Uncovering the Lies of Postpartum {Part 2}

uncovering the lies of postpartum

Happy Tuesday, friends! Last week we kicked off a mini-series on some of the lies we tell ourselves, or are told by others, during postpartum. My hope is that by discussing some of these, moms will see that they are free to explore this beautiful journey in their own unique way and find what works for them.

Last Thursday we discussed the lie that you have to do it on your own, which can take on many forms. I talked about my struggle with PPD and how I believed asking for help was somehow admitting weakness.

Today we we will talk about lie #2: You have to share your first mothering moments with the world.uncovering the lies of postpartum 2

The iPhone made it’s grand entrance shortly after my first son was born. Although I immediately wanted one, I held out for several years before taking the plunge into the world of smart phones. Crazy, I know.

Now, as I peruse Facebook, I can instantly see the status of all of my pregnant friends and know when their babies enter the world. There are few things that make my empty uterus jump more than the sight of a newborn on the screen of my phone, complete with squinted eyes, wrinkly skin and that pinkness that says, “I’m new here.”

And then there’s the moms. I see their tired faces and their bodies, still stretched from the life they once held, and I think how brave they are. Not just because they brought new life into the world, although few things braver than that, but because they are sharing it.

Make-up or not, they are letting people into a sacred moment in their lives. They are giving a little glimpse of the miracle which just took place.

I get it. After the birth of my second child, I was sharing pictures all over the wide world of social media. But after the my first son was born in 2006, well, let’s just say I’m glad smart phones hadn’t made their grand debut.

The first pictures taken of me after my emergency c-section remind me of a scene from Night of the Living Dead. Not only do I dislike sharing them with others, I don’t even like looking at them myself. I can see the shock and the grief on my face. I can remember the anxiety and the lost feeling.

I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know when the last time I slept was.

But in the midst of the uncertainty came an unexpected gift: my mother-in-law. She cooked and she cleaned. She rocked her new grandson and fed him during the 48 hours I couldn’t. And she didn’t take my picture.

As a person who has a difficult time asking for help, she offered me more than I could have asked for in my fragmented words. But I didn’t have to ask, because she simply gave.

New moms, expecting moms, and moms who have been there and back again, can I tell you something?

You have permission to forge into the life-changing journey of motherhood without an audience.

You have permission to bond with your baby without the an electronic device beeping notifications every five minutes. You can leave the dishes in the sink, keep your bathrobe on until noon and fluff the clothes in the dryer on repeat.

Jesus tells us in Matthew to, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV) Friends, this isn’t just a physical rest but a spiritual rest. It’s a heart that is free of striving, people-pleasing, and weighty expectations of others.

So here’s my promise. If you want to share those first moments between you and your baby, I will enjoy them with you and marvel at those tiny toes and fingers. But if it’s weeks before you post your first picture or host your first “meet the baby” ordeal, I will support you with grace upon grace.

This road is hard enough without us feeling the pressure to be social media-ready and host-ready within days of birthing a baby into the world. We need support, yes. And I’m sure most of us want to share the joy of this new chapter with others.

But let us do it in our own time, in our own way, and without any added weight on our shoulders. Let us rest in knowing even if no one else sees, the Creator does.

 

Linking up with these beautiful communities: #RaRaLinkup, Intentional Tuesday, Coffee for Your Heart

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10 thoughts on “Uncovering the Lies of Postpartum {Part 2}

  1. Hip hip hooray, Abby! For saying something so important. It used to be that we shared pictures on facebook of stuff that happened a week ago. Now it’s like instagram, I guess. (I don’t use.) But there’s a pressure to have your life on social media, LIVE, as it’s happening.

    I shudder to think of my postpartum pictures on social media. And when I got home from the hospital with Andres, after 30 hours of non-stop visitors (in El Salvador 🙂 ), there were guests waiting to see us. I had a screaming baby and swollen milk glands. We had to politely tell them we weren’t up for a visit!

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    • Yeah we sent one or two people away too, Betsy. I felt terrible, but when baby and I actually managed to sleep I knew I had to take advantage of it. 😉 Thanks so your life-giving words here today. Blessed by you, as always! xoxo

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  2. Consider me another sister who also struggles to ask for help. The postpartum period was particularly challenging, and I also went through PPD. Thank you for affirming that we don’t have to go through this journey of motherhood alone.

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  3. Abby, what a needed encouragement your words are …. not just for the new mother but for all of us. I remember a few years ago people waited to share their vacation pictures until they were safely home so no one broke in while they were gone. Now, with Instagram and Periscope there is this pressure to share life as it happens. I say, Live your life. Enjoy the moments. And then invite others in when you’re ready. Thank you, friend, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday. : )

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  4. Such wise and gracious words, Abby. Its crazy how we feel so compelled to invite everyone into everything we do these day. I’m often tempted to shut the whole of social media down, except sadly it’s become the only way I stay in touch with some people (that’s a whole ‘nother post, right?) I love that you encourage moms to savor those first sweet moments rather than put them on display.

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  5. Abby, this is SO GOOD. I’ve been there, and I thought I was being unsociable because I just wanted time alone with the baby when he was born. We didn’t have smart phones, but people wondered why I didn’t want a bunch of visitors:) Thank you for dispelling the myth that new mommies need to live up to a standard or do what other new moms are doing. I pray your words are a welcome relief to many!

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  6. Abby, what great encouragement to new moms . . to let go of any stress to keep on with social media. I loved the cozy little world created in the hospital those few days after a baby was born. The babymoon is a small niche of time. Love the permission to cocoon those first days.

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