Things to Consider in Your Postpartum Plan

Most people have heard of birth plans, sometimes called birth preferences sheet, but not many of us make a formal, written plan of what we expect, desire, and need for the postpartum time. For those of us who never had babies before, we chose to make a birth plan to prepare for the unknown. Others who have had babies before make birth plans because 1) they know each birth can be different, 2) because it feels good to have a plan and feel in control of an experience YOU are going through, 3) to let their birth support team (ex. doctors/midwife, nurses, doula and partner) know exactly what they expect and what we as the team should aim to provide. We all know whatever is going to happen will happen, but we also know that when we plan, there's a big chance things go better, or at the very least, we feel that we did our best. The same sentiments are why a postpartum plan is SO important, and maybe even MORE important. Why do I say more? Because now, if you weren't already a parent, you are now, and if you were, you are in charge of one more. And this new addition is basically helpless -- they will rely on your entire being for support. But, how does one give adequate support to themselves AND this tiny, beautiful baby that is completely reliant on you? By trying your best to plan for yourself to be taken care. One of the most important things is nourishment. Many people say they did not eat well after having a baby simply because they didn't have time to make food. I've heard clients say to me that they would skip meals. After my mother-in-law left (she stayed for a week), I would snack most of the day and just wait for my husband to come home with take-away food. So, let's get real specific with this planning ya'll. This can mean you ask several people to make meals that you can freeze, if they give it to you before you have your baby. If you're planning to receive food after baby is born, try specifying specific days for people to bring food so you have food for several days and not a bunch at the same time that you can't save. If you're too shy to ask (I have a blog post about our fear of asking) have a friend or family member set up a meal train service online and share it when the registry is sent out. Give people the option to send money instead because sometimes the issue is a lack of time, and not that people don't want to help out. There are also several meal-planning services available through doulas. Although I do not provide this service myself, in my Postpartum Healing Package (Coming Spring 2021, God-willing) I cook a nourishing, traditional meal for the days I come to provide the traditional healing services, or on other specific days we indicated in your package. One of the best things to do is plan for a family member to come and stay with you during the 4th trimester to ensure someone is there to support you in any way possible. This isn't always an option for people, and that is why a big help is PRE-PLANNING all of this. You will be giving yourself more time to think about what you need if you do this while you are pregnant. You will be allowing your people more time to be able to think about how they can support you. Planning does not necessarily mean: ok my partner can cook and grocery shop and clean on and on. Is this ok for some families? It can be. But, what I truly wish to stress is, your partner has also undergone a transformation, and sometimes putting our entire care into their hands isn't the best idea because they need time as well (PPD among partners is on the rise). Being specific about what you need, although difficult for many of us because of the culture that we live in which makes us feel that asking is wrong, is key in helping curb chances of feeling alone and overwhelmed while caring for two new lives. Yes, you are new too. Even if this is your 4th kid, this is still new! In another post, we will mention more ways to plan for the postpartum.

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