Before baby arrives, we fantasize a lot about our new life with him. We spend time choosing his future clothes, decorating his room and preparing a birth list. We read up on newborns on numerous forums, read books and listen to testimonials from friends and family. All our attention is focused on this beautiful being growing inside us.

In the midst of all this excitement, we all tend to forget to take care of ourselves. We young mothers who, in less than a year, have experienced the biggest upheavals of our lives.

The first days with baby: the post-partum period

For 9 months, we're the center of attention. Our nearest and dearest are present, and the people we meet are kind. You know it, you've felt it... Pregnant women are the center of attention.

Then comes the big day. The most beautiful and the first of the rest of your life. The meeting with the person you've carried, dreamed of and imagined for 9 months. For most of us, it's 3 days in the maternity ward, time to recover physically from childbirth and to follow baby's first days.

During these three days, we're still at the center of our environment. Our loved ones come to visit us, the midwives are at our disposal, and there's always a nursery nurse to reassure us about caring for baby.

In short, we're in a comforting bubble. Of course, some of us may feel in a hurry to get home, perhaps because another child is impatiently waiting to meet his or her little brother or sister.

Finally, the day of the outing arrives. The return home for three. The promise of a great adventure and.... Hormones crash...
Some of us will cry for no reason at all, a fit of joy, a fit of fear... So many emotions run through us. We rediscover our bodies. This body that has carried life, and that we must learn to love again, beyond those new stretch marks, a possible scar and those lovely kilos that have come to rest on our hips.

Some moms will feel the symptom of an empty stomach: the famous baby blues.
Rest assured, 80% of women experience this in the first few days after giving birth, and it fades almost as quickly as it appears. Give yourself time to explore all these emotions, and to cry if necessary. Don't feel guilty about anything, you're great. We're simply becoming aware of the separation from our baby, the end of the fusion with the one we've carried for months; we're gradually realizing that we're becoming mothers.

If, several days after your return home, you're still feeling extremely vulnerable, finding it hard to look after your baby, with a drop in appetite... Talk to your midwife about it, so that our cute baby blues don't turn into postpartum depression.

Postpartum: a taboo subject

As mothers, we still know far too little about this post-partum episode. We fantasize about a harmonious life with a beautiful baby who eats and sleeps at fixed times, and we lack testimonials about the famous fourth trimester.

We don't hear much about the pain of stitches after an episiotomy, vulval oedema, postpartum diapers or the difficulties in the couple linked to sleep deprivation (the baby clash). And yet, women have been giving birth every day since the dawn of time, and are too little, too poorly informed.

For several weeks now, #MyPostPartum has been raising the profile of this phenomenon. Numerous influencers like Ahsley Graham post their daily lives in photos far removed from the ideal images of Instagram. It's MAGNIFICENT and AMAZING.

ashley graham affiche son postpartum

Instagram photo @AshleyGraham

To keep the momentum going, we wanted to do our bit too. We asked three young moms: Astrid Lhermite, Coline Ménard and Josépha Raphard to tell you about their fourth trimester with baby.

Josépha Raphard, mom of Paloma - 2 months

-Had you ever heard of postpartum before or during your pregnancy?
Yes, quite a lot, I'd read and heard a lot about it, especially the "baby blues". And then I worked on "MERES", and of course moms talked to me a lot about Post Partum.

-In the days following Paloma's birth, did you feel the famous baby blues?
In the days following Paloma's birth, I didn't feel the famous baby blues, perhaps because I was in the maternity ward for 8 days and I really enjoyed this interlude. For the first five days I was separated from Paloma, who was having health problems, so I concentrated more on her, on giving her good energy and enjoying the time we had together. My boyfriend stayed with me for the whole stay, even at night (except for one night, when I insisted that he sleep in a real bed at least once and breathe away from the maternity ward), so we were a really close-knit team and I didn't think too much about the baby blues. I had moments of crying and euphoria, but no real baby blues.

-Did you feel sufficiently accompanied and supported when you left the maternity hospital?
I didn't feel any particular support when I left the maternity hospital. But then again, as I was there for 8 days and was particularly well looked after, I think that helped. Once I got home, I was mostly supported by my boyfriend and close friends.

-How were the first few days at home organized?
After 8 days of maternity I was afraid to go home and at the same time very anxious! But the first few days went really well, we gradually got used to each other, and even if the first nights were a bit sporty, things quickly got better!

-Have you and Arnaud had any more complicated moments linked to fatigue? (the famous baby clash)
I think we're very lucky because we haven't had any baby clashes. At least not yet (she's two months old, you never know!). Of course, there are times when we say things a little less gently and kindly, but it's rare and we quickly correct ourselves. We always keep in mind that the other person is our best ally and that we've created the best thing in the world.

- Interms of intimacy, have you managed to reconnect easily with each other?
In terms of intimacy, we've had to adapt and find new connections. We sleep with Paloma, so obviously the nights and evenings are different. During the day, Paloma is very, very often glued to us, so we find other ways of connecting. I think the first few months are all about showing the other person that you still want them and love them. You can't stop saying sweet things to each other.

-With hindsight, what advice would you give to expectant mothers?
Don't neglect dialogue with your partner! Don't be afraid to tell him everything, his moments of happiness, his fears and his moments of depression. I also recommend having a good cry in the shower, as it gets everything off your chest and feels good. You have to accept that your baby is a human being, so sometimes he'll unload too, and even if it's not easy to hear him cry or moan, at least he's expressing himself! For mothers who are breastfeeding, yes, it's hard at first, but after a month it'll settle in, and then everything will be fine. And above all (I'm still working on it) don't feel guilty, you do what you can and how you can!

Astrid, mom of Marcel - 1 year old

- Had you ever heard of Postpartum before or during your pregnancy?
When I was doing my psychology thesis, a friend was even working on the concept of post-traumatic stress related to childbirth (and was beginning to study pre-traumatic stress in anticipation).

- In the days following Marcel's birth, did you feel the famous baby blues?
I think we talk a lot about depression when we talk about the post-partum period, and not enough about the anxiety and anguish we can feel when we return home. I wasn't really depressed, but I felt so stressed that I thought I wouldn't be able to raise my son. In our case, it was relatively salutary, as he ended up taking us to the pediatric emergency room because we didn't feel heard by the midwife, and Marcel was hospitalized for severe dehydration. In the end, this hospitalization was very enriching, as the neonatal team was very attentive, supportive and non-judgmental, which enabled us to get back on a good footing. I'd never talked about the concept of matrescence, which I discovered recently, and I totally recognized myself in these difficulties of finding a balance between the person we were before and our new identity as moms.

- Did you feel that you were sufficiently accompanied and supported when you left the maternity ward?
I think we're well prepared for childbirth, but not enough on the practical side of mothering, breastfeeding for those who want to, managing fatigue and so on. I quite like the idea of groups of moms getting together to talk about their difficulties, fears etc., as in English-speaking countries (the working moms series is great, by the way).

- How were the first few days at home organized?
My parents were present during my stay in the maternity hospital, and then for a few days when I returned home. My mother suggested I stay longer, and I said no because I felt capable at the time, but that was before the fatigue really set in, and in hindsight I'd be the one begging her to stay. It's pretty hard to find your own rhythm, you want to do everything perfectly. For example, Marcel could only sleep on top of me, so I felt guilty and didn't sleep for fear of smothering him, until we were advised to buy a co-sleeper.

-Did you and Lucas encounter any more complicated moments linked to fatigue?
Not so much at the start, we were so focused on Marcel and the desire to do well that we really formed a team. As proof, Lucas even asked me to marry him ahah The tensions were more present during the summer that followed: Lucas worked a lot and wanted time off when he wasn't working. I felt like I was deprived all the time, like I couldn't enjoy myself, like I'd become someone else (cf. matrescence). As Marcel has a few minor health problems, he doesn't sleep or eat very well, which added to the stress and tension. Fortunately, we're gaining more and more confidence in our abilities, and as the child grows, we understand each other better.

-In terms of intimacy, have you managed to reconnect with each other simply?
Simply may not be the right word ahah I had a tear during childbirth and various other little anatomical problems. The perineal reeducation sessions helped me a lot from a physical and moral point of view, because my physiotherapist was young and had had children, so I felt understood. When the pain subsided, everything went back to normal.

-With hindsight, what advice would you give to mothers-to-be?
Firstly, don't hesitate to ask all the questions that pop into your head, even those that make you look incompetent: we're always told about maternal instinct, but changing a diaper full of meconium or taking your first bath requires a level of technical skill that's not innate ahah Secondly, get as much sleep as you can - even if you feel like cleaning or enjoying yourself, you can't do it if you're tired. Finally, make the most of it: even if it's hard, it goes by very quickly, that's not a legend.

Coline Ménard, mom of Roméo - 6 months

- Had you ever heard of Postpartum before or during your pregnancy?
Of course, and I think like all mums-to-be, I'd heard of Post Partum and the Baby Blues. However, I didn't know exactly what to expect, as the testimonials from my mom friends were all very different. Rather "down to earth", I was waiting to see how I would react, how everything would go with my baby. I was well supported and prepared by my midwife, Claire, who made me ask myself the right questions, taking away the stress of the unknown postpartum period.

-In the days following Romeo's birth, did you feel the famous baby blues?
I did indeed have this huge wave of feelings, and in that slightly second-rate state: hormones mixed with the tiredness of the first sleepless nights, it's true that I cried a lot for no reason!
Baby Blues? I wonder... because I loved my baby from the moment he was born and I didn't have any anxieties or dark thoughts when I got home. I guess it depends a lot on how you define the Baby Blues. If you know that you're crying for nothing post partum, it's much easier to accept this state.

- Did you feel sufficiently accompanied and supported when you left the maternity ward?
Yes, without a doubt! We were lucky that everything went smoothly in the maternity ward, that we were followed up at home for subsequent appointments, and that our family and friends were close to home.
On the medical side, my midwife was there whenever I needed her... and a few months later we were close enough to go on a trip together, with our association elles surf On the family side, I'm lucky to have my parents close to us. They were able to look after Romeo when we had to!
But a special mention goes to our friends in Biarritz who brought us a giant couscous a few days after Romeo was born: delicious and full of strength when you don't have time to cook!

- How were the first days at home organized?
Very naturally, the first few days flew by at one of those speeds! We got into our stride with feedings and bedtimes. What bothered me most? Not being able to take China, our dog, out. It took me a few days to be able to walk around the block again without feeling like I was running a marathon... Physically and therefore morally, it's hard not to be in top shape, especially after having had a dream pregnancy and having remained active throughout.

-Did you and Clément have any more complicated moments linked to fatigue? (the famous baby clash)
Clément and I don't like conflict... We knew there would be tense moments because, working in events, he had to work and leave quickly after Romeo's birth.
Apart from a few harsh words in a dry tone, we didn't even insult each other!

-In terms of intimacy, did you manage to reconnect simply with each other?
We always remained very tender towards each other, and despite our mood swings and tiredness, we never left our "love bubble", reconnecting naturally.

- Have you managed to wait out your rehabilitation before returning to your sporting life?
Patience, patience.... 2 and a half months without surfing! That was a long time!!!!! I'd already had to wait over a month for a hot bath, so as soon as I got the go-ahead for reeducation, I went for it ahahah. I was able to take up surfing again in small conditions, ideal for realizing that I no longer had abs or arms for paddling.

- With hindsight, what advice would you give to expectant mothers?
"Nobody knows better than you what's good for your baby"
Because advice is given and received every day. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference, so TRUST YOURSELF!

You too can share your postpartum stories with us, and together, let's lift the veil on the fourth trimester!