Expectation Vs. Reality #1 feat. Sacha Welch

BEFORE (Expectation):

This will be my third baby and I’ve done a lot of prenatal work to set myself up for a better physical recovery. I suffered from a hemorrhage after my second was born and I don't want that to happen again because that was extremely traumatic. I had postpartum anxiety as a result, and I dealt with a lot of mental health struggles. I’ve done a lot of prenatal work to decrease my odds of hemorrhaging and increase my odds of a smoother recovery. I still have bouts of anxiety naturally, because that just comes with hormones but I know how to manage it better because I began a lot of work on my mental health after my second was born. 

I'm a postpartum health expert, prenatal as well as fertility, and I work a lot with my clients on mindset shifts. I practice what I preach, and it’s a lot of mindset work to set myself up for what could happen. I do a lot of mindset shifting and a lot of emotional brain training. I could have anxiety again. I could have a lot of struggles. I don’t know what to expect because every delivery and recovery is so different. Physically, I work with a pelvic floor physiotherapist and a prenatal fitness specialist and do a lot of core work which strengthens your uterus. 

My mother is going to come and live with us for a month to help with the transition from two to three. We are expecting all the kids to be in daycare or school and we will just have the baby at home. You never know but that’s what I’m looking forward to.

AFTER (Reality):

Having a pandemic baby has been different. Originally, when we wanted to have our third baby, we didn’t expect it to be anything like this.

The recovery part has been easier because I set myself up better for that, especially the physical recovery. However, it's been a huge struggle with just the overwhelm of three kids and not having my mother to help which we originally were going to have. She wasn’t able to travel because of COVID and even my mother in law who lives just 20 minutes away hasn’t really seen us because of the pandemic. She wants to help because she has three kids, so she knows the struggle, especially in that first year when your third is still a baby. She calls and checks in all the time, but she's like, “I wish I can be there physically because I understand.” So definitely the struggle of managing is still hard, it's still hard to this day because there's no new faces popping up all the time. I'm still working through that part, that's still a work in progress. 

One of the best things that came out for me is that my husband is home more because his commute is usually long but because of the pandemic, he's been working from home, and that's been really helpful. When he's done working, he just walks right upstairs from his office and he's there to help with dinner. He'll take the kids out of the house while I cook and he helps at bedtime from beginning to end. He has been happy because he felt like he bonded to this baby and was more connected to the experience. He can watch her for a couple of hours if I have to go to the grocery store or something, and she won't complain about it. Having your partner there to bear witness to what you do is also changing the way we communicate. There are so many stories where the partner is like, what do you do all day? Now they're watching it and I don't think that there is a partner out there who can scoff at what a mom does.

The hardest part of going through this in a pandemic was having all five of us home when everything was shut down. That was really hard because there's just too much going on. IIt’s way different from the experience of being a family of five than we ever thought it would be. Thankfully our third baby is very adaptable and very laid back, so she's made the journey a lot easier. I do it like that's the story of third babies in general though. They don't get a choice, there's no space to coddle them in that way. They just kind of fit in and move with you because you are already this big moving piece. She's not nearly getting as much attention as my first thing because we're so busy especially with the pandemic. 

I was a lot more relaxed, pregnant with her because it was my third pregnancy. The third time around, you feel like a huge veteran. Knowing what to expect took a big weight off and even with the pandemic in play, it alleviated all those other things that still exist, whether you're in a pandemic or a snowstorm. 

In terms of me-time or self care, it's still a work in progress because there's not too much I can do. Normally, when I do things for myself, I would go get a manicure, go get a massage or go to see a movie with a girlfriend but all of those have been thrown out the window. What I've been trying to do is  go for walks by myself, no baby, no husband. I'm trying to do that alone so that I can regroup mentally by myself and just feel like I have no one else to think about or talk to. I can just have the thoughts in my head because I'm a big mind thinker, I'm thinking to myself all the time. Some people like to listen to podcasts or listen to music but I love just listening to my thoughts. Or sometimes I'll just hide upstairs. Like, I'll tell my husband, “You know what? I need you to just watch the kids. I'm going upstairs for 15 minutes. I just need to hear no one for a second.” So I do that. 

-Sacha Welch

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