this post was written by Jessica Abele, PT, DPT, NCS, owner of Therapy Roo
Dear New Mom,
Like many women, you may have waited a full six weeks before seeing your OB after giving birth. You struggled and pushed and stayed up all hours, and maybe had major abdominal surgery (hi, c-section), and then a few days later you were waved out the door with an infant and no instruction manual. Six weeks of a whole new life: crying, rocking, pain, joy, struggle, love, and drama. Then, you get to your six week postpartum visit, sleep deprived and overwhelmed, and your OB says that you’re “healed” and “good to go” back to exercise, sex, and work. And you were probably thinking, “What?!?!
I want you to know that no woman has ever told me they felt back to normal at six weeks postpartum. You are not alone. The six week visit can be traumatic because of the vast chasm between how you feel now and what you knew as normal before. You may look at your OB and wonder if they really recognize you, do they really see you?
Though your OB means well, you may feel behind the curve or ashamed of your current body and how different it is. You may worry your OB is saying this is your “new normal”, and that this is all the recovery you can hope to achieve. This shame or worry may stop you from sharing how you really feel with others. You look around at other postpartum women and wonder, “Is this just me?” No, it’s not just you, and we need to talk about this together!
I want you to know that we’re here to help. Your body took nine months to prepare for this and will need time to recover. Fun fact: just the uterus shrinking back down to normal size takes about 12 weeks! There will be so many changes and you need knowledgeable, caring providers supporting you through this process. In some other countries (bonjour, France!), this is standard care. Every postpartum woman gets pelvic floor PT. We need this support here in the United States AND we need to talk openly about our bodies and how we really feel.
You do not have to get used to incontinence, painful sex, feeling weak in your core, or pelvic pain. Please reach out to pelvic floor PTs, postpartum doulas, support groups, and of course, The Lotus Method, to help you on this journey.
Jess, Therapy Roo PT