How Hard Could It Be?

When I had my first baby, it was the first time I had ever seen a newborn in person. I’d changed maybe two diapers, ever. In short, I was clueless.

My husband, John, helped his mom run her in-home daycare when he was younger. As far as I was concerned, he would be a diaper changing pro! The rest of the stuff like holding a baby, or soothing them, well, he’d probably remember it. Like riding a bike or something, right? Never mind the fact that he was a child when he did all this (seriously, what was I thinking?)

I had family in town. My own mother, in fact, lived just a few minutes away. And this was her first grandchild, so of course she’d be over all the time and would help fill in any blanks.

So Rex came out, we all got cleaned up and tucked into bed to rest, and suddenly, my husband and I were alone with a brand new baby.

I remember thinking it was a little bit ridiculous that we were expected to be able to take care of this baby without any practice or formal knowledge, completely responsible for someone else’s WHOLE LIFE. I mean, sure, people have been doing this since the beginning of time, but WE had never done it before!

I’m pretty good at rolling with whatever comes my way, so we jumped right in.

John was great at helping with diapers. We might have eaten more take-out than I cared to, but that was ok. My mom was happy to spend her free time with her first grandbaby. But she had to work, too. And eventually, John had to return to work.

Nights were relatively easy – John was home, even if I did feel bad waking him up to help me when I felt overwhelmed, knowing he had to work in the morning. Sometimes I woke him up on purpose, just because I was so irritated at being woken up yet again, and hey, this is his kid, too. (I love you, dear!)

Days were another story.

I was tired but unable to nap

“Sleep when the baby sleeps” is impossible when you feel compelled to clean house and get the chores caught up. Or shower. Or eat.

I was bored out of my mind

Babies don’t make great conversationalists. Who knew?

I was jealous

My husband got to actually go spend time outside the house talking with other adults, even if they were just coworkers, and the only other place he went was work.

I was jealous that other people were able to take care of themselves, their children, and their homes, apparently without breaking a sweat.

I suddenly didn’t feel comfortable or confident

It took more energy than I ever thought just to pack the baby up and get him into the car, and nursing in public or dealing with a crying baby in public was just too much, so I never went anywhere. I used to be a smart, career-minded woman, an organized go-getter. How had this small person reduced me to this? Why didn’t anyone warn me?

I needed a postpartum doula. If only I had known there was such a thing.

Magical postpartum doula fairy
The postpartum doulas you hire won’t have wings, but you’ll swear they have magic sleeping baby fairy dust.

Abby says postpartum doulas are like a fairy godmother, and I have to agree.

Postpartum doulas are the women who have seen it all, so they are great troubleshooters when things aren’t going well.

They are the ones who let you sleep (or shower!) while they magically take care of the baby AND get some of your chores checked off, or get dinner started so your husband can relax, too.

The wonderful postpartum doulas I know are also the best listeners. You’d be amazed at how easy they are to talk to – so understanding, so loving and caring, and somehow they always leave you feeling content and refreshed. That’s way more than I can say for some of the friends and relatives that visited after Rex was born!

Postpartum doulas are more popular now than ever, and for good reason. Doulas of Memphis offers some of the very best doulas in the area, and they are worth their weight in gold.

Scheduling a consultation is quick and easy, and you’ll be so glad you did it.

Can I Give Up a Natural Birth?

Have you always imagined you’d give birth naturally, but are realizing now that, for whatever reason, natural birth just isn’t in the cards this time?

Maybe you have a medical condition that prevents you from having a natural birth – it could be placenta previa, or a breech baby, or maybe there’s concern over how well the baby could handle labor, to name a few common examples.

Is it ok to accept that a natural birth isn’t in your future?

Sure, you could stand on your head for hours a day, or do special moves in the swimming pool, or any of the other hundreds of suggestions for getting a breech baby to flip around – but what if none of them work for you? And what if you just don’t feel like trying yet another trick you heard worked for your coworker’s friend?

poolside lemonade
Set aside your worries – enjoy your time poolside!

 

What if the thought of one more positive visualization imagining your placenta moving out of the way makes you want to throw things across the room? Is it ok to just stop?

Can you feel good about accepting this change in your plans?

Absolutely.

If natural birth has always been your goal, it can be a hard mental shift to accepting that your reality may involve more medical intervention than you want. But you can do it. In fact, it’s ok to make that shift. It’s ok to embrace a new outlook, and look forward with anticipation instead of dread.

I’ll repeat, because it’s so important: it is absolutely, always, 100% ok for you to be at peace with your decisions.

Asking yourself the following questions can help you clarify your feelings. Part of our job at Doulas of Memphis is to help you work through the answers, and to support you every step of the way, so if you don’t know us already, let’s chat!

What is it about a medicalized birth that I’m hoping to avoid?

Is it a feeling of lack of control? Are you worried that you are somehow letting your baby or your partner down? Is it important to you that you still have a voice in your experience? Are you concerned that the medical aspect will overwhelm you with questions and details?

You might have a combination of answers to this question. Once you have explored all your answers, start to think about concrete things you can do to alleviate or even eliminate your concerns. Talk about your ideas with your doula and your doctor. We both want what is best for you, and can help you with your new plans.

What will it mean about me as a person or as a parent if I have a medicalized birth?

Worded slightly differently, you might come to an answer from a different angle: what will it mean about me as a person if I don’t have a natural birth? Hopefully, you are able to see that you are a worthy and valuable person and parent, regardless of the circumstances of your baby’s birth. You deserve to feel good about your choices and your experience.

Imagine yourself birthing your baby with confidence and clarity. What do you need this time to do that?

This is a great question to ask yourself regardless! Do you need education about your new options? Do you need additional support now and during the labor? Do you just need someone who “gets it” and won’t judge as you work through your feelings and make new decisions; someone who will remind you that you are enough?

The insight gained from your answers can help you start setting the stage for a positive birth experience, even if it isn’t the one you always thought you wanted. We would love to help you every step of the way.

Planning for baby? | Mom Self Care Free Printable

When you’re planning for baby, the vast majority of pregnancy and birth checklists out there all about what you need to do for your baby. But what about you? Giving birth is a feat no matter how you do it, and in the flurry and excitement of packing, it’s easy to forget about the things you’ll need after baby is here!

planning for baby
Planning for baby is no easy task!

Planning for baby means planning for you, too. We asked some veteran moms about their must-have items for the hospital and back home. Here’s what they said:

Of course you’re going to pack toiletries and clothes for you and baby. Here’s what to pack in your hospital bag for you:

Pillows from home: Because we know hospital pillows aren’t known for their extra-fluffiness.
Extra-long charging cable: Keep in touch when you want, from anywhere in your room. Oh, and Netflix.
Chapstick: Trust us, it’s a must-have.
Mints: Freshen up until you can brush your teeth again.
Comfy leggings or pajama pants: There’s nothing quite like slipping on a pair of cozy pants after a nice shower.
Soft, light robe: Be visitor-ready in no time!
Fuzzy blanket from home: Hospital blankets are thin, and who doesn’t love a fuzzy throw?
Your favorite instant coffee (ex. Starbucks Via): Coffee emergencies are a thing.
Water bottle: Skip the styrofoam and stay hydrated in style!
Snacks for after birth: Your favorite takeout menus and a Designated Bringer of Food wouldn’t hurt, either.
Post-birth beverage: Finally, you can have that drink you’ve been craving your whole pregnancy!
Nursing pillow: Save your neck and arms by bringing baby up closer to you.
Nursing tanks/clothes to labor in: Nursing tanks are great for skin-to-skin after birth. Pair with a knee-length maxi skirt for an alternative to that hospital gown.
Button-down or pull-down shirts: for easy nursing access.

You’re back home with all of your stuff, and a new baby. Here’s what to keep around for those days after birth:

Depends (No really, trust us!): Because it’s no fun when your pad moves around.
Tucks Pads:
A common hemorrhoid relief, but they’re oh-so-nice for a sore perineum too!
Peri Bottle:
A lifesaver when wiping is the last thing you want to do.
Constipation relief:
No shame in that stool softener game!
Water bottle:
Between taking care of a newborn, nursing, and recovering from birth, hydration in reach is essential!
Late-night snack basket:
When nighttime hunger strikes, you’ll be prepared.
Dim night light:
So you can see to change that diaper and then get everyone back to dreamland
Freezer meals:
Consider hosting a freezer meal shower to stock up before baby comes.
One-handed snacks:
Feed baby and yourself at the same time!
Fresh, cut-up fruits and veggies:
Because you can only eat so much lasagna.
Baby carrier:
For hands-free snuggling and walking around.
Lanolin/nipple butter:
Relief for nipples that are adjusting to a newborn feeding schedule.
Journal: A place for your thoughts and feelings.
Extra phone chargers:
It’s no fun when you phone dies and you’re stuck under a baby. 
Postpartum doula: 
A postpartum doula is a valuable member of your village! We’re there to make sure you have all of the help, rest, and support you need after baby comes home.

Love our list? What would you add?

Click here to download our Mom Self Care Free Printable!

mom-self-care-free-printable

Time Out with Doulas of Memphis | YouTube: Intro and Self Care

Exciting news: Doulas of Memphis now has a YouTube show, called Time Out with Doulas of Memphis! We’ll be taking a series of “Mommy Time Outs” and discussing and answering questions about Things That Matter. First up on the list of Things That Matter? YOU! Our first episode is a quick intro and then we dive in to talking about self care.

Self care doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and it isn’t about elaborate massages, pedicures, or hours upon hours of “me time.” Here at Doulas of Memphis we believe that self care can’t happen on a large scale until it happens on a smaller scale. Take a Time Out with us and watch the first episode of Time Out with Doulas of Memphis!

Do you have ideas for more Time Outs? We want Things That Matter to you, so drop us a comment either on this blog or on our YouTube video to leave suggestions and feedback! Also, don’t forget to subscribe so that you can take a Time Out with us next time!

And don’t forget to take a time out for yourself this week!

‘Til next time,

Abby and Lindsey

Self Care: Mom Edition

self care, memphis postpartum doula

Self care is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for moms. We all know that the holy grail of “Have coffee with friends and then wander around Target alone” doesn’t happen often, so until then, we’ve compiled a list of everyday suggestions (complete with step-by-step instructions):

Have a miniature spa day

  1.  Get in shower
  2.  Wash hair
  3.  Shave legs from knees down

Get a face massage

  1.  Place baby near face
  2.  Close eyes, mouth, and nostrils
  3.  Enjoy massage

Take a luxurious bath

  1.  Fill bathtub with hot water
  2.  Light candles
  3.  Enjoy hot water for approximately 10 minutes

Potty alone

  1.  Hide all housekeys
  2.  Send family outside
  3.  Ignore all phone calls
  4.  Enjoy lack of audience
  5.  Magically find the keys again

Treat yourself to dessert

  1.  Make sure no one is watching
  2.  Procure chocolate
  3.  Consume chocolate in closet

Do some yoga

  1.  Start feeding baby
  2.  Notice phone is just out of reach
  3.  Channel inner contortionist

or…hire a Doulas of Memphis postpartum doula

  1.  Take as long as you need in the bathroom
  2.  Do actual yoga while your postpartum doula does the dishes and entertains baby
  3.  Eat the dessert your postpartum doula made for you while you were taking a nap
  4.  Drink coffee while it’s still hot
  5.  Avoid google by asking your postpartum doula all of your new mom questions
  6.  Snuggle your baby while your postpartum doula folds all the laundry
  7.  Reconnect with your spouse while your postpartum doula puts baby to bed
  8.  Get a full night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed
  9.  Do something that makes you feel normal again
  10.  Eat a home-cooked meal that you don’t have to cook or clean up

Here at Doulas of Memphis, our postpartum doulas want to know what self care means for you. Tell us in the comments!