you’ll wish you hadn’t done so much in the day!
4. It’s OK to not feel OK.
Physically, and mentally. Pregnancy, delivery, and becoming a mother are all life-changing experiences. You are physically uncomfortable, and mentally exhausted. You might be feeling down because you can’t do as much as you want to, or anxious about your baby, or just plain blue. That’s OK. You don’t have to do it alone, either. If you’re struggling, talk to your health professional. They’re there to support you, and there is no shame in asking for help.
5. You’ve got this.
No matter your journey to becoming a mother, you’re in control now. Don’t compare yourself to other mums or able-bodied mums. Be your own kind of mum – that’s all your little one needs.
Getty Image by aywan88