Our society places a high value and emphasis on pregnancy and preparing for birth. We make elaborate pregnancy announcements with social media, throw gender reveal parties, register for and host baby showers, and renovate nurseries. We take great care to learn about birth, whether it’s through the experiences of others, the internet, books, or a childbirth class. We craft our nests lovingly in anticipation for the arrival of our little ones. But the reality is, aside from comments about how you should “sleep while you can,” nobody is preparing us for the reality of motherhood.
Reality: there’s nothing glamorous about motherhood.
Motherhood is beautiful, but it’s gritty. It’s raw. You’re recovering from birth and sleeping in the bassinet next to you is your heart outside of your body. The baby you’ve dreamed about is here, but maybe it’s not like what you expected. Every relationship you have has changed before your very eyes. Some of it’s good, and some of it takes time to grow into. For every posed newborn photo and smiling selfie there’s a restless night, not enough coffee, a nagging feeling of “Am I doing this right?” that manages to creep in uninvited. Visitors come, but it’s not always at a great time. Meals come, and while you love lasagna, you’ve had it 3 nights in a row and would kill for a salad right about now. You might have lots of family around, but they all did things differently and you’re left feeling unsure. Then it all drifts away and there’s you and this baby that is yours to love and care for. Not everyone experiences all of this, but if you’ve been there I bet you can find at least one thing that makes you go, “Mmmhmm.” Let’s all do each other a favor and acknowledge that this is deep water we travel into, and we all need help to stay afloat.
Planning for postpartum
So you’ve written your birth plan, taken your childbirth class, perhaps even hired your doula. You’re as ready as you can be for birth, but what about after baby’s here? That’s what all of this is about, right? Here are a few things to consider as part of your postpartum plan: Visitors: Who will be visiting, and when? Do you have any special considerations? Social media: Who will announce the birth? Who is allowed to post photos? Meals: Will anyone organize meals for you? Do you have room in your freezer, or do you need to make space? Household tasks: Who will help with household tasks? Do you have pets to consider? Self-care: Who will be there to help take care of you? (Yes, you!) Do you have a strong support network or do you anticipate needing extra help? Social network: Who can you call if you need to reach out? Who can your partner call if he needs to reach out? When can they be reached?
You don’t have to go it alone
The most important thing to remember about those early baby days is that you are not alone! If you don’t already have a strong support network, or you feel more comfortable asking for help from someone who isn’t as close to you, a postpartum doula can help! At Doulas of Memphis, our focus is on taking care of you and your needs as you adjust to a new baby. Our doulas are available to you both day and night, so we can customize our support to fit your family. Do you need more help in the morning or the evening? Are you desperate for a night of sleep? We’ve got it covered. We can take care of the little things so that you can feel rested, relaxed, and ready to take on the day. Postpartum support matters because YOU matter!
To learn more about postpartum doula services and how we can help your family, click here.