Congratulations! You’re expecting or welcoming a baby into your family in the near future which is a HUGE moment in the lives of everyone involved. In fact, it’s so much more than a moment, isn’t it? It’s a journey, which you’ve already begun, and there’s so much adventure laying ahead of you.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you’re probably in the midst of all kinds of preparation for the arrival of your sweet little one. Starting with the birth if you’re not adopting or welcoming your wee one via surrogacy, you’ve probably given at least some consideration and/or discussed the following with your partner:
You’ve also likely given some consideration to and/or had conversations with your partner about how to be best prepared for baby in terms of set up. Things like:
But here’s my question for you. How much do you feel you’ve really prepared for the postpartum period? If you haven’t spent the same amount of time planning for and talking about what life might look like with the arrival of your baby as you have planned for the above, I can tell you that you are so not alone!
Please don’t get me wrong, everything I mentioned above is super important and we take the time to plan for & talk about these things with very good reason. It is, however, only a small piece of the puzzle and in my personal & professional experience, most parents don’t prepare extensively for the postpartum period.
The postpartum period, by my definition, spans from the moment your baby comes into the world to up to about 12 months after they are born. Of course there are other definitions out there, particularly in the clinical world where the postpartum period refers to the 6 weeks after baby is born. As a postpartum doula offering support to families well after the initial 6 weeks, I expand on the clinical view of postpartum to include the many months that a family is still undergoing a ton of adaptation and/or could use extra support.
The first three months after a baby is born is often the most vulnerable time during the postpartum period for both baby and mother.
For the baby, coming into the world after being nestled peacefully, all warm and snug inutero, can feel overwhelming and is a huge step all on its own. They aren’t quite ready to feel detached from that feeling of closeness and security from their mother. Being held most of the time and having their emotional/physical needs met immediately help them to feel more secure and to transition slowly into this life of theirs, out of the uterus.
For the mother, it’s a time of great adaptation hormonally, emotionally, and physically. Two wonderful terms that explain this time and the depth of the experience for both are the fourth trimester and matrescence!
Beyond the 4th timester, so much continues to happen in the first year of a child’s life and beyond. Parents may find themselves struggling at any time really, particularly in our busy society where we find ourselves parenting in far more isolation than in past generations. It is for this reason that I feel so strongly that spending time planning for and discussing strategies around the postpartum period can be so beneficial for couples and familes on a whole!
As the title of this post asks, can the words EASE and POSTPARTUM truly go hand in hand? You’ve probably heard the horror stories of sleep deprivation, constant demands, lonlieness, postpartum mood disorders, life basically flipped on its head with no turning back… and yes, the struggle is real for just about all parents, I’m not going to try to sugar coat it one little iota!
That being said, I do feel that we can endeavour to bring much more ease into our lives during this time. I do believe that we have the ability to take the chaos and turn it into joyous chaos!
How? By taking time as a couple to talk deeply about what life might look like when your baby arrives and how you can strategize and work as a real team to deal and cope with the struggles that are common during this time.
There are four key aspects to postpartum life that I feel are really important to address and to plan for. They are:
1) Immediate postpartum period (minutes, hours, and first few weeks after baby is born)
2) Day to day life now that your baby is a part of your world
3) Communicating priorities as a couple
4) Finding ways to reduce parenting in isolation
Through my many years of parenting my three children (my oldest born in 2001) and my experience as a childbirth educator and postpartum doula, I have come to recognize just how important planning for these parts of the puzzle really is! So much so, in fact, that I was inspired to develop a workshop for couples which creates the opportunity for them to do just that.
This highly interactive & practical workshop is designed to provide you, as a couple, with the opportunity to come together lovingly to create a plan that will help you to experience an easeful postpartum period.
The ideal time to participate is during the third trimester of pregnancy or within 3 months before you welcome your baby into your family. That being said, you are welcome at any time. During our two hours together, we will cover the four 4 major aspects of postpartum life listed above. You will leave this workshop with a plan to prepare you as a couple & a family to meet these goals:
1) The Immediate Postpartum Period
This is the time immediately after the baby is born & for the first few weeks as you are introducing your new little one to family & friends.
Goal: To create a plan that ensures you have the time to bond & sync up as a family in the way that best suits you & your circumstances.
2) A Day in the Life with Your New Baby
Goal: To bring you through an exercise that will help you better understand what to expect with a new baby in your life & how to piece that together with your family’s to-do list, as well as desired activities and priorities.
3) Communicating Priorities as a Couple
Goal: To facilitate a conversation about the priorities for you and your family that will help ensure that everyone is feeling sane & happy!
4) Building Your Village
Goal: To get you thinking of ways that you can connect with other human beings on a regular basis while you are parenting your baby. Parenting a baby in isolation can feel SO lonely and can be SO challenging. Let’s equip you with a variety of ways that can help you to avoid this all too common struggle for parents in the postpartum period!
It is my belief that the creation of this plan is so much more effective when you take the time to deliberately and lovingly have these important conversations with your partner. For that reason, It is my aim to have these workshops feel like a bit of a date night for you. This is done by ensuring that the atmosphere of the location feels as cozy as possible. I also invite you to bring along snacks & beverages (tea, coffee, juice, water) that you can share together while you mull over the interative activities that I walk you through.
I offer these workshops monthly and would love to work with you and your partner! Join me for this 2-hour interactive & productive workshop to connect more deeply with your partner and prepare for the arrival of your baby! Click here for more information or to register or find more details on Facebook and Instagram.
You CAN bring ease into your postpartum experience; I truly believe it!