When I look back on my two experiences of healing from the birth of my babies, it amazes me how much difference 2 years and 300 miles can make! Though both births were positive natural home births, the postpartum healing couldn’t have been more different.
With the first we lived 5+ hours away from family and weren’t plugged into a small group at church. With our second baby that was born a few months ago, we had moved closer to family and were in an awesome community group. My physical healing and emotional well-being in those first weeks were much better this time!
During the first week, we didn’t have to worry about dinner once as our wonderful church family and neighbors brought meal after meal. My family was able to visit often to help with whatever I needed on the hard days. My husband was freed up to help our toddler make a smooth transition from being an only child to big brother. And I was able to rest and focus on our new tiny girl and my own healing.
No matter what type of birth you have, whether totally unmedicated or a c-section, peaceful or traumatic, your body is recovering from a major year-long endeavor of growing and nourishing and then birthing a baby.
It is an amazing and faith-inspiring experience, but when you pair with that the physical demands of caring for and feeding a newborn, the emotional readjustment of hormones and sleep deprivation, and the strangers at the grocery store chiding us to I enjoy this time because it goes so fast, the postpartum period is a very taxing time for new moms as much as it is a joyful one. And that is before you figure in care for older children, cooking, and cleaning! Not surprisingly, social support and interaction after birth has been shown to improve rates of postpartum depression and improve speed of healing.
Thanks to the love and support of my husband, family, and community, this is how I was blessed to spend the first two weeks postpartum.
If you’re hesitant to ask for or even to accept help, just think back to the last time you had the chance to bless someone else by bringing a meal or helping out with childcare or cleaning. Remember the way you were blessed yourself to be able to exercise your faith and love for another? Please don’t deprive your community of the blessing of serving you in your need!
It is clear that God did not design us to go through this tender time alone, an isolated struggle within the four walls of our homes, but instead with the help of a caring community of family, friends, and other believers!
Shannon Brown writes about natural pregnancy and birth, parenting, and simple living at GrowingSlower blog. She is also the author of Natural Birth Stories: The Real Mom’s Guide to an Empowering Natural Birth. Shannon and her wonderful husband live in eastern Washington and are parents to an energetic little boy and a peaceful baby girl.
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