As a freelancer, I’m used to always being on the go; simply because if I don’t work, I don’t eat. During my pregnancy and with this in mind, I was adamant about getting right back to work because I knew I had to. Not only did I have to feed myself, but I now had an extra mouth to feed. I predicted I would only need about 2 weeks off before going back to my routine. They say if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. I know He got a good chuckle out of mine.
I have what doctors call a bicornuate uterus. This means that my uterus is split and somewhat heart-shaped. A woman with my condition has a high chance of miscarriage and going into preterm labor. By the grace of God, I was able to go full term. A woman with a bicornuate uterus is also more likely to deliver via C-section, which turned out to be my only option. My little one remained breached the entire pregnancy, so I mentally prepared to have major surgery. Three years prior to that, I had to have my left ovary removed. Because my recovery was a speedy one, I believed the C-section recovery would be similar.
Fast forward to 4 weeks post-surgery, I’ve come up with a few tips for Black millennial women who are preparing for a C-section or who may have an unplanned one. After extensive research during my recovery time, I realized there isn’t much information that helps us understand this process. While there are platforms that cater to women in general, but I wanted to be able to speak directly to us.
Childbirth is beautiful, but it isn’t easy. Having a major surgery in the process doesn’t make the adjustment any easier, but with the tips provided below, you’ll do just fine. Take your time and use the 6 weeks suggested to recover. If you need any longer, that’s ok too. Making a full recovery is a lot better for your newborn and overall long term health.
You’re doing great mommy, keep going!
Accept All The Help You Need
Because I am so used to doing everything myself, it was hard for me to accept that I needed help the first few weeks post-surgery. I had a very vulnerable moment in the hospital when my mom and beloved had to help me use the bathroom and shower. While I was determined to do it myself, I couldn’t. If you have the help, take advantage. This could be from family, loved ones or even the nurses in the Labor and Delivery department.
Don’t Forget to Eat And Hydrate
As a new mom, your new priority becomes the blessing you just gave birth to. Because newborns tend to keep you up, it’s very easy to forget to eat and hydrate. Remember you can only give your best if you take care of yourself. For moms who are breastfeeding, your newborn depends on you to eat properly and drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day (this also depends on your body weight, but 50-64 ounces per day is a good place to start). Trust me, you’ll feel a lot better and so will your newborn.
Take the Prescribed Medication
Before I left the hospital, I was moving great. I thought it was because mentally I pushed myself to be fine. Little did I know, it was the pain medication. Upon returning home, I couldn’t get the medication due to a late evening release from the hospital. The next morning
when I woke up, my body was in a pain I couldn’t explain. That's why I highly recommend taking the prescribed medicine, but not the oxycodone if you don’t have to. As much as we love to be super heroes all the time, this is the one time when we absolutely do not have to be.
You Don’t Know Everything (And That’s Ok)
This tip is for first time moms. I can honestly say I had no idea what to expect. You get advice and hear stories from other moms, but nothing can fully prepare you for YOUR journey as a mom. Every child is different, therefore your experience as a mom will be, too. Even though experiences can vary, there are books and blogs that can help you navigate through this. When all else fails, your hospital's Labor and Delivery department is open 24 hours a day. Feel to call them or your pediatrician.
It's OK To Cry
Postpartum is real. There are different levels, but we all go through it. Most hospitals will provide information on people you can speak to about what you’re going through. Depending on your level of postpartum, talking to loved ones or journaling can be just as helpful. Most importantly, it’s ok to cry (see tip #4).