Congratulations on embarking on this beautiful journey of parenthood! The joy of welcoming a newborn into your life is beyond compare, but it also brings new challenges. As a doula, a mom, and a firm believer in the power of postpartum support, I am here to share some valuable insights into the most important thing you need to add to your postpartum plan and baby registry: postpartum support.
Becoming parents is a profound experience that demands care, compassion, and a network of support. This blog post will delve into the significance of postpartum planning, creating a care network, and the indispensable role of a postpartum doula in easing your transition to life at home with a new baby.
The Value of Postpartum Support
Postpartum support is the pillar that can make a world of difference during the tender period after childbirth. It encompasses emotional, physical, and practical assistance that nurtures the well-being of both the birthing person, partner(s), and the baby. Having a support system in place during the postpartum period can help alleviate stress, reduce the risk of postpartum depression, and enhance the overall experience of becoming a parent (Chee, 2013, Corrigan et al., 2015, Falconi et al., 2022, Goldbort, 2002, Middleton, 2003). Consider the following ways to add post-birth support to your registry.
Creating a Care Network
One of the most crucial steps in postpartum planning is creating a care network. A care network is simply folks that you trust and want to be involved in helping you once you enter the postpartum period.
It involves reaching out to your friends, family, loved ones, coworkers (really whoever you want) to build a compassionate and understanding support system. Having a care network provides you with the reassurance that you are not alone in this journey.
1. Reach Out to Loved Ones
When compiling your care network, start by reaching out to your closest friends and family members. Inform them about your postpartum plans and let them know that their support and presence mean the world to you.
Often, loved ones are eager to lend a helping hand but may not know exactly how to assist. Be specific in what you are asking for when communicating your needs.
Asking someone Can you commit to bringing dinner once a week? or Will you please make sure the dog gets a walk each day? will prove more valuable and empower both you and those helping to know exactly what kind of support you need and help them decide if they can indeed provide it.
You may not know each aspect of how you’ll need care after delivery; however, you can always check in with friends who have children, doulas, and online forums about what specific tasks you can solicit support for.
Here are some more ideas:
One load of laundry (wash, dry, fold, and put away)
Feed or walk a pet (add a specific frequency or duration, 1x a week for 30 minutes)
Bring one dinner a week on Thursdays
Take an older sibling out to breakfast for special one-on-one time
Check in once a week to see if a family needs any grocery refillsÂ
Take care of something house or lawn oriented (mow, shovel, water garden)
2. Seek Help from Experienced Parents
Experienced parents, specifically the birthing person, can offer invaluable advice, encouragement, and practical tips that can make a significant difference during the postpartum period. Don’t hesitate to approach folks who have gone through similar experiences; they can provide insights that books and blogs may not cover. You may also feel more comfortable asking follow up questions or texting them at one in the morning with a question.
3. Join Support Groups
In today’s digital age, connecting with like-minded individuals has never been easier. Seek out online postpartum support groups where you can share your thoughts, concerns, and triumphs with other mothers who understand your journey. The emotional support gained from these groups can be truly uplifting and has the potential to create lasting friendships.
If you are in the King and Snohomish counties, you can start with local groups like Perinatal Support Washington that both offer their own groups and keep a calendar of local events. There is also PEPS that provide connection through peer-support groups both during pregnancy and into postpartum. They have groups focused on newborns (2-16 weeks), siblings, babies 5-12 months, identity based groups, and more!
While friends and family can provide a tremendous amount of support, hiring a postpartum doula is a game-changer. A postpartum doula is an individual who specializes in offering practical and emotional support during the postpartum period. Their nurturing presence can help you navigate the challenges of early parenting with increased confidence and ease making it an excellent addition to your registry!
1. Emotional Support
A postpartum doula is well-versed in recognizing the emotional challenges that accompany postpartum. They provide a compassionate ear to listen to your concerns and feelings without judgment. Their support can alleviate feelings of isolation and help you build a stronger bond with your baby.
2. Practical Assistance
From assisting with chestfeeding and newborn care to light household chores and meal preparation, a postpartum doula’s practical help can be a true lifesaver. This allows you to focus on your recovery and bonding with your baby, ensuring you have the energy and time to cherish these precious moments.
3. Knowledge and Guidance
Postpartum doulas are equipped with a wealth of knowledge about postpartum recovery, baby care, and self-care. They can offer evidence-based information and guidance tailored to your unique needs. This knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions and enhances your confidence as a new parent.
4. Personalized Care
Every person’s postpartum journey is different. A postpartum doula recognizes this and provides personalized care, understanding that each family has specific needs and preferences. They adapt their support to align with your values, culture, and parenting style.
As you prepare for the arrival of your little one, remember that postpartum planning is a vital aspect of ensuring a positive and enriching experience. Creating a care network with the help of your friends, family, and experienced parents can surround you with love and support.
Additionally, consider hiring a postpartum doula to enhance your postpartum journey. Their expertise, compassion, and practical assistance can make a world of difference during this tender period of your life. You can check out the postpartum services we offer at Big Fat Pregnancy to add to your registry or purchase as a gift for a friend!
Remember, you are not alone on this beautiful journey. Embrace the support that is available to you, and remember that it is a sign of strength to seek help when you need it. Trust in the power of postpartum support, and let it enrich your life as you step into this new chapter with grace and confidence.
Wishing you a joyous and empowering postpartum experience!
Chee, A. (2013, Spring). A Postpartum Doula for Every Mother. Midwifery Today, , 38-39,67. https://www.proquest.com/magazines/postpartum-doula-every-mother/docview/1415744208/se-2Â
Corrigan, C. P., Kwasky, A. N., & Groh, C. J. (2015). Social support, postpartum depression, and professional assistance: A survey of mothers in the Midwestern United States. The Journal of Perinatal Education, 24(1), 48â€“60. https://doi.org/10.1891/1058-1243.24.1.48
Falconi, A. M., Bromfield, S. G., Tang, T., Malloy, D., Blanco, D., Disciglio, R. S., & Chi, R. W. (2022). Doula care across the maternity care continuum and impact on Maternal Health: Evaluation of Doula programs across three states using propensity score matching. eClinicalMedicine, 50, 101531. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2022.101531Â
Goldbort, J. (2002). Postpartum depression: Bridging the gap between medicalized birth and social support. International Journal of Childbirth Education, 17(4), 11. https://www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/postpartum-depression-bridging-gap-between/docview/212856903/se-2Â
Middleton, W. (2003). Postpartum doulas: Vital members of the maternity care team. International Journal of Childbirth Education, 18(2), 8-10. https://www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/postpartum-doulas-vital-members-maternity-care/docview/212800238/se-2