When we go from being active and independent to recovering from surgery and looking after a brand-new human, our confidence can really take a hit.
I know it did for me.
If you read my last blog post you would know that a caesarean was not the outcome I expected when I entered the hospital and I didn’t realise just how much recovery time was really needed.
I was probably a little naïve and hadn’t done my research, but for some reason the fact that a caesarean was major abdominal surgery didn’t really register until after the pain killers had worn off.
I did find that by taking it slowly, being intuitive and kind to myself, I had a fairly straightforward and quick recovery, and for that I am truly grateful.
Here are some tips that I want to share with you to help you recover in mindful way from your caesarean:
1. If you’ve just had your caesarean, the next couple of weeks are your opportunity to do nothing but look after your baby. Remember that the more you rest now, the more revitalised you will feel in the long run. Whilst it is important to move gently (I’m talking very short walks, moving your legs around for circulation and to prevent blood clots) rest is equally as important. I give you full permission to lay on the couch in the newborn bubble! Doing too much too soon could result in postpartum injury or depletion, and nobody wants that.
2. Allow people to bring you nourishing meals (warm, slow cooked and easy to digest food is best for recovery). If you have family or friends close by then ask if they wouldn’t mind helping you out by cooking a meal, coming to give your house a little tidy, holding the baby so you can shower, etc. Alternatively, you could hire a postpartum doula to do these things for you and to help you in any way you and your family need in those early days.
3. When you are able to safely remove the surgical tape from your scar, wash the scar gently with warm salt water. I remember feeling really scarred to remove my bandage and look at my scar but I remember as the days and weeks went on, I grew to adore my scar.
4. When your scar has completely healed, a really lovely thing to do is to begin to massage it with a natural oil (fractionated coconut or a scar healing oil from clean brands such as Weleda work wonders). When you massage your scar and the area surrounding your scar it can be great to repeat an affirmation such as “I am grateful for this beautiful scar, it brought life and light into the world” or anything else that resonates with you.
5. When you feel ready (for me this wasn’t until around 13 weeks postpartum) you might like to introduce exercises other than walking into your routine. I started with postnatal Pilates and did that for quite a while before doing any higher intensity exercise. Movement is so wonderful for your postnatal recovery and your mental health. It is also a wonderful way to connect with other Mumma’s.
6. Take it slower than you’d like to, try to regularly give thanks to your scar and your beautiful body for all it has been through and all it has achieved and know that although your body may never be the same, you are now stronger than you ever were before you became a Mumma.
Sofia and I at postnatal Pilates when I was about 15 weeks postpartum, incorporating mindful movement, postnatal recovery and connecting with other new Mumma's on the same journey.