I remember the euphoric feeling I had right after my baby made its exit from my body.
The excruciating labour pain that I endured for more than 24 hours, the wooziness of the so-called pain relieving gas, the energy that I had to force out when pushing baby out – everything was gone in a blink. All that was left was a huge sense of relief that blanketed me whole.
Apparently, my misery was nothing near end.
I woke up the next day with a tremendous ache all over my body. Everything was sore down south, and the pain from the stitches was about to emerge as the painkiller slipped away. Every movement that I made hurts me, including my efforts at picking up my baby.
Nothing in the maternity ward seems to give me relief, not even the bed at the very least. The sheets felt like a piece of plastic and I loathed the fact that I had to keep on adjusting my pillows and the bed height every time I needed to move or nurse my baby.
I was far from being comfortable. All I wanted was to go home and settle down so that my body and emotions could start to heal properly.
From then on, my confinement period was all about me working hard to regain my physical and emotional strength. Besides confining myself to the sanctuary of my home, here are the things that I swear by when it comes to postpartum recovery:
Witch Hazel it up
I read somewhere on the Internet about this magical solution, where a mum raved about how it helped her perineum wounds heal. I searched everywhere for a witch hazel astringent and finally found it online. To prepare, mix the solution with a few drops of lavender essential oil in a spray bottle. Spray the solution at your perineum area after going to the loo, or spray it on your maternity pads. As a bonus, it’s also very effective treatment for haemorrhoids (trust me, these are one of the common problem many mothers face during postpartum recovery). To treat, soak a few facial squares with the solution and apply it directly on the haemorrhoids to speed up healing.
Wash with Asam Keping/ Asam Gelugor
Thanks to my confinement lady, I discovered that washing the perineum area with this solution gives a soothing feeling and also fastened the healing process. Just boil it with water (use a generous amount of asam keping for better efficacy).
Home sauna, body massage and hot stone massage
Well, these are nothing new when it comes to postpartum therapy, especially in the Malay culture. Of all the traditional do’s and don’ts, I definitely recommend these to all mothers. It helps you to relax, soothes sore muscles and helps improve blood circulation. I looked forward to each of these sessions especially during the first two weeks. I personally treat them as a “me-time” amidst my new and demanding routines and responsibilities.
Do your Kegels
Did you know that delivering a baby vaginally actually weakens the pelvic floor muscles? Therefore, during postpartum recovery there will be a time when you feel like your area down south is “hanging”, especially in the loo. The first time I felt it, I worried so much that my organs would fall off! My visiting nurse reminded me to start Kegel exercises as soon and as often as I can. It was the right advice – I noticed that it worked very fast to improve the muscles and rescued me from that worrisome “hanging” feeling!
Multivitamins and supplements
Traditional confinement diet usually means very limited choices of food. Although mine wasn’t too strict, I still consumed multivitamins consistently to help boost my energy. There are a lot of supplements to choose from these days, ranging from herbal to modern preparations. Whatever your choice is, make sure that they are safe for your consumption especially if you are breastfeeding.
Ayuni is a mum to an effervescent 4-year-old daughter and a newborn baby. She’s currently juggling motherhood and a full-time job while trying to be the next domestic goddess. She blogs about life, parenting and her homemaking endeavours at Mommy Confessionals.
Image Credit: TCRC