Edited by nhklh - 10/20/13 at 2:54am
The problem is that even with ideal physiological circumstances as you describe, your body is going to be healing the site of the placental detachment and that takes time. Fortunately, your body will probably give you very direct feedback about whether you are doing too much or not: if you are, your lochia/bleeding will increase; if you aren't, it will slow down and gradually stop. In ideal circumstances, I'd put an average time of about 2 weeks to be back to somewhat normal levels of functioning? But it really depends. Recovery will be slower if you hemmoraghe (sp?), etc.
Remind us how old the other kids are? Will they be able to help to some extent? What CAN'T they help with? Who could help temporarily with those things? Even once?
Honestly for me, I didn't really get a chance to "rest"- I was in the hospital for a total of 4 hours after birth because I chose to follow my dd to the NICU (2ish hours away). My version of "rest" was to have valet parking at the hospital (after driving myself there from the ronald mcdonald house down the road and when we needed to go shopping for food/snacks I let my husband push me in a wheel chair for the first 4 days. Otherwise I did mostly sit, but I didn't get the rest (emotional or physical) that I know I needed.
We came home at 6 days postpartum and then I was up around cleaning the house, going to the store, etc. I would say other than being tired (and going to bed at night when baby did instead of staying up a few hours with my husband, I was "recovered" by 2 weeks pp. By that I mean my bleeding had stopped, and I wasn't in physical pain.
my advice if you need to be able to be the primary caregiver for the entire family- plan meals that are quick and easy, even if they aren't the healthiest. use disposable plates/cups/silverware etc as much as possible, pick a few things that are important (like having the floors clear, and laundry done) and let everything else slide. it will only be for a short time and it will give you a little peace of mind to have a little less to do. you will spend a bit more time playing catch up, but it will be worth it in the end. (also depending on the ages of your other kids they can have "helping jobs" like keeping the floors clear of toys and other things that don't belong) and maybe your partner could be in charge of filling out the bills (even if you have to be the one to take them to the mailbox) so that it will free up a few minutes of your time.
Just like the other ladies said, you may feel 'great' however don't overdo. You'll find yourself passing clots, etc. because internally you're not yet healed. I did that with my second. Felt so great, and then like 3 days in passed a clot the size of a tangerine. Called up the mw and she cautioned me to take it easy. I'd say one week of seriously taking it easy, then another week of lighter activity. Probably minimum. Your midwife can give you advice as well on it.
I felt SO good after the last baby I had to stop myself to take it easy. They told me that the more kiddos the easier the recovery, and I believe it here as that has been the case for me.
I don't think the two topics are the same, TBH, and so the two threads will both hold pertinent information. I lovingly asked for the Golden Month thread to be kept positive and within the topic and I don't feel like that was rude or out of line and I am sorry if you didn't feel the same. My apologies. I can't read your tone, but I can say that this definitely doesn't feel like it was meant to be nice and it did hurt my feelings.
I wish someone had told me it would be that much or had said it in that way. I definitely spent that much time, if not more with baby at breast for the first 4 weeks. My DD was an avid nurser. I even went to LLL meeting before birth and although I was a bit prepared for it living it was intense! I expect to nurse around the clock again, so anything less would be welcome ; )
i know for a fact i didn't get enough recovery time with dd, or rather i did too much while i had help who could have done it. i bled heavilly for a month, and then off and on two more weeks. i had help the first 10 days, but then parents had to go home and dh had to go back to work (12 hour nights at that point) and it was just me. i will have about that same amount of recovery time this time, but i know this time to *not do anything* during those days and actually take full advantage of the help i have for the time i have it.
the age of your older kids can make a big difference. a 9 or 10 year old can make sandwiches or wash dishes. a 7 or 8 year old can be shown how to run a load of laundry. a 4 or 5 year old can help with folding. even a2 or 3 year old can fetch a clean diaper and pick up their own toys. i would delegate as much as possible. kids can handle a surprising amount of responsibilities, and often get a sense of pride out of getting to help mom/the family.
Posting this here so as not to drag down the golden month thread.....
I need to know more about normal birth recovery times. I realise, of course, that it's going to be different for everyone, but assuming everything goes normally, I don't tear much, if at all, and everyone is fit and well, what's the minimum I can expect to be out of action for? I know resting is ideal and so on, but that's just not realistic in a household where the only other adult is not able-bodied and requires my care, and with 2 other children, and no support.
In my experience a lot of it depends on the baby. My first was very high needs from the get go and it caused me a lot of anxiety and made sleeping/relaxing hard. So for me it was all a blur of just plain tiredness and getting done what little I could when she would actually let me put her down. I remember DH went back to work after 1 week and then it was just me 100%. I really don't remember when I stopped feeling tired but I do remember being at the mall when she was 8 days old (because her belly stump fell off when I was changing her diaper)....but it was summer time.
By the time DS was born I had 3 kids (between my bio, adopted and foster). He was an easy baby and I think it made my recovery easier. I did have a second degree tear but I don't remember it slowing me down at all. I know that after the first week I was back on 100% mom duty (and DH was back to working 2 jobs) but I don't remember it being a problem physically.
I agree with a lot of what mothership said...pick the couple things that are biggies/high priorities and let the rest go. For me that is always dishes and laundry...the rest has to wait. I know I gave the kids things for dinner that I probably would not have otherwise and that they didn't all get a book before bed and those kinds of things if DH was working his night job.
As far as the bleeding and rest part I guess I never put the two together. For me it was kind of like having a month long period (heavier in the beginning and got lighter). I don't remember feeling like I needed to slow down because of it.
I think having to stop during the day to nurse a baby 6-8 times is forced rest enough (for me)! I agree with you, rest is great but just not a reality in a lot of homes.
I completely agree with this! especially the bold. I operate under that notion--not for the kiddos, but for YOU--when you do things for others that they can and should be doing for themselves you are turning yourself into a martyr and that never feels good! There is a difference between lovingly taking care of your family and doing everything for them! Only you can set that boundary for yourself and it isn't easy when you are used to 'doing' it all and it sure sounds like you are, but that isn't fair! No one will do things the exact way that you do them, but that is ok. They will find out how to do them in a way that works for them and you just have to allow that and see how much it really does help to have the kids do some of this stuff on their own.
My DD is 3 and she feeds the cat 2x a day, of course when I ask her to, she doesn't remember on her own, but I say, 'derby is hungry he is meowing he needs his food, please' and she get his dish and scoops it out--everything is at her level so it is easy for her and she loves doing it. it took some work to get her into it, but now she tells me,'everyone has to help and teamwork in a family and I feed derby all by myself!' I know boys bathroom habits can be atrocious, but i would NOT be cleaning up pee on the floor from them at this age, honestly! 8 and 4 is definitely old enough for them to be taught how to do that themselves. Make up a squirt bottle with vinegar and water and your favorite essential oil and hang it right next to the toilet and let them know that they are to squirt the floor anytime they pee on it--show em how! DD loves to 'clean' the floor when she spills something on it. And at 8 years old I was certainly doing the dishes and laundry on my own! My mom was a single parent and those wee two things I did daily for myself and for her. Of course, I understand that every child is different as cielo mentions, but I would definitely take the time to start showing them the importance of their role within the family especially since you will be doing infant care now.
Another difference between children that I will just mention is willingness. DS1 is 8. I am sure that mechanically he is perfectly capable of doing dishes and laundry, etc. But emotionally he is not, he is not willing and I think that's mostly because frustration is so difficult for him. But we do insist that he do SOME stuff and even though he still fights us on it 95% of the time, it is good for him to have to because he learns (gradually) that he actually IS capable. Every day he has to help clean up the floors at night (our house is very open and toys go everywhere - kids don't have rooms or even a playroom to contain them). He also often feeds the dog and walks the dog (he is a physically big 8 year old and nobody is going to mess with someone with a 50 lb dog in our neighborhood). He is also capable of clearing the table, emptying the tub (our shower arrangment leaves much to be desired and has no drain currently), putting in a load of laundry, putting away dry dishes, starting a fire in the wood stove, carrying in wood, etc. He could do dishes but he takes forever so usually I prefer to do that myself.
DS2 is 6. He isn't allowed to walk the dog by himself (he's lighter than the dog!) and he's not really physically capable of emptying the tub, but he can do most of the other stuff his big brother can. He is also a much more detail-oriented, organized kind of person so he is also able to put clean clothes away and will sometimes demand that I let him put the dishes away because he'll put stuff where it actually belongs whereas DS1 is more haphazard.
DD is 3. She CAN tidy up toys although she doesn't like to. We're just starting to work with her on actually helping out with that. She also likes to feed the dog, although she needs help to get the rodent-proof bin of dog food open.
Just sharing to give some ideas of what real live actual not terribly naturally helpful kids might be able to do.
Nkhkl - might there be a local teenager who would be willing to come in and be mothers' helper for an hour a day for the first week or so? I agree that you know a lot about dealing with the newborn period and that recovery from a vaginal birth will likely be easier than recovery from a c/s, so I don't know that you especially would need a dedicated post-partum doula, even if you could find one. But a teenager who you could pay a nomial fee to for some minor household tasks might be worth his/her weight in gold . . .. I think that is what I would do if I didn't have the kind of support I (very, very luckily) will have.
Check out this article nhklh:
I agree that all kids are different - in their abilities, their willingness, etc. When we moved into our home about a year ago, and the 12 kids were interacting a lot more (without the 'I'm just gonna go to MY house to get away from you' as an option), we made this huge chart - it's a circle, and each kid has a little section on each side. One side says 'needs' and the other says 'contributions.' (I'm actually remembering we started this even before the move). Each child said what they need or get from our family - love, food, clean laundry, hugs, you name it. Then on the other side is a list of what they contribute to the family - sense of humor, smiles, hugs, feeding pets, helping with dishes, etc. We also had a list of what the grown-ups need & contribute. now, of COURSE the grown-ups do a LOT more work. We are the adults. But seeing - in full color so to speak - how much work it takes for the adults to have our household work was a huge eye-opener for many of the kids. We don't speak of it in terms of what is 'fair' or not, but rather, we are all in this together - how can we support one another? Everyone, from my 43 yo DH down to the 2 yo helps out, in the ways s/he can. I'm mentioning this here because I think it could be helpful for other families where willingness to help out is an issue.