Dec 212011

We read a lot about the women who experience depression after they give birth, but there are potentially just as many new moms out there who are on top of the world after delivery—Bring on the postpartum elation.

By Jenn Hardy
Written for {P} The Pregnancy Magazine

After years of trying, Montrealer Kathe Lieber became pregnant at the age of 40.

“I was stunned and astoundingly happy,” she recalls. Two decades later, she still tears up just thinking about how happy she was. Lieber’s pregnancy was textbook perfect. She delivered her daughter Miranda at the hospital, her husband and father by her side for the labour.

During her pregnancy, Lieber’s doctor had referred her to take part in a study on postpartum depression. “I said, ‘I’m not going to have it, I think I’ll have Postpartum Elation!”

The follow-up after Miranda’s birth found Lieber’s instincts were right. “The doctor took a look at me—I was beaming—and said, ‘Well, it looks like your prediction did come true’.”

Lieber says she was on an absolute high when he daughter was born. “We were healthy and happy and felt supported and loved.” Lieber had a natural birth, quickly got the hang of breastfeeding and didn’t have a hard time adjusting to interrupted sleep.

Millie Tresierra, a postpartum doula in Montreal says that while she sees a number of new moms who suffer from PPD, she also sees just as many who are over-the-moon happy to have given birth.

She says often, the really happy moms are those who had situations similar to Lieber’s. “The elation mainly comes in the form of being really relaxed with everything.” She says the new mothers who are on the high Lieber remembers usually don’t bombard themselves with unnecessary pressure and expectations.

“They usually just embrace what’s there. I go over for a visit and they’re in their pyjamas and if they get to shower, great. If not, that’s okay too.”

New mom Inbal Itzhak can relate to the postpartum elation Lieber and Tresierra are talking about. She gave birth to Noa, in January 2011.

“Though I had a drug-fee birth, I definitely felt high when Noa was born,” says the 33-year-old Montreal mother. “I especially felt it during the moments I held her skin-to-skin.”

Itzhak said there were only two things she felt like doing despite her exhaustion: staring at Noa and showing her off to the world.

“I just kept saying, ‘isn’t she incredible?!’” she recalls. “My friends thought she was cute, but I expected everyone to be as amazed by her as I was. They thought she was cute, but I thought she was magnificent.”

Tresierra says there is no magic recipe that will guarantee postpartum elation, but something as simple as setting up postpartum help up in a specific and structured way before the baby’s birthday, can start things off in the right direction. She says if a mom is less focussed on chores she will have the time she needs to properly bond with her baby.

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