People expect too much of postpartum people. One Reddit thread highlighted the pressure people face to "go back to normal" days after giving birth.
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Parent holding baby with breast pump in view
Credit: Getty

Birthing an entire human is…sort of an ordeal. And as any parent knows—or should know—birth is only the beginning. Those first few weeks (or months or years) can be challenging physically and mentally as you heal and learn to care for another person while running on little sleep.

So, would you want to be out and about four days after having a child? Everyone is different and some may crave fresh air or a Target run. Others may prefer to stay in and focus on the baby and recovery. One pregnant person thinks they'll be more inclined to stay home. But her husband and his parents weren't having it. She went to Reddit to vent.

"Last night me, my husband, and his parents were talking about an upcoming festival (it's not huge like a fair, but definitely will require a lot of walking and energy)," wrote u/KeysBaby14 in the Mommit subreddit.

The festival is scheduled for January 15. The original poster (OP) is due on January 13. Due dates are estimates and babies often come after, but it's certainly cutting things close; there's a chance the OP and her husband will be otherwise occupied the day of the festival. The husband is hopeful they'll be free to go, though.

"My husband made a comment that if our son comes a little early and is at least [four] days old, we could probably go," the person continued. "I…said, 'Yeah, hell no! I'm not going to be walking around all day [four] days after having a baby and also be out at a festival with a [four]-day old baby.'"

Fair enough. Plus, the person may still be in the hospital if they have a C-section or complications. Hopefully, the baby is healthy, but he may need to stay longer if he has any conditions. The husband doesn't seem to be considering these very real possibilities.

"My husband continues and tries to convince me that it's not like I'm going to be paralyzed," the person said.

As if the ableism wasn't enough, the husband's mother added more inappropriate commentary.

"My mother-in-law chimes in and was like…'I walked in a parade [four] days after I had his brother. You'll be fine,'" the OP continued.

The Redditor wasn't impressed.

"Who are any of you to tell me and foresee how I'm going to be feeling days after giving birth?!" the Redditor raged. "Congratulations, you walked in a stupid parade. Do you have a trophy for such an accomplishment? Oh, you don't? That's because no one…cares that you were some 'amazing' woman who walked in a parade after giving birth."

The OP ended by acknowledging they know they'll be sore and have their hands full.

"I'm just so pissed that they all had the nerve to talk down to me the way they did…for not wanting to have the desire to push myself when I've been down this road before," they said. "I'll have 1,000 other priorities put in my lap those following days. I just needed to get this out somewhere."

The OP's family may not have had their back, but nearly 300 Reddit commenters did.

"Holy hell. It took me a few weeks to walk around without feeling any kind of soreness and being back up to pace," wrote one person before bringing up another valid concern many new parents have in those early days. "Not to mention, baby won't have had any shots. Plus, it's icky cold season."

And flu season. And COVID-19.

"I remember four days after I had given birth, we really needed groceries. I really wanted to get out of the house and feel normal for an hour, so I insisted I wanted to go alone. I barely made it out of the store," replied another.

"Time to show your husband a few vaginal and C-section birth videos. Taking him to a doctor's appointment and asking them to explain how you'll be feeling would also be helpful," said another.

Is it any wonder why we can't get paid family leave passed in this country and we're sending birthing people back to work still bleeding? The expectations of new parents, particularly birthing people, are unreal.

Recently, a Doula shed light on what the postpartum period is actually like. Hint: It's not all rainbows, sunshines, and sip and sees.

Korrine Sky, a new mom and medical student, discusses vaginal tearing, bleeding (and why birthing people will be in diapers, just like their newborns, for more than a week), how painful laughing is after a C-section, anxiety, and the difficulties people have going to the bathroom after birth.

"A lot of women and birthing care can attest postpartum care can often be poor, very little information on what to expect and what to do," tweeted Sky. "The main takeaway is [to] take it easy, this too shall pass and be vigilant of your physical and mental health."

Someone please tell this to the OP's husband and in-laws—and every politician who continues to stand in the way of paid family leave.