Surviving the Christmas period while healing from birth

Having a baby is hard enough work, without then having to worry about Christmas too! My daughter was born at the end of November and I was committed to honouring my own body, and the fourth trimester, so I set some boundaries really early on in my pregnancy. Coming into the silly season again (and Remy is now one!), I thought I’d share how to survive the Christmas period while still honouring your own transition to motherhood.

healing from birth

Becoming a mother is the best thing (to me it was, anyway!). It changes you to your very core.

"It is said that women in labour leave their bodies. They travel to the stars to collect the souls of their babies, and return to this world together." 

Imagine that you’ve just birthed your baby. You’re feeling that oxytocin high, you’re feeling absolutely invincible because you’ve just grown and birthed an entire human being. All you want to do is bond with your precious bundle and help yourself recover from the birth, but you’re expected to cart your baby around town visiting family, without so much as a rest.

Christmas is a very special time for families, I get that, and I hope your experience is different to mine, but I felt a lot of pressure to leave my home and do things to please everyone else. It was like the fact that I had just given birth was treated as though I’d just had a tooth filling and I should be fine.

Tips to honour your postpartum period during Christmas

postnatal doula

Work out what you want/need for you and your baby.

Whether you want to uphold the fourth trimester traditions of resting and staying home, or whether you want to host Christmas… it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re doing what you are called to do. This goes for whether your baby is passed around or not too.

Set boundaries.

Once you’ve decided what you need, set some boundaries around it. Yes, family members might not like that it doesn’t fit with their expectations. But let me tell you, you only get this healing period once. Christmas comes around every year. Stand firm in what you need, for your own body’s sake.

Make plans.

Make plans around your boundaries. Once you know what it is you need, and you have communicated your boundaries, make plans around it. Honour yourself and your baby, above what anyone else might say.

Enjoy your day!

This might seem common sense, but it’s worth mentioning! Let go of other’s expectations, ignore their comments or frustrations. Stand tall in the fact that you’re honouring your body and your baby, that you’ve just gone through a huge physical and emotional transformation and that it’s fine if others don’t understand it, but it doesn’t make it less real for you.

During your fourth trimester, your uterus shrinks back down to size, your blood replenishes itself, your body learns how to produce milk, heals a stretched (and sometimes torn) perineum. It shifts it’s immune system back to being in balance, as during pregnancy it skews so that it doesn’t attack the foreign DNA in your baby. High amounts of stress - whether physical or emotional - will delay your healing process, and leave you with potentially medium to long term issues. Mamas, please listen to your body and honour the amazing changes it has gone through during your pregnancy, and respect that it takes more than a few days to get “bounce back”.

I created some post-partum affirmation cards to give you strength in periods like this. If you’re a bit nervous about setting boundaries, or you’re not sure what it is you want or need, download these cards and hopefully you find an affirmation that resonates with you.

Carrie Rigoni