How do women experience the first week at home after giving birth? Georgia Witkin talks to three women about their experience.
Dr. Georgia Witkin: Hi I'm Dr. Georgia Witkin. Kimberly Pauley: And I'm Kimberly Pauley. Dr. Georgia Witkin: And I'm Kimberly's mother. Kimberly Pauley: And I'm the mother of 2 boys. Dr. Georgia Witkin: Which makes me GG for Grandma Georgia. Kimberly Pauley: So, welcome to GG and me. Dr. Georgia Witkin: We talked about everything. Kimberly Pauley: Well, the reason I talk to my mother about everything is that she is a proffer of psychiatry, professor of OB-GYN, she has written 10 books on stress, and she is a Fox News contributor. Dr. Georgia Witkin: And Kimberly is a lawyer, a columnist, a college professor, and pregnant. Kimberly Pauley: So, we're gonna be talking about pregnancy. Please join us. Dr. Georgia Witkin: So, were talking about getting home from the hospital, were talking about that first week. First say hello. Kimberly Pauley: Hi my name is Kimberly Pauley and I'm pregnant with my 3rd son. Susan Crouse: My name is Susan Crouse and I gave birth to my 2nd son 2 weeks ago. Jenny Vynerib: And I'm Jenny Vynerib and this is Oliver. He is 3-1/2 weeks old. Dr. Georgia Witkin: So, here's the question, the very first time you were pregnant, you were in the hospital getting ready for the first week at home, in your mind what were you preparing for? What did you think that would be like? Kimberly Pauley: I thought that would be very exciting. I thought I would be busy all the time. I thought I would just be in this blissful state with my baby and it turned out that I was completely overwhelmed. I was completely exhausted. I was completely hormonal. Dr. Georgia Witkin: Yeah the prolactin drops. Kimberly Pauley: Completely hormonal. I cried at everything. Jenny Vynerib: Yeah. Dr. Georgia Witkin: I think it's important that women know that prolactin, all the hormones changed. It doesn't mean you have postpartum unless it goes on and on, but it does mean the moodiness will be there and its natural, plus you are exhausted. Jenny Vynerib: Yeah that takes a big toll, it's the sleep depravation. I think that the first night in the hospital was bliss. You know meeting your child and it's just wonderful. I fell in love with her that night and then you get home, and it all hits. Dr. Georgia Witkin: What hits? Jenny Vynerib: And the---- Being overwhelmed by the smallest things. Everything feels so big. It's the lack of sleep; I think that really hits you and it's the hormones. I mean, I like to attribute it to the hormones, but we have to look at the big picture that hopefully a few weeks down the road, it starts to become normal. I mean nothing is normal, everything changes. Dr. Georgia Witkin: So there is hope? Jenny Vynerib: There is hope, but you have to adjust to it. Dr. Georgia Witkin: How about all the visitors? Susan Crouse: I mean---- I actually had sort of being forewarned by a lot of friends of mind. Thankfully, I was having kids a little bit later than some of my friends; so, I think that for me, I had been given a pretty accurate, you know barebones description of what it's gonna be like. So, I unlike you didn't have this expectation that it was gonna be sort of this blissful, happy first week. You know-- Jenny Vynerib: I think I am. Susan Crouse: I think I felt down a little bit; so, I think that I was sort of aware that there was gonna be this very light changeable emotion and moments to moment, it was gonna be different and I was really conscious of limiting people visited me in the hospital, which-- Kimberly Pauley: That's what I was just gonna say, I think the most important thing is that when---- the first week, if it's your first baby, that you say to your friends come to the hospital. Susan Crouse: Uh huh. Kimberly Pauley: Because then you can show them the baby, they're completely safe. You don't even have to have the baby in the room; they can be with all the other babies behind the glass. Susan Crouse: Right. Kimberly Pauley: You don't have to breathing on your new born-- Susan Crouse: And people don't stay for hours. Kimberly Pauley: And people don't stay for hours and we don't even have to get dress. Dr. Georgia Witkin: So, how about help? How about you know-- Kimberly Pauley: As much help is possible. Susan Crouse: Yeah. Dr. Georgia Witkin: If somebody was at home. Kimberly Pauley: But not people that you---- will distract you and make you feel bad because you're already feeling overwhelmed. So, people that are gonna bring good things and help you in a positive way. If that's someone-- I mean anyone who's willing to help is fine, but if someone wants to be in your house, and it happens to be someone that you don't want in your house to begin with, you don't really want them the first week in your home. Dr. Georgia Witkin: I remember being so prepared for that birth. I had taken birthing classes. I was ready. I had no idea how to sterilize the nipple. I had no idea-- Susan Crouse: But you had to do it. Dr. Georgia Witkin: How to even change a diaper. I mean, where you guys all prepared? Susan Crouse: No. Kimberly Pauley: Well, there so many-- you know, there's a lot of things that they make it so easy, they almost like make-- you know diaper themselves at this point, all the diapers are easy and there's this contraptions to do this and there is all these products that make it much easier now, but yeah, I mean I had never even baby sat. My husband never held a baby. Susan Crouse: Yeah. Jenny Vynerib: You know, you learn from the trial and error also. Kimberly Pauley: Yeah and I think to some extent, I mean, I always feel so comfortable when its my baby, but I mean, you know with Jenny's baby, I would be like oh god, if I drop this baby, I would be more nervous. Susan Crouse: Yeah. Kimberly Pauley: When it's your own, I think it does come more naturally. Dr. Georgia Witkin: So, did you have someone like show you what to do? Or did you learn? How long this takes before --. Jenny Vynerib: You get shown what to do, but then you make mistakes like for the boy, you know after he actually got me several times now, I know to cover better, but you learn and yeah you just learn. People show you and then you just have to. But it doesn't matter how many times you've been shown until you do it yourself, it's scary. Susan Crouse: Yeah. Dr. Georgia Witkin: A lot of people have said to me that they want someone to do everything else and leave them alone with the baby, but its not that they want someone else to take care the baby the first week, they just want someone else-- Susan Crouse: To clean the house---- Dr. Georgia Witkin: Yeah. Susan Crouse: And do that. I think that's a fair statement. Kimberly Pauley: Yeah. I mean if you can just be relieved of all your responsibilities to taking care of the baby-- Susan Crouse: Yeah, then your golden. Kimberly Pauley: That's the best. Susan Crouse: But once it's not your first child, I mean that for get it. That's the hardest part. I think this time, is just-- Jenny Vynerib: Juggling. Susan Crouse: Oh my god, like still taking care of your toddler, however, all your other children are-- Dr. Georgia Witkin: So what's the one piece of advice you give to a new mom? Susan Crouse: Just don't beat yourself up about things, like try to be good to yourself and realized that you know, your emotions are gonna change moment to moment and that's okay and take even like 5 minutes for your self everyday or whatever it is, it's whether it's a shower, I mean like a hot shower. Dr. Georgia Witkin: That's great, takes a minute for yourself. Jenny Vynerib: Right. Susan Crouse: Just something-- Dr. Georgia Witkin: Babying yourself too a little bit. Jenny Vynerib: Don't set your expectations too high of what you can take on at the beginning. Susan Crouse: Yeah. Kimberly Pauley: I'd say the same thing, absolutely relaxing, especially if you have older kids, don't expect to get back into the routine within 3 days with the older kids because a month down the road, which is what happen with me with my second, a month down the road, I completely fell apart. You know, I needed to relax in the beginning, take my time and get back into gradually, which is what I plan to do. Dr. Georgia Witkin: Oh good. Thank you all.