...and I have…but I should have accepted help!
Anyone who knows me well, knows I’m stubborn when it comes to sitting back and letting people do things for me. Or as my Latvian friend, Liva, said to me last week when we met up “you’re SO British”!! If I have someone in my house, I have to be the one to make the tea, do the washing after…God forbid someone offer to cook for me or do my laundry! But sometimes you really should just let people help. And I’m learning my lesson the hard way…
Mattie is 11 weeks old tomorrow! In that short time, TWICE have I said to myself (and openly admitted to other people!) “I really should have let people help me”.
The last two weeks, my husband has been in Singapore on business, leaving me with a sleepy, but hungry 8 week old and a 4 year old bundle of energy. I was scared, I will admit- how would I manage with two kids? How could I actually manage the logistics of bedtime ON MY OWN??? How would I then get all 3 of us sorted out in the mornings to get Lauren to school on time?
My goal for these 15 days and 15 nights was to survive….
And I did…and I totally rocked it! Kids in bed without any fuss every night by 8pm. Lauren to school on time every day. Parents-teacher meetings attended, homework done. I also fitted in two meetings for my TeamMama business, Mattie’s first vaccinations, a birthday party (4 year old, sadly not adult!), a say trip to Southampton to visit my Mum in hospital and met up with good friends…not to mention the after school activities for Lauren (ballet, modern, tennis). I had something on EVERY SINGLE DAY.
My mum had insisted on coming to stay to help while Michael was away, and I very reluctantly agreed…after all, that would be accepting help, yes? Sadly, she wasn’t able to make it due to a lengthy stay in hospital. My mum’s husband offered to help. My Dad offered to help. My sister offered to help. Friends offered to come and help do chores, or hold Mattie while I slept or did what I needed to do. I declined all. I was fine. And I was…
But was I???
I was coping no problem mentally, and getting all the things done I needed to without stress or difficulty…but little did I realise my postnatal body wasn’t taking the strain well.
Nine days into Michael’s trip, my back went. It wasn’t really bad, in that I could move around, but boy did it hurt, and it felt like the slightest thing would cause it to really go. I was worried! I still had almost a week to go on my own with 2 small children. Luckily it coincided with two things.
- My wonderful sister, who was able to hold Mattie for a few hours, take Lauren out for some groceries and just take the general strain from me for an afternoon.
- And the arrival of a very attractive pair of Solidea support shorts as recommended by my physio. These are to help with the activation of my abdominal muscles at times when I’m doing that little bit more than perhaps my body can manage (when I return to massage, when I’m doing the school run pushing a pushchair with a 4 year old on a buggyboard…). They’re not necessarily suitable for everyone, so definitely get advice from a womens’ health physio before wearing them.
Luckily, these two things, plus some self release work, and stretches, sorted me out almost by the next day, and two days later my back was fine.
I’ve also noticed that in the week following this wake up call, my prolapse symptoms have worsened. This also happened in the early weeks following Mattie’s arrival. We had visitors every day for 2 weeks. And me being me had to be the hostess with the mostess….and supermum…and everything else. I went from feeling amazing about my pelvic floor following birth, to worried about what I’d done to myself just 2 weeks later as I started to feel my insides dropping, and loosing the sensation of connecting with my pelvic floor muscles.
Thankfully, in both instances, taking things back, toning things down, listening to my body better, and being more sensible about what I was doing, things have improved. Most importantly…letting people help me.
Most days my body feels strong and back to normal as I go about my day-to-day life…but it doesn’t take much to remind me that I’m still in a very vulnerable place, and really need to take care with what I’m doing.
If you’re early stages postnatal, please accept help when offered, ask for help when it’s not, and don’t be as stubborn, or “British” as I am! And most of all, listen to what your body is saying to you.