Be Gentle...Be Patient

Posted by Inte'a DeShields on

The best pregnancy and postpartum advice I received was packaged in a few simple words.
 
In 2016, I was pregnant with a clear pregnancy and delivery plan. Over the last few years, I have received tons of unsolicited advice about parenting and self-care. My baby is now two and a half years old and the best advice I received was offered immediately after giving birth. 
 
I stayed active during my pregnancy and still managed to gain 100 LBS. I asked my doctor if something was wrong and she gently reminded me that every pregnancy is different. Add to that, every recovery and postpartum journey is different too. After delivery, I wanted nothing more than to “snap back.” I tried to jump back into running but had no abdominal strength. I was also writing my dissertation and couldn’t seem to fit a regular workout into my schedule. During this time I was nursing my infant, running my bricks-and-mortar storefront, writing my dissertation, and occasionally, working as an adjunct professor. 
 
On one of my writing days, I bumped into a mama while in Teavolve Cafe. She asked me, “How are feeling? How are you doing?” I excitedly quipped that I was doing well and ready to get back to running. In reality, my recovery plan did not include running—not yet at least. She looked at me with serious gentility and said, “Be gentle with your body. Be patient with yourself.” 
 
It seems so simple but easy to forget that pregnancy changes you. That little life makes a place for itself inside of you, and you have no control over how it chooses to situate itself in there. I heard and saw a range of suggestions on how to get back to your pre-pregnancy self. Oddly, much of what I saw on social media and heard did not suggest or encourage patience and gentleness in the postpartum self-care regimen. It seemed that many of those who offered postpartum advice rarely offered the mother some allowance or encouragement to let her body go through its recovery gently.
 
The snap programs though good for some didn't fit my lifestyle, but that nugget of advice was was I needed to not put undue pressure on myself during my postpartum and parenting journey.
 
In this new year, and with whatever you have planned, I hope you remember to, "Be gentle with your body. Be patient with yourself." The imprints of pregnancy and the little life that is now flourishing make it all worth it. That applies to anything you may be creating, birthing, and developing. 
XX
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