As a mother-to-be, I was prepared as much as one can be for the labor and delivery of my son last summer. What I did not anticipate was the extent of postpartum recovery, both mentally and physically. My experience was profound, a journey as unique as the pregnancy itself. I’m not sure where the idea that healing is instant and easycame from, perhaps family or friends, but I wanted to know if anyone else felt the same. To gain wisdom from others in our Allyu community, I reached out to mothers with a survey asking, “What wasyour experience of postpartum recovery and what did you find most healing?”
My full recovery came slowly, even as someone with an uncomplicated birth. From my personal experience, the dramatic changes in the postpartum body and the hormonal shift were eye-opening. The first night after leaving the hospital my family stopped at an ice cream shop to celebrate, but the visit was cut short due to my immediate wave of emotions that erupted. The tears weren’t for any specific reason, but the feelings became overwhelming as I tried to calm down. One mother of three from the survey similarly shared, “My first child brought an onslaught of unexpected feelings of deep loss, sadness and fear. This subsided about a month into mothering.” In what is often sold as a purely joyful experience for moms is often a more wide range of emotions, from blissful to distressing.
An expectation I held onto was that the bounce back to my “old self” would happen in no time. As this expectation took longer to fulfill, my frustration grew. When inquiring within the survey how soon a mom could stroll a 1/2 mile after delivery, the responses ranged from three days to four weeks. It was comforting to find a spectrum of answers, and I experienced the same feeling as one mother who shared, “I didn’t know walking would feel so hard to do!” Another mama summarized the entire experience well by saying, “The recovery process is a journey with many stages and it takes a long time; it involves different levels of feeling better, feeling more like myself, and feeling more like I have my body back.” Forty percent of the mothers surveyed did not participate in a paid wellness activity after delivery, like a massage or a yoga class, and yet those who did seemed to experience great results. Some exercised, others meditated, but most all said that allowing themselves to rest was the key to recovery. As one mom eloquently put it, “I could be strong, capable and vulnerable all at the same time.”
If you are able to take part in postpartum healing activities, Allyu Spa has a large number of offerings to assist in your journey. Massage has countless therapeutic benefits that include detoxifying muscles and increasing circulation. Circulation is especially relevant to nursing mothers for building and sustaining a milk supply. Massage can also aid in the recovery after c-section and minimize muscular aches and aid in realignment. We have expanded our Pachamama Package to include postpartum massage that focuses on the needs of a healing mother.
Increased breakouts or even melasma, “the pregnancy mask”, may alter the complexion during or post pregnancy. Facials deeply cleanse and purifying the skin and help in this natural adjustment period. Skin type appropriate masks and peels are excellent to use at home between visits. Allyu offers both face and back facials because we all know that acne is not just limited to the face.
As your hormones decrease you may begin to notice the strength of your natural nail reduce to what it was pre-pregnancy. Manicures and pedicures are the perfect way to buff and care for your lovely nails–and there really is no better way to celebrate being able to see your toes.
Don’t worry if you notice an increase amount of hair loss, this is completely normal within the first three months after you deliver. Haircuts aren’t a part of Allyu’s offerings, but I loved my post pregnancy cut at Restoration Salon in Andersonville.
For a twist on the gym experience, Active Moms Club hosts a range of indoor and outdoor fitness classes pre and post pregnancy that cater specifically to mothers.All trainers have specialized training and you can bring your baby with you to sessions.
The postpartum journey is different for everyone. Whatever your experience, at Allyu we are here to support you on that journey. For more information about our pre or post-natal offerings please visit our website, or if you have any questions, give us a call at 312.755.1313.
Photo: Irenaeus Herwindo