No one told me just how much pain I’d be in after my first C-section. The worst part was figuring out how to climb the steps in my house. And I’m just talking about a regular flight of steps here. No spiral staircases or fancy layouts just your standard run-of-the-mill 13 steps that were haunting me as I stood at the bottom. My incision burned, and even though I was Commander-in-Chief caring for the baby on the ground floor—changing diapers, and issuing chores to family members helping out—that flight of steps managed to stop me in my tracks.
So, what did I do? I did what I thought any self-respecting, new mother would do: I ignored them. Yes, I set up camp on the first floor. Moved the toothbrush to the downstairs powder room, had my husband bring down the bassinet, and made the living room recliner my bed. I told everyone it was “just easier this way.” And there I stayed for about three weeks.
It wasn’t until my second c-section that one of the hospital nurses casually mentioned during my discharge, “You know the trick to moving easily up and down the stairs in your house while you heal, right?” She went into the details. I played it cool. Oh yes, of course I knew that. Phew, she bought it.
When we got home with Baby #2 and I stood at the bottom of the staircase looking up, I felt better having a plan. I made it up just fine taking my time and using the strategy the nurse shared. But, have no fear. The simple but important lesson from this situation was not lost upon me: the power of asking for help is huge. If I had only mentioned I was struggling, I would have gotten the help I so desperately needed back when I actually needed it.
Motherhood is full of challenges. Remember to take your time and ask for help. You never know; what you learn could be a ‘step’ in the right direction.
Liz Bland is the program manager at the Women’s Emotional Wellness Center (WEWC), which offers outpatient mental health therapy services to women and their families before, during and after pregnancy.