Postpartum Was So Much More Challenging Than I Thought

Mansi, Data Science Manager, Singapore, her son was born in July 2018

One of the best pieces of advice I received during my pregnancy is not to google anything. I am glad I didn’t so I did not stress out. One day when I came back home from work in the 37th week my water broke. I was not prepared at all. The doctor asked me to wait in the hospital for the contraction to start. However even with the help of labor induction chemical my contraction still did not start after more than 30 hours. I had to go through a C-section in the end, which was unexpected but my husband and I were fine with it. It was a very long drawn and stressful event. The two days after the C-section were very tough. I felt very painful and I was not able to move.

Postpartum was so much more challenging than being pregnant. I wish I knew earlier. My son would latch on for more than one hour continuously for each feeding and there was not much time in between feedings. I was basically glued to the chair around the clock and got very little sleep. I was glad that my husband would feed my son with a bottle at night sometimes so that I could get a bit more sleep. It was hard to have any personal time with my husband. Everything was about the baby. Having a good breast pump really helps. Medela freestyle is portable and works well, and the spectra S1 model seems to have the best suction. 

Coming back to work after the maternity leave was another challenge. I am a data science manager for 11 people and the data science field evolves very fast. When I returned to work my team expected me to be at the top of my game and looked up to me just like before. There was so much to catch up after being fully occupied in a new mother’s world for more than 4 months, and I needed to make a lot of decisions everyday. I simply felt inadequate and cried almost everyday at the beginning after I returned to work. I had to work extra hard. I slowly found my cadence to balance work and family time after a few months. Most people in my team are young with no kids, so they don’t quite understand how important it is for me to get home before 6pm, the golden time to play with my son before he gets sleepy.

One advice I would give to women who are thinking about having a baby is to strengthen the core muscles and the pelvic floor before getting pregnant. It’s extremely important because carrying the baby would be a lot more demanding than you think.

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