Who knew you would feel anything but elation to feel lighter and begin getting your body back to yourself after birth? The pregnancy and birth books don’t prepare you for this feeling after delivering your sweet new bundle of joy. Fellow moms that have gone before you on the path of motherhood forget about this little detail, too.
The fact is you do feel a little empty after birth and it’s kinda sad for a few fleeting moments along the timeline of our growth into motherhood.
Yes, you feel joy and happiness that triumphs it all (unless you are experiencing PPD, in which case please reach out for help). I know that I often ride my “birth high” for weeks postpartum and am so glad my newest member is finally in my arms as I fall deeper in love. But, you can’t deny the bitter that comes with the sweet. You literally feel empty, like a once filled bowl with its contents now in our arms instead. A hollowness is left physically– except your empty bowl is now more like jello.
Where there once was a life moving inside you, it is now still. Where there was once another beating heart, it is now quiet.
You had a constant companion where ever you went– someone to talk to and send beams of love to at any time. You slept together, went shopping together, took car rides and walks. Heck, even to the bathroom you always had a buddy! And, really, the belly shelf your companion provided for those late night meals on the couch was pretty awesome. Now your arms are full and the weight is simply redistributed at many times, yet there is still an odd empty sensation.
It wasn’t just your belly that was full, but also your heart. A strong, invisible bond to the heart was made along with the umbilical cord connecting you two physically. Once birth happens, the umbilical may be cut separating the two physical beings, but the heart bond isn’t. After the baby is born, the sense of super closeness is shifted from internally to externally. Suddenly you are looking out to check on our baby’s wellbeing– maybe in your arms or maybe in a crib nearby– instead of inward. Now, even being in a room next door feels like a mile of space and a sense of “something is missing” may overcome.
It takes some readjusting to this new emptiness. There is a mild grief we experience along with the excitement that our baby is finally here after months of waiting to see their face. So often though the focus is on the baby adjusting to life outside the womb, which is one reason why moms are encouraged to hold their babies and baby wear often during the “fourth trimester.” Often you’ll hear that it’s for the baby’s benefit to ensure they feel safe, loved, and provided for which means they are happier babies– but what they don’t tell you is that moms need that time to transition, too.
So don’t be afraid to hold your baby “too much” and forget about “spoiling” the baby. Soak in the snuggles, treasure the nursing. You both are adjusting to this new life with new sensations– together. You both have spent nine months in one perspective, it takes time to readjust to a new perspective here in the beginning. Holding each other along the way makes it all the more sweeter.