PART ONE: Listening to YOU
You’ve been thinking about the birth and your registry. You might have a name picked out and are researching car seats. But, what about after the baby arrives? In conversations with pregnant women, I notice that many of them have a hard time imagining what their postpartum life will look like. It doesn’t occur to them that they might need a doula. Sure, it sounds nice to have a supportive person around who knows about babies, but your mother-in-law is coming and your husband is a hands on kind of guy, right?
Visitors mean the best, but they can frequently feel inconvenient, unhelpful or worse! Often, dads like to solve concrete problems rather than attend to the vulnerability of this time. You probably already have a sense of these kinds of dynamics. A postpartum doula is not your mother-in-law. She’s there to support YOU and your postpartum vision.
From my experience, many women don’t know that they can choose the kind of postpartum experience than they want. In our culture, there is pervasive messaging that new mothers should just bounce back. This mindset doesn’t recognize the transition to motherhood and the need for family bonding. It causes many of the challenges associated with postpartum time, including difficulty breastfeeding, postpartum mood disorders and marital problems. Many of my clients prioritize planning for this period and recognize that it can be a time of thriving rather than surviving. By honoring and allowing the need for rest and nourishment, we can open the doors for deep love and bonding.
This is your work! Spend some time on that vision.
Some questions to help guide how you think about those first 6 weeks:
What are you looking forward to? (Imagine what it looks like as a happy new family)
What anxieties are cropping up? (What could go wrong, what are your fears?)
What actions would lead to more of the good feelings and ease some of the more difficult times?
Who can help you take those actions?
Education and preparation around this time can make a huge difference. So can having a person to support you in this dream.