As Labor Doulas, we spend most of our time educating and preparing our One Love family members for a positive birth experience. We would not be serving you well if we did not talk about the part that lasts much longer: the postpartum experience.
The postpartum time period is defined as “the first 6 weeks after childbirth”, we can all agree that it’s actually much longer and more involved than that- am I right?!
The postpartum period for the birthing person involves so much change physically, mentally, and emotionally. This transition can be beautifully difficult and messy; you’re adjusting to caring for a newborn and your body is healing from birth. For some, this adjustment also involves a big brother or sister. Your partner has a lot of changes too!
We have had a few partners express that they felt the postpartum time was a time to figure out where they fit, give the birthing person what she needed, or help take care of older siblings. It is a time of change for everyone in the family!
Postpartum experience for partners
While our partners do not physically go through birthing, we never want to underestimate the changes that occur in our partner’s life as well. We want to make sure the WHOLE family is supported; as a result, everyone experiences the best possible postpartum experience.
When we chat with some of our clients who gave birth recently about their postpartum experiences, we surprisingly got many similar responses. Almost all said they wish they would have known more about their healing postpartum body and how to take care of it.
Additionally, many birthing people were surprised by how they underestimated the amount of support they needed after bringing the baby home. This time period involves many changes; it is essential that parents feel educated, supported, and empowered as they prepare for this huge life transition!
Planning towards a better postpartum experience
All that being said, how can you best plan for your postpartum experience?
First, make sure you take a good look at yourself and your needs and recognize your preferences. Additionally, have a good idea of your family’s daily needs.
For example, if diet and nutrition are very important to your family, it’s a good idea to plan and prep some easy and good postpartum yummies (we can also help to coordinate with a meal prep company). An alternative is having a meal train set up via friends and family, listing dietary preferences and needs.
The first forty days
Next, get out some paper and pen, and let’s jot down some things. Think about the first 40 days after the baby is born. What are some things you may need or want help with?
Some examples of areas to plan for help:
- childcare for older siblings
- newborn care
- help with food/cooking
- mental health care
- overnight help
- transportation help
- home cleaning
Get your partner and other kids involved too! What are their needs as they transition into becoming a parent or older sibling? Get it all out there, and then figure out the avenues to getting those things cared for.
I want to pause here to add this thought. Stay with me on this. It is ok to ask for help. It is ok to utilize the help and support of family and friends as you transition into Motherhood or Parenthood. This role was not meant to be done solo; we were meant to accept the help of our village and our community and to lean on others. Be bold, and get support! We were meant to receive support and then pass that on to someone else during their postpartum.
Once you’ve narrowed down the areas you would like support with, it is helpful to think about how or who can help and to begin loosely scheduling these things while touching base with the people/companies you would like to support you. It is a good idea to start this when you are between 30-34 weeks.
If you need overnight help with the new baby, consider going ahead and booking that Postpartum Doula, or making that phone call to your sister who previously offered to come and stay a few nights after the baby is born! Will the big sister need some rides to soccer practice? Call up a fellow team Mom and have her on board as part of your plan. There are ways to cover the basics of your needs; it is a matter of prioritizing, mapping it out, and maybe even getting a bit creative on resources and support!
We want to make sure that you have an amazing birth AND postpartum experience, and that is why we wanted to take some time to briefly go over a little of what it is like to plan for that postpartum experience. You know that if you have questions or concerns, or if you even need some help with that Postpartum Plan, that we are always here to support you with that.
For added assistance, download our guide: 5 Steps to Creating Your Postnatal Dream Team!
Read more about the author, Mandy Casey