If I Could Describe My Postpartum Experience in 3 Words...
...it would be uncool, complicated and messy.
I was 24 years old when I gave birth to my first born, Raul. The pregnancy wasn't particularly planned, but it happened a bit too quickly for us! Although everyone kept reminding me to be grateful, I genuinely struggled to feel ready to be a mother, and at that time, it was better to be secretive about it.
My first born was the first grandchild in our families so he got plenty of attention. I remember being nagged about something as small as maintaining the shape of my baby's head. This was repeated with my second born, Rayyan.
The 40-day 'pantang'/confinement period felt like being in forced quarantine with a busy list of things you must do, or else. Not to mention, you're at your most vulnerable state that you could come off a little helpless if you had no one to guide you, or it's your first time. Also, experiencing that sudden loss of personal space was hard. Going through this at 24 years old, whilst my friends and siblings were enjoying life, made the experience feel uncool more than something to embrace. A lot of doubt started to build in me during this time.
Motherhood in general is a beautiful and complicated journey. However, my experience with postpartum was filled with ' OMG Seriously? ' moments. Many people were excited for me and were so generous with their confinement methods. I tried hard not to disappoint anyone especially when they shared with the expectation that I should follow all of them.
Despite receiving a lot of advice, I still had many questions on my mind, all day all night! I use to have my pondering moments whilst the midwife is wrapping me tight with a bengkung that I could never quite figure to do it myself, let alone take it off! She ends the wrap with a little "Hurhhhh! Sudah bu, tidur gini". So, I thought to myself, 'Pee only if VERY necessary'. I remember waking my husband up to take it off in the middle of the night. That traditional bengkung was complicated to use and the compression was next level!
Once I had successfully fed and put my baby to sleep, my pondering moments would start again with Mr. Google. What bra should I use to avoid clogged ducts? Wait, do I even use a bra? How do I know my baby drank enough? My boobs are never empty! Wait, how often should I pump? Is bottle feeding ok?
And the list goes on...
Did anyone ever tell you that no matter how many times you shower, you still look like you haven't got your sh*t together? On top of that, your body starts developing a strange odour and you know its coming from your milk! I remember taking quick showers every couple of hours to feel refreshed.
I had a bunch of scrunches within reach to make sure my hair is tied up in what they call 'the pantang bun'. That pantang bun was constant for a good couple of months. I had a 'busuk' look going on.
I was one of those that looked awful during my confinement and it didn't help that people around me were trying hard to 'fix me'. I know they meant well, but I felt so much pressure that my stress was not adjusting to motherhood, but to feel and look good again.
The good news is...
The journey gets easier with time and experience. You start shedding off that weight, putting on those jeans, and getting a hold of things. You know when and what to expect. You've developed a routine and you seek for help when you need it! You begin feeling yourself again, and feel comfortable to look for the support system you need. Your confidence comes back and most importantly, you learn to love yourself more.
Happy mamas make happy families.
Don't forget to slip in those date nights that went missing for months!
Peer to peer support is everything a Mama needs to feel more informed about their choices. Be grateful to any advice you receive but make your own choices. Only you know what is best for you and your child.
Postpartum doesn't need to be uncool, complicated or messy. Prepare yourself with knowledge on breastfeeding, birth choices, postpartum options and be around positive vibes always. If you are a young mama, and you don't know what to expect, surround yourself with Boss Mamas! Make a new circle of friends who can relate to what you are going through.
Boss Mama is here to help you adjust better to postpartum with thoughtfully designed postpartum essentials that will be the shortcut to most postpartum nightmares!
Postpartum doesn't have to be a lonesome journey, our 24/7 Mommy Hotline Telegram Group is a place for you to express yourself with no judgement. A community every mama needs to feel together.
You've got this mama. Let no one tell you otherwise!