Your daydreaming might include a blow-dried do and you sitting there surrounded by a mountain of flowers which set off your hay fever, but let’s be honest, you cop it because it makes you look seriously loved on social media.
You might envision the moment of you holding the baby in a chair, sitting upright wearing leggings and a nice long top that you can feed in – people will flood in, leave after 20 minutes and a quick peek at the baby then leave you in peace.
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I think the reality is harsher; lots of women, friends, and patients have reassured me I am not alone in this epiphany. What you saw above is exactly what I envisioned before my first child – I thought I would ‘bounce back’ and be the woman post vaginal delivery who was wearing said slightly glamorous leggings (I don’t know perhaps something with a little rouging) and long top sitting in the chair looking serene.
Here is the truth for many: people do pop into the hospital to say hello, drop gifts, see the baby. But firstly, they don’t leave after 20 minutes, somehow they hang around for over an hour unable to read your face which clearly says, “you need to leave so I can ice my sore vagina.”
People bring, let’s be very honest, often useless gifts for the baby or flowers – as you say “thank you” the thought “could you not bring a bloody pizza or sushi roll” crosses your mind – of course, you quickly bat the thought away reminding yourself, half-heartedly, that flowers can be very useful for newborns.
The truth is that in the post-partum period – in the immediate days and weeks post-birth – people RARELY ask the mother how they are doing. People coo over the baby with; does it look like both of you, or 60% you and 40% your partner and how can hands really be that small?
The baby gets the focus, the partner – if there is one – generally stands around or sits comfortably in the chair enjoying the fanfare because let’s be fair, who wouldn’t.
The mother, however, can be seated in the corner, quietly wondering what the f*ck is actually going on, and how everything could hurt so much and be so different in a split second.
In pregnancy, the spotlight tends to be on the mother, “you’re glowing” “oh my gosh look at your hair”, post-birth however, suddenly you’re in the corner with Shannon Noll’s nasal version of “What about me?” blaring loudly.
On her recent tour of South Africa, Meghan Markle responded to a journalist who asked how she was travelling as a new mother in the public eye – her response included “thank you for asking, not many people have asked if I’m OK.” She gave other insights into being a new mum in the public eye with tears in her eyes.