You had your summer baby! Congratulations! Now you’re free and clear to enjoy all the summertime luxuries you had to abstain from during pregnancy, right? (Insert cartoon villain laugh here) Not quite. Sit down, honey.
While you’re not pregnant anymore, now you are summering with a newborn. Here’s what that’s like:
1. You’re so exhausted, you tend to fall asleep propped up in corners, so you’re probably dangerous near water.
2. Your postpartum hormones are making you somewhat fragile, so there’s no guarantee what you might say or do in social settings, with other people. (‘I don’t know why I’m sobbing while brushing my teeth! Why AREN’T YOU CRYING ABOUT MOUTH HYGIENE?’)
3. Yay! You can finally wear a regular bathing suit! Except no, you can’t, because you still look 6 months pregnant and nothing fits right, and you have a wedgie in all the directions.
4. You’re bleeding unpredictably. Just when you think you can officially retire the pillow-sized pads you’ve been riding since delivery, it starts up again. And come on, you thought you could go near a pool without bleeding? You’ve been a woman long enough, you know the rules.
5. By the way, what will you do with the baby while you’re out enjoying the pool? Lord knows babies aren’t allowed outside for the first 200-300 months of their lives. The Great Aunts and Grandmas Squad (G.A.G.S) will question your mothering if any inch of the baby is uncovered in the outdoors. Everyone knows of that baby who once caught a cold on a crisp 80 degree day. For shame.
6. Well, if not a swimsuit, at least you still can wear those cute rompers that are so big this year, right? You can try (if you’re so inclined to try to relive 1st grade in the ‘80s) but remember your waist doesn’t taper in right now, and your breasts are like watermelons racing to hit the floor. If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll have to shimmy out of the entire top part, and since you’re still using the facilities frequently to attend to #4, you’ll have to drop the whole thing to the ground every 15 minutes. Honestly, who has time for that? Plus, your baby wears one-piece outfits right now and it seems altogether too matchy-matchy.
7. You missed out on summer cocktails during pregnancy, but if you’re breastfeeding, you’re doing constant, paranoid math about whether it’s a safe time to take a sip. You resort to mocktails, but they make you even more annoyed after all these months. Really? Non-Alcoholic Sangria?!? It’s basically liquid jello salad. Go away.
8. You’re still sweating all the time. If you do dare to leave the house with a baby in the summertime, and, especially if you are breast feeding, that little heater that was inside of you, is still there, just on top of you now. You might have worried that after delivering your miracle you would have a sense of separation from her, but on a 90 degree day, if you’re wearing that baby, she is basically melding her way back into your system.
9. No, seriously. It’s hooooot. Especially under the sweat lodge nursing cover. Obviously, if you get tired of the whole cover thing and attempt to feed your baby in the open air with a breeze upon you both, you may face judgement from passers-by. Somehow it’s been decided that breasts in the summertime are meant to be dangled precariously inside tiny triangles of lycra and polyester blend, not sitting inert on your lap feeding a child in the mammaly way you’re using them, thank you very much! (Please note that even if your baby is dutifully hidden under the nursing cover, she still runs the risk of catching the consumption if her toes/ankles are exposed, according the the G.A.G.S by-laws).
10. So, fine, you might sit out of a few pool parties, mostly for your own convenience. It’s OK. Your baby is awesome, and worth it. Also, when you were pregnant, you made your spouse purchase, inflate, and maintain a baby pool in your back yard, so you can still loll about in that now, in the 9 minute intervals when the baby is sleeping.
Keep your head up and your eyes on the prize. Next summer, you’ll be throwing your baby a 1st birthday party in this heat! You’ll find ways to keep things cool. Maybe try an ice cream smash cake! It’ll be like a Gallagher show for your in-laws in the front row.
Congratulations and enjoy!
(As always, if you have specific postpartum questions or concerns, please contact your provider. If you are experiencing lingering feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or anxiety, please contact your provider today. If you have any concerns about your newborn in the summertime, please contact your pediatrician. Be well!)
sz, pa-c (This is sequel of previous post, “Third Trimester in the Summertime is Like…” which was then revised and published by the author on Pregnant Chicken, the humorous parenting site)