A New Mom's Journey #BackTooSoon

DYK 1 in 4 women return to work within just 2 WEEKS of giving birth!? Do you remember how you felt with a two-week-old? Are you on this journey right now? Follow this new mom* in the first two weeks of Baby's life. It'll take a village, and we need your experience, strength and hope! #BackTooSoon #PaidLeave

*Fictional story based off real experiences from women in our community

Prenatal Visit

39 weeks today. I had my weekly prenatal check-up. I love hearing Baby’s heartbeat! It’s so reassuring. I’ve gained 36 pounds (but it feels more like a ton!) My high blood pressure is a constant topic of conversation but nothing alarming. Gotta keep up the veggies, cut out the sugar and remember my prenatal vitamin. Home stretch!

Getting Ready for Labor Day...!

1,000 things are racing through my head right now! Should I bring my own robe? What about socks? Did I pack my insurance card (thank God I even have health insurance!). I’m so hungry. What if I get hungry during labor? Clear chicken broth and popsicles won’t tame this beast! I love my beau, but he better not faint during delivery! I can’t wait to meet you, Baby! <3

She’s Here! September 2

My water broke. I was laying on the couch watching tv and then suddenly - whoosh! Hello contractions! Back labor is a real thing. Ugh. Thankfully we made it to the hospital in record time… though it felt like we hit every pothole on the way.

Breathe. Breathe. Uuuuuggghhh!!!! You can do anything for 60 seconds - just get through this next contraction!

It’s a girl! OMG a sweet baby girl! She’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen (guck and all)! Aww Baby, I love you so much! I think she has my nose. Maybe daddy’s eyes. I just can’t stop staring. I want to hold you forever! I won’t let anything happen to you, Baby. I love you so much!!

I know I’m supposed to feed this Baby, but how do you do that? HELP I’ve never done this before! Can anybody help me… please?!

NICU Baby – September 3

The nurse noticed that Baby Girl is breathing heavy. That sounded like gasping. DON’T TAKE HER AWAY FROM ME! Yes, I understand NICU is her best option, but so is being with her mommy! She needs me… I need her too… Get me out of this bed!

Beep. Beep. Beeeeeeeeep. Too much beeping. Too many tubes. Too many walls between me and her.

So, this is a breast pump? O.K. let’s make some milk and get this baby strong!

Pump, Pump, Repeat September 4

Now jaundice too?! When can I hold her again? She looks so tiny. And alone. I’m alone. My beau had to go back to work. He doesn’t have many sick days, so we made the tough call and decided he should use them for when we bring our Baby Girl home. I miss him.

I keep rocking back and forth… with no baby in my arms. I can’t stop crying.

A nurse comes in. Pump, pump, repeat. Only that little bit? I hope it’s enough.

Going Home AloneSeptember 5

I got to hold her again! I think she remembered me. We tried to nurse. I’m not sure if she got any milk, but at least she could feel my skin and my warmth. I wish my beau could be here.

I get to go home. I always pictured that I’d go home with a baby in the backseat. But not today.

Crying All the TimeSeptember 6

I laid in my own bed… but couldn’t sleep. Is it normal to cry this much? And bleed this much? My body feels like it’s been in a train wreck. I haven’t pooped in days and am terrified of the idea!

Ok, I think my milk came in. How do you control these new boobs? My shirt is soaked! On my way back to the hospital as soon as I can find my shoes…

She’s Finally Home!!! September 7

YES!!! She gets to come home!!!! FINALLY!

I sit in the backseat with her and hold her hand the entire way. I’m not letting go. Ever. She’s so peaceful when she sleeps.

Her umbilical cord fell off. I’m feeling oddly sentimental. For 9 months (no, let’s be honest- 10 months), that cord connected us. That cord sustained her life! Everything I ate, she tasted. For the amount of blueberries I craved while pregnant, I bet she grows-up loving blueberries.

So TiredSeptember 8

It was a rough night. Or was it day? I can’t keep them straight. I’m SO tired.

Baby Girl cries. A LOT. I think she’s hungry. But I literally JUST fed her. Maybe she’s not getting enough milk?

How is she hungry again? … and again?!

Lactation ConsultantSeptember 9

We went to the pediatrician. Baby Girl is not back to her birth weight, so the doc told me to keep waking her to feed. Doesn’t he know that all she does is eat? My nipples are raw. They are bleeding. I want to scream just at the thought of feeding her. Does this make me a bad mom?

I got a referral for a lactation consultant, but I called and the earliest appointment is next week. Take a deep breath, I can get through this.

It's a lot! September 10

My beau sat next to me the whole night. I cried a lot. The crying, the screaming, the bleeding, the no sleeping, the pain, the exhaustion, the hormones! It’s a lot! And I only have one kid!

Baby Girl smiled at me. An angel’s smile! She has adorable dimples like her daddy. 😊

Grocery Shopping with a Newborn – September 11

I pee a little bit when I cough. Where can I get more mesh panties and those amazing ice packs for down there? I couldn’t find them online. Maybe at the store?

Hmm I wonder how you grocery shop with a newborn? I’m so hungry. When’s the last time I ate a meal?

Breastfeeding Support Group September 12

Someone on Facebook told me about a local breastfeeding support group. I managed to get out of sweatpants and into the car. Jot that down in the win column!

Wow, I’m not the only one struggling with breastfeeding. It feels kinda good to know that… but also really sad. Babies have to eat to live. And moms produce the perfect milk for babies. So shouldn’t there be more focus on helping women to feed their babies?

Good news - Baby Girl reached her birth weight! I guess that means I must be doing something right. I cried, this time out of relief.

Still Healing – September 13

There’s more bleeding down there today than there was yesterday. I thought things were supposed to be healing. Did I overdo it yesterday? Why does it still hurt?

Nipple cream, nipple shield, oh and insurance sent my breast pump today. But wait, am I supposed to pump or keep baby at the boob? I should probably start pumping and freezing.

Nursing Positions – September 14

Ouch, my boob is rock hard! I think this is a clogged milk duct. Maybe I shouldn’t have pumped? Or maybe I need to pump more? Or maybe it was using the nipple shield? Surely Google and Facebook will have answers.

Dangle feeding? I had to look up what it was. How do you get into these nursing positions? This baby doesn’t weigh much, but my arms sure are tired. Someone should have seriously advised me to take a yoga and weightlifting class before becoming a mom. Feeling grateful for my nursing pillow!

Back to Work Tomorrow – September 15

I’m still bleeding. I can’t stop crying. I haven’t slept. I haven’t figured out how to feed my baby without wanting to scream. And now you want me to leave her and go back to work? How am I going to take her to the 2-week checkup when I don’t have any sick days left? I need to get to my lactation appointment too. Is there even a place at work to pump? Those bathrooms are disgusting!

It's only been 2 weeks. I have to go back too soon.

Paid leave can transform the lives of moms, babies and families, helping them be healthier and setting them up to thrive.

Learn more about the importance of paid leave for the health of moms, babies and families here.

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Created with images by insung yoon - "untitled image" • 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič - @specialdaddy - "untitled image"