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It has been a crazy past two weeks – really only two weeks?? Wow!

Well the patience paid off! Welcome to the world baby boy!

Happy family! Tired family!

Happy family! Tired family!

We are settling in to life with a baby after little Samson was born early in the morning on August 1st weighing a good 7lbs, 4 oz. and living up to his Dad’s height at 21 inches and his strong name.

Life will never be the same. At night, Joe and I spend some time just staring at him exclaiming how this parenting thing is the craziest and most awe-inspiring thing we have ever done. It has its ups – and downs (I’ve been peed on more times than I can count……ugh!). But we are so thrilled to have started our little family.

Several people have asked me if I’m going to blog about my birth story. To be honest, I’m not sure. You prepare SO MUCH for labor, delivery, and bringing home baby, that little is done to prepare yourself for the recovery process – and uncertainty that can occur during labor. Every birth story is different – and I’m convinced each is a rollercoaster even if the mother experienced a relatively easy delivery. Mine was not horrible (I’ve heard and am praying for friends who have had worse) – yet mine took me totally by surprise in how painful and long the recovery process will be. When asked by the nurse how I felt following my delivery, I broke down in tears and stated that I was a bit traumatized. That is the only way for me to describe it….I really haven’t been able to wrap my mind around a better term.

The reason it traumatized me is because we as a nation – and as a culture – do little to prepare mothers for the physical recovery process following birth. Dude! This is no small feat! Even if I wrote my birth story, I don’t think I could articulate the stunning power of a woman’s body during labor. All I can say is that when it came time to push (for two hours mind you un-medicated), my body took over – muscles and mind! Even my husband exclaimed that what I did was tougher than the most intense military training on the planet (for those who know him, you know what he went through and how crazy that training can be!). Wow!

So if this experience is so mind-bendingly intense, why do we assume Mother’s will bounce back to pre-baby bodies able to nurse a baby in one arm while cooking dinner and still look sexy for her partner…….. um H-E – Double hockey sticks NO! I’m still wearing sweatpants – and plan to do so until the 6 week mark when the body has really healed. It will take that long – if not more for me to heal.

My former roommate shared with me an article from The Daily Beast yesterday and I really couldn’t agree more. It spoke to me on so many levels.  It is a MUST READ for any Mom-to-be, Parent-to-be, or New Mom. We as a culture need to start thinking differently about Motherhood. It is precious – and powerful. We women need to stand up for each other – offer that casserole, stretch out a hand, pick-up a load of dirty laundry. Allow new moms the time to adjust, bond, and heal. If not, we really do run the risk of having frazzled, overwhelmed, and stunned mothers. These qualities don’t bode well for remaining calm while caring for newborn – I’ve shed enough tears these past two weeks to know that hormones and stress can cause trouble.

Joe and I have been lucky to have families and friends who do have a culture of nurturing for the newly minted mom. We have had my parents hands – culinary skills, laundry folding fingers, and comforting arms – along with my dear friend Tran’s advice and wisdom as a mother of two. I can honestly say that I would not have made it through the past two weeks without their support. AND it doesn’t stop there. As the first wave of help returned home to the East Coast, Joe’s family has stepped up. First up, his Mother carrying a hot meal and folding baby clothes. My husband has also stepped up – evening taking Little Man out for a bonding walk so I can write this blog post. As the article underscores, it takes a village to help support new parents and assist with the daily routines of life so that mother’s can have time to heal.

I laugh reading articles on the pop culture magazine webpages exclaiming shock that Duchess Kate moved in with her parents following Prince George’s birth…..um YES!!! Why wouldn’t she!? Or that she “dared” to show of her post-labor bump……ahhh we are not like balloons! The reality is, it can take 6 weeks for the uterus to return to it’s “normal” size – not to mention MONTHS to shed the extra pounds that provided protection and food for the little one. We are not all Heidi Klum. I can’t exercise until after the 6 week mark – except for physical therapy exercises that – well, are low impact.

Additionally, I am also lucky to have a special clinic at UofM Hospital to help me in my postpartum healing process – which may not have been the case if I had selected another hospital. My first appointment is next week and I feel thankful that I won’t be waiting until the standard 6 weeks post-birth appointment to see if my health needs are being met after a tough delivery. But again, what about other women – even if their birthing experience did not have the complications I experienced. There is no special clinic for “normal-yet-still-physically-demanding” postpartum moms. There should be.

So we will see if I blog about the birthing experience – and postpartum life (seeing as it is something we rarely discuss – and should share with other mother’s to be!). After a bit of time over the next few weeks to adjust, I’ll hopefully be back to blogging about babies, weddings, and cooking. But for right now, all I want to do is cuddle and care for our little bundle of joy while giving myself time to recovery. And really, that’s about all I should be doing.

Momma’s a real Momma,

Erin

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