Well, to begin with, baby-planning is very different from postnatal planning. When you plan for the postnatal time, it’s all about YOUR needs. Because as amazing at it feels to gaze into a newborn’s eyes and smell their fuzzy little heads, you will also be dealing with aches & pains, bleeding, sore & engorged breasts, and epic hormonal mood swings. Oh, and if you were ravenous during pregnancy, that may have given you a taste of how hungry breastfeeding can make you.
Oh yes, and you have a wound in your uterus the size of a small plate, which will take 6 weeks to heal.
Does that all sound scary? It is – if you don’t have good support around you. An unsupported postpartum can be isolating & exhausting, not to mention dangerous for your long-term health. So don’t ignore your own needs. Fill your own cup first, so you can be the calm & confident mother you want to be.
Let’s start by asking some practical questions:
- Who is going to make breakfast? What about lunch? Dinner?
- What are you going to eat for all those meals? Who will do the meal planning? Who will do the grocery shopping?
- Who will clean the bathroom & kitchen? Who will vacuum the floors?
- Who will wash up after meals? Who will do the laundry?
And then there are all the other things that need to be done:
- Who will communicate with friends & family about the new baby?
- Who will schedule medical appointments?
- Who will organise daily life stuff…tax filing, vehicle check-ups, home repairs, work or school related admin?
And most importantly….who will support YOU?
- Who will massage your sore shoulders when you’ve been breastfeeding for hours or are feeling tense?
- Who will microwave your heat packs?
- Who will make you cups of tea?
- Who will protect the boundaries when people ask to come and visit, but you desperately need rest?
- Who will listen to your worries & concerns, without trying to “fix” anything or interrupting you?
- Who will hold the baby so you can shower or nap?
- Who will tell you that you’re amazing, strong, capable, courageous?
It’s okay if you don’t know the answers to these questions yet. Once you see where the gaps are, you can start to build your village of support.
P.S. If you have a partner, don’t assume that they can take on all of this singlehandedly. That’s not how humans have evolved. It takes a village to care for a newborn mother – both physically and emotionally.