The Postpartum Period by Johanna Gervin

You have just experienced something that nothing else in life will EVER come close to. You are elated with happiness at the birth of your beautiful baby. You have had nine months to prepare yourself for a new addition to your family. You have thought of every little thing you need before the little one arrives. Prepared yourself as much as possible for labour. You have listened to advice from family and friends - what you need to buy, what will be a game changer and what is a waste of money. You feel like you are ready to take on all that is to come. I am SO ready for this....YES! Super mum!

But the truth is, no one can ever really prepare you for the reality of the postpartum period...the 'real' aftermath that no one ever seems to discuss. Following the birth of my daughter, I recall my healthcare visitor telling me that once Mila is around 6-8 weeks old, that I will more than likely experience some shifts in my mood. Due to hormones, this is totally normal for mothers during the postpartum period. She told me not to worry, but of course I thought it was amazing that she was preparing me for these extreme feelings. I remember counting down the weeks, preparing myself for this shift in mood..and she was right. The weeks leading up to week 6, 7, and 8, I did feel hormonal and very emotional. But in all honesty, I have been an emotional mess pretty much every other day of the 21 weeks Mila has been in this world. It is so draining dealing with all of these waves of emotions, on top of sleep deprivation, that ALL of us mummies know all too well about.

I wake up in the most incredible mood, I go about my daily routine, I see family and friends, and all it takes is the slightest thing (an advert on the television or the latest culprit is the baby lullaby playlist on Spotify) and I'm literally balling my eyes out for the next hour. I don't even know what I'm crying about most of the time. Haha! But the floods of tears keep on coming!

I am eternally grateful to be blessed with this beautiful thing called motherhood. I always wanted a family, but I always put my career first. As a professional dancer and singer, I travelled a lot and my life was far too fast paced to even think about settling down. Now at the age of 36, I am the happiest I have ever been. I look at Mila every single day and still can't believe she is my daughter. Having a baby is such an emotional journey, but lord, I could never have been prepared for the intensity of the emotions I would have and still continue to go through each and every day.

Talking to friends and family about all these feelings are so important. Especially if you think there are more lows than highs in the emotions that you are feeling. Tell them you have been extra emotional today, talk to them about why you think that is. As I said, half the time, I have no clue why I'm crying my eyes out...but what I do know is, is that I am so so happy to have my little girl in my life. I suppose it all stems from a deeper place, deep down in my heart, and literally the tiniest thing can set it off.

Following the birth of our babies, many mothers struggle to accept their postpartum bodies. We are so hard on ourselves, and put so much pressure on ourselves to 'snap back' to our pre-baby bodies. My body issues have played a massive part of these past emotional five months. I have such a lack of confidence in my appearance. I find myself getting into such a state because I can't find anything to wear. I spend ages looking at the clothes in my wardrobe and it's not long before I am surrounded by millions of clothes thrown all over the bedroom floor. I find myself sat in my underwear, in floods of tears because nothing fits me or seems to feel comfortable.

What we need to remember is... our bodies go through a lot during pregnancy. We are super women after all! But it's easy to forget all of this when we look in the mirror and don't like what we see. My bump was huge, so I knew that it would be a long time before my tummy would be anything like it was before. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way naive, I didn't expect for the weight to drop off easily, and I haven't been actively trying to lose any baby weight either. I haven't even started to properly work out again. It started to really get me down when after a few months my stomach was still extremely mis-shapen. I later found out that I had diastasis recti and after lots of research I automatically felt so much better knowing that there were certain exercises that would help improve this.

Instagram has been great during this whole transition to motherhood. I have used it as a tool of positivity. I follow many other new mums on social media and this has been so great for me. Knowing you are not alone in any of the things you are feeling/going through is the pick up you may need on a downer of a day. Positive posts, real life....phew, I'm really not on my own.

The postpartum period brings lots of unexpected hurdles, many ups and many downs. It's important to remember that by sharing and talking about these things, we will smash through it all together. We need to tell ourselves that it really is all going to be okay, and that we are all incredible mummies. So keep being you, because you rock!

Follow my journey on Instagram @littlejogervin 

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