PREGNANT? JUST HAD A BABY?
Picture this if you will, close your eyes and take a deep breath!
It is your first night home with your new baby. You feed, burp, change and swaddle the baby and place her gently in the bassinet next to your bed. You pull the covers up to your chin and settle in, it’s only 9:48pm but you feel like you haven’t slept in a week. You quickly fall asleep from sheer exhaustion but within 20 minutes your little one is up and hollering for something. You think, you CANNOT be hungry AGAIN! You throw the covers off and go to pick up this screaming little red cherry who is loudly exercising her lungs. You cuddle her on your nice warm chest, speak to her in a quiet voice and sway back and forth to get her to calm down. She gently nods off and you tip toe over to the bassinet and place her inside. You crawl back into bed and this same scenario plays over and over ALL night long till finally the sun comes up.
You are exhausted! That Mack truck that you heard about has crashed through your front door and hit you HEAD on. Your back, shoulders and arms are sore from holding the baby in various positions to keep her from crying. Your bladder is full and you need to change your pad. You discover diapers on the floor because you missed the diaper genie when you changed the 5th diaper at 3:14am. You look down and notice that your bra is undone and your left breast pad is missing, you can’t find your hair tie to pull your hair back and the dog is excitedly dancing at your feet because he is ready for breakfast.
You hand off your sweet, beautiful, perfect angel to your husband and peer over to see she is sound asleep on his chest, your heart explodes with LOVE and the silent tears silently roll down your cheeks. Welcome to parenting!
You grab your phone to capture this moment and see a text from Colleen, checking in to see how your night went and remind you that she will be there at 10am with breakfast burritos. You cry some more, just because! You can’t wait to see Colleen, she always makes you feel safe, heard, not judged, and helps you tap into your own instinctual abilities.
You think about taking a shower, brushing your teeth and combing your hair but your husband taps the couch next to him to come sit down and snuggle. You sink into his side and place your head on his shoulder, he gently kisses your head and tells you how amazing you are and how much he loves your new family. You take a deep breath, smile, wipe your tears and KNOW you totally GOT this!
What feelings did this scenario bring to your mind? Fear, excitement, sense of calm, overwhelmed, supported, loved? Memories of your own postpartum period? When you plan ahead, you will never be alone, whether it is just you and your partner or you have loads of family and friends ready to help out however you need. Talk to any parent and they will all tell you how overwhelming the first couple weeks can be with no support or resources to call on.
A postpartum plan is a starting point for discussions about how your family will adjust to life with a new baby.
The goal of this plan is to help parents identify people and resources BEFORE they are needed thus making their transition into parenthood a little easier.
As a postpartum nurse, doula and consultant one of services I offer is how to create and effectively use this postpartum plan.
Most expecting parents educate themselves, talk to friends and family members, research and plan for how to have the best pregnancy, labor and delivery, however their postpartum period is commonly overlooked and they assume they will just “figure it out.”
I like to compare pregnancy to planning a wedding; a lot of time and energy are invested in creating the perfect outcome (safe & healthy mom/baby to beautiful day to start your new life together. When you get a positive pregnancy test (you start googling everything, eat better, take vitamins, schedule doctors/midwife appointments, educate yourself on all your labor and delivery options, buy maternity clothes, decorate the nursery and pick out cute decor, buy baby books and take childbirth education classes. Planning the perfect wedding day includes researching invitations, picking dresses, florists, hair, make-up, colors, venues, time and day, music, food, etc). The postpartum period is kind of like the actual marriage (no one really plans for that)!
Having a postpartum plan in place allows you to focus on the remaining weeks of pregnancy and not fear the parenting journey that is ahead of you.
Can and will you survive your postpartum period without making a plan? Absolutely, but why not take some of the guess work out of it and plan ahead so when you are not at your best (mentally, physically or emotionally), it will already be taken care of.
There are so many little things that you can do today to make your first couple weeks smoother.
Now, I hear you say, I have family in town and they will help out and take care of things. My reply is AWESOME, FANTASTIC, so happy to hear that. I love working with the entire family. There is always room for more care and support when a new baby comes along. Most family members and friends are of great help, however, I am a professional who offers current, evidence-based and non-judgmental services to you and the entire family. If you are worried that your family members need some up-to-date information, let’s all get together and I would love to answer their questions so they can be the best possible support to you as you recover.
Some of the topics we will discuss in detail are:
What does your ideal postpartum period look like to you?
SLEEP: yes, you will get some
Infant feeding: breast, bottle or both
Roles & responsibility changes in the relationship
With over 18 years’ experience in the postpartum and breastfeeding fields I am a wealth of knowledge and expertise. I will adapt to meet whatever needs you and your growing family have and I work closely with amazing community partners to help out however your family needs as well. My passion is to support you and your family to have a positive, empowering postpartum experience and feel confident as parents.
Don’t get stuck not knowing who to call or who to ask for help. Don’t give up when you reach your frustration point. Plan ahead so when challenges arise, you can take a deep breath, re-visit your postpartum plan and call me.
A few hours to plan is all you need to put your mind at ease. Let me know when you are ready! I’ll be waiting to hear from you.
Check out this great article about better preparing moms for what is to come AFTER the pregnancy at http://www.whattoexpect.com/wom/pregnancy/0125/how-ob-gyns-should-be-preparing-expecting-moms-even-better-for-baby.aspx
Who do YOU know that could benefit from my SERVICES:
A grandparent who has a son or daughter who is expecting?
Is your best friend going to have a baby soon?
Does your co-worker hang out in your office asking you questions?
Did your neighbor recently deliver?
Do you have out of town friends or family members who could benefit from a consultation about support services?
Gift certificates are ALWAYS available and make fabulous and unique Christmas and baby shower gifts.
Excerpts of “Why Hire a Postpartum Doula?”by Emily Flynn of Natural Child Magazine
“A doula is also there to help the family care for baby in the way that best meets their individual needs, without injecting personal bias or potentially negative advice. In the instance of things like baby wearing, co-sleeping, pacifiers, sleep training, and other topics that often trigger strong opinions, a doula helps guide the parents in making informed decisions and eventually following through with them without judgment. Where family and friends are irreplaceable parts of the postpartum adjustment period, there are some real advantages to hiring a doula to aid in this transition. Doulas are hired to help, not just to visit with the growing family. Doulas tend to be great networkers out of passion and necessity, and often maintain personal connections to providers such as massage therapists, chiropractors, herbalists, pediatricians, nutritionists,etc.”