5 postpartum taboos worth telling

The mental load, your body, bonding with your baby… Let’s focus on 5 postpartum taboos.
You’ve just given birth and your life isn’t exactly what you expected? Let’s focus on 5 postpartum taboos to help you find your mark

1. Bonding with your baby isn’t always innate

Your baby has arrived, and you’re supposed to be the happiest person on Earth! Officially, yes, but unofficially, you may feel a little lost and may think that it’s not normal or even shameful to say it out loud. Sometimes the wave of unconditional love for your baby may take a little time to come. Is this a problem? No! 
This doesn’t mean that you don’t feel enough love for your baby, you simply need to find your bearings, and time to intellectualize that your pregnancy is over and that you baby is born.

On the other hand, this may become a problem if you keep it all to yourself because you fear others’ judgment. If you don't dare talk about it with your loved ones, turn to a midwife or groups of mums. Our guide also contains all you wanted to know about pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood and have never dared to ask.


2. Physical discomfort is part of postpartum

Physical discomforts range from lochia (post-delivery bleeding) which lasts from 7 days to 6 weeks, afterpains (uterus contractions) which are more common in multiparous women, healing of a cesarian section, an episiotomy or a tear, engorged breasts during breastfeeding, bladder weakness, to perineum rehab… No wonder why so little is said about these inconveniences after childbirth.
And yet! After 9 months of conceiving a baby (or 2 or 3!) and delivering it, your body needs time to recover. And this recovery happens through several phenomena that can be uncomfortable or even painful.

Remember that each woman will experience one or more inconveniences at different intensities and talking about it (to your loved ones, to a midwife or friends) is essential.
Sharing will avoid finding yourself alone with your unanswered questions and doubts, wondering if that clot in your panties is normal during postpartum bleeding, or wondering what to do about your scar that still hurts or about those red patches on your chest.


3. Baby’s arrival may be challenging for your couple

Feeling like you and your partner are in two different worlds? Arguing on just about everything? Are you questioning your relationship?... and your baby hasn’t turned one yet… This situation has a name: the baby clash.
When a child arrives, couples experience a real tsunami. Fatigue, a frenetic pace, all those questions, your possible idealization of family life, a lower libido, no more time for two... your couple’s dynamics are turned upside down completely. Without realizing it, the beginning of turmoil can become repetitive and more difficult to overcome.

While there’s no miracle solution, communicating can only help to make yourself heard, but also to better understand what your partner feels. Dialogue is key. Except that lack of sleep and tensions with your partner can sometimes make it difficult to find the necessary energy and time to fix things. If you feel that it’s getting more and more difficult to (re)establish this dialogue, consider seeing a professional to accompany you.


4.    Your belly becomes soft and empty

While women are now starting to speak out more and show more of their bodies after childbirth (especially on social networks), the physical changes of a woman during postpartum remains a real taboo.

In our interview, Eve Simonet told us that one of the reasons for this taboo is “that we don’t really want to see this empty, soft, flabby recovering body.            We worship women’s pregnant bodies, but we don't want to see what they look like afterwards. This is because our society is extremely demanding of women and the appearance of their bodies!” Likewise, a woman sometimes finds it difficult to touch that empty, soft belly or to look at herself in front of a mirror. Women put pressure on themselves to lose weight (and wrongly imagine most of it will vanish during childbirth). This weight issue also plays an important role in a mother’s well-being and can contribute to creating postpartum discomfort.


5. And the mental load comes in!

Cooking, laundry, house chores, grocery shopping, paperwork… all this needs to be done no matter the sleepless nights, no matter your very demanding baby and zero time for yourself.

This is when you discover the “mental load” you need to deal with. It can be a very tough experience after being at center stage when you were pregnant, and when everyone cared about YOU. Now that your baby has arrived, you’re expected to recover in just a few days, to be available for everything and to go back to work as if nothing had happened.

This is the official discourse, which makes us want to do always more and better...at the risk of forgetting ourselves and breaking down (the famous “parental burnout”). Here’s a tip to help you out in this difficult period: reach out for help and delegate everything you can, especially after giving birth. Delegating can only help you manage this new rhythm.

To better understand this very special period, find our article on postpartum here

If you’re worried you could have antenatal or postnatal anxiety or depression, be assured that many other women and men have come through this experience to find joy and fulfillment as a parent. You are not alone, and you don’t have to go through it alone

External sources of stress can be distressing and tricky to navigate, and everyone has their own coping styles in these moments. Some coping styles are more effective than others when you’re dealing with unknowns and events beyond your control in life. Panda has written a great guide to help you find your way, and look after yourself and your baby in any situation.

Your GP or Child and Family Health Nurse are here to accompany you in this journey. If you're finding it difficult to talk with a health professional about how you are feeling, PANDA's Helpline can provide a safe, secure space to speak about your concerns.

PANDA National Helpline (Monday to Saturday): 1300 726 306