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What do empty crisp packets have to do with postpartum?

My book review of After Birth, by Jessica Hatcher-Moore

Prolapses can be reversed? This author eludes that yes, yes they can…

I don’t know about you, but my body is becoming more bewildering as I age. I’m currently five months post-partum with my first child, and I’m ALWAYS wondering “should it have gone like that …” or “is it normal?”... among the million other things that we as parents juggle (including the commencement of solids in a few short weeks for our family… eek!).

Picking up the book After Birth, I was instantly charmed by the authors blunt and charismatic story telling (perhaps that’s just my love for english accents & quirks?). The purpose of this book isn’t to tell a story, it is to explain in factuality the things that CAN happen post-partum, whilst explaining even though its common doesn’t mean we have to soldier on with it.

In fact, not soldiering on is what this author argues is best for our babies and partners so we can focus all our energies on the right things (therefore not being uncomfortable and/or fatigued while mothering).

As with every story of pregnancy, birth, postpartum and parenthood, it is refreshingly and frustratingly true that every single time is a different experience. Same body, different baby. Different time, different recovery. Different growth, different discharge… I don't think this truth will ever feel comfortable to me.

Don’t expect this book to be a “this is what I should eat & do” style book, because the author time and time again explains the importance of getting professional help when things are feeling not quite right… But what does “not quite right” mean, you ask? That’s where I think this book comes in at the perfect time. Hatcher-Moore speaks to medical professionals in including physiotherapists, psychologists, as well as referencing studies and other authors.

Like most books I enjoyed reading during pregnancy, this book has snippets of a broad range of womens experiences, not just research based information. I have always found these comforting and gives me a sense of "ahhhh thank you Jesus!" and makes me feel more connected to all other mothers who have been, currently are, and who will be going through these new (to us) realities.

When discussing the topic of weaning, the author asks “why had my once-firm tissue become rather pendulous and uninspiring? ‘Like empty crisp packets’ as a friend bemoaned.” I think I just snorted coffee through my nose.

Oh the things to look forward to are wide & varied!!!!!

There is such a thing as postnatal depression for fathers, and in the final chapter, the author speaks directly to partners. Do your relationship a favour and borrow this book from the library (like I did) or buy it just for these 36 pages, labelled “Advice to partners”. A powerful piece of writing.

Thers a tough balance for us as mothers in leaning between intuition and knowing when to get more help. Does finding what we truly need get more obvious as we age?

All in all, an enjoyable, easy, educational read. I am going to buy the book and keep it ready for you during your weary postpartum period, like I wish I did for my first postpartum.

For those who don’t want to read the book, my biggest takeaways are:

1.    See a physiotherapist after EVERY birth… or else (read the book to find out)!

2.    Just because something is common, doesn’t mean it’s healthy or we have to cope with it

3.    If you go to the GP and your concerns aren’t addressed or your particular concern isn’t improving and you want a referral to a specialist, go back and make it happen. You know your body best. You can get referrals to specialists such as physios & dietitians who can get a medicare rebate too!

Praying you have a thriving, well-supported fourth trimester & ongoing postpartum period…

All the love

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