“I feel great. Can I go home?”
“I feel great. Can I exercise?”
“I feel great. Can I go back to work?”
“I feel great. ….”
Frequently, I hear a variation of this sentence from mothers very soon after childbirth. Too frequently, if you ask me.
It is the symptom of our fastpaced life. We have no time to waste on recovery. We hear, “Be strong. Get back to work. All mothers do it.” Work, family, child, and pretty much anyone else comes first. No matter what a mother has gone through mentally, emotionally, and physically, they are expected to bounce back, quickly. Having gone through an amazing bodily transformation, while supporting another human life; to delivery, which is a nature’s wonder that never seizes to amaze me after all these years. To postpartum, trying to heal and go back to the baseline as soon as possible, the “new normal”.
We have picked 6 weeks randomly, to be the general time a mother can spend in recovery after a delivery, without consideration for a mother’s new responsibilities of the baby. At 6 weeks she is juggling the baby, plus their normal responsibilities; it may be a full-time job, housework, and/or caring for another family member in need. Also, without any consideration for emotional, or physical needs that may have come about as a result of a complicated road to pregnancy, pregnancy itself, and delivery.
In other comparable economies in Europe, the median maternity leave is 87 weeks. Most countries also allow paternity leave. Obviously, the importance of bonding and maternal recovery is of significant importance in these countries.
Having said all this, slow down, delegate some of your responsibility and give yourself time to recover mentally, physically, and emotionally. Visit your obstetrician more often during pregnancy and after delivery. Ask questions and complain about things that do not seem right and bother you. Get re-assurance, treatment, or consult from other specialists if necessary. There is a solution for most things that does not seem right. Some quick and some may take some time.
You might “feel great” but take your time and be your own advocate. Long term, you will be happy you did. A problem passed over today may become a chronic issue you will have to deal with for many years to come.