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“When can I come see the baby?”

A question new moms might hear over and over. 

At least at first. 

Sometimes before she has left the hospital. 

Before she has had a chance to sleep. 

Before she has even showered off the blood.

“When can I come see the baby?”

Her phone dings while she settles back in to her home with a brand new human—to her brand new normal. 

Her estrogen and progesterone levels are plummeting from the highest they’ve ever been to the lowest. She is shaky and hot and cold and sweaty and weak. 

Whether she chooses to breastfeed or not, her milk is coming in and she is sore and engorged. 

Whether she delivered vaginally or by C-section, her uterus will be contracting for days and weeks. Sometimes it’s as painful as labor. 

She’s bleeding and will continue to bleed for up to six weeks post-delivery.

Her crotch is swollen and puffy and sore, or her incision is painful, or both. 

She is struggling to go to the bathroom, and she pees her pants (or pad) when she laughs, sneezes, and coughs. 

Her core muscles are weak, making lifting ANYthing hard. 

She’s starving. Endlessly starving. 

She has stretch marks and varicose veins, hair loss and acne, blurry vision and dry eyes. She sees a stranger in the mirror. 

She is totally and utterly exhausted. She hasn’t slept for more than an hour at a time in days or weeks. 

Any independence she had—to run errands, go to work, shower, eat, pee, sleep—has been suspended for now. 

So when you walk into her house, look at HER first.

Give her space to heal, to bond, and to rest if she needs it. 

Be there if she needs it. 

Offer to help her. 

And then help her. 

Admire the baby, sure.

But don’t forget to nurture the mother.

This post originally appeared on Nicholle Godar – Girl With Camera

 

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Nicholle Godar

I am a central Illinois birth photographer documenting the pregnancy, postpartum, and motherhood journey in all of its raw, imperfect, and uniquely beautiful glory. At home, I am married to my best friend, and together we are raising three sweet, wild little ones.

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