3 steps to surviving the postpartum period
Last week I shared a little about postpartum mood disorders and how to recognize them. This week I wanted to talk about how to prepare for and survive such a tought time. Condensing it down into 3 steps is very simplistic but its a great springboard for further planning.
1. Plan, plan, plan. Freezer meals, nursing station, meal trains, childcare for older siblings, grocery shopping.... having the necessary details of life planned out while you are unavailable can greatly reduce the stress after your little one is earthside. This is a great time to give family and friends that are close to you instructions or ideas on what you will need and how they can help.
2. SLEEP! I cannot stress enough just how important sleep is. There is for sure a connection with postpartum depression and exhaustion. Newborn sleep patters are erratic at best and we know to expect to lose sleep, but if you and your partner can alternate doing some of the night time care and resting when the baby rests during the day it can help dramatically. Lack of sleep never helped anyone especially during the postpartum time.
3. Set up your village. The previous two tasks both involve getting help from those around you. That network of support is so important during such a vulnurable time. Find some moms who are due around your due date, talk to your family about boundries once baby is here and how they can be helpful (ie. bring food and do a load of dishes while they are visiting). If you dont have those people around you or the ones that are close are less than helpful, this is a great time to hire a postpartum doula. She can help with these tasks plus newborn care, remind you how to swaddle or make sure your latch looks great and that baby is eating well. They are even known to whip up lunch while caring for your baby and you can have a hot shower!
Humans are meant to be in community with one another and after having a baby this is a need. Having a friend to call when the emotions seem too much or a family member to watch your newborn while you take a bath can change the way your whole day goes. Dont hesitate to ask for help and to rely on those relationships for support and encouragment.