Feeling Guilty for a Positive Postpartum Experience

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I had a unique postpartum experience. I went into it thinking there are some things that are “supposed” to be hard, and for some reason, I felt bad when they weren’t.

There seems to be a standard early motherhood image of not showering for five days and wearing the same spit-up-stained clothes for days on end. Breastfeeding has to be hard, and lack of sleep has to make you a zombie. And while I totally get that all these things can be true, it doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone. I often hear moms talking about how in the haze of taking care of a newborn, they aren’t able to take care of basic needs. This, however, was not my experience.  

I actually had an amazingly easy breastfeeding journey that lasted almost two years. I, for some reason, felt guilty about that. I showered every day in those newborn months and changed my clothes the second they had spit-up on them. I had an amazingly supportive spouse that did his share of baby duty so I didn’t have to skip those things that were important to me. But, I felt bad for showering daily. Wasn’t this something I wasn’t supposed to do?

I lost weight quickly after pregnancy too. Whenever I’d hear comments on how “tiny” I was, I felt guilty about it. And in all honesty, I didn’t even do anything. My body just lost weight. I felt even guiltier about that aspect; that I somehow achieved this arbitrary ideal body type without even doing anything. That I, for some reason, couldn’t feel good in my body unless I actually put in the work to get there.

Did I have things that were hard for me? Absolutely. My body hated being pregnant, and my labor and delivery were somewhat traumatic. It took nine weeks before I was pain-free after a serious tear, and even more months before I felt relatively normal again down there.

I had positive experiences though and I want to share those. I want moms to know that things can come naturally and be easy. It’s not all stressful all the time. We can say something is easy and that should be okay.

My whole point is this: everyone experiences everything differently. We shouldn’t feel guilty either way. It’s okay if your experience was good or easy or just ok. Just do you and take care of that beautiful baby.  

Can you relate? What was your postpartum experience like? 

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Lisa is a transplant from the Midwest. She was born and raised in Kansas (yes, she has seen a tornado) and spent a few years in Ohio before moving to South Carolina in 2014. She holds a degree in Biology and works as a research assistant at the USC School of Medicine. Her career in science spans 11 years and she can't imagine a job anywhere else. She has also been married to her college sweetheart for 11 years. He is a professor at USC, so they are Gamecock fans by default. They are proud parents to a spunky 2.5 year old girl who keeps them on their toes. As a family, they enjoy being outside in the wonderful southern sun, gardening, playing tennis, and going to the beach. They also are parents to 2 fur babies who still aren't sure about their little sister.

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