Making a tiny human is hard work. Then comes the really hard part — when the tiny human is actually here. Like so many things in life and parenting, we don’t know what we don’t know until we are right smack in the middle of it all. Never does this feel more true than immediately postpartum.
Pregnancy is gradual. You have several months to make plans and preparations. Postpartum though, comes in an instant.
And once you are in it, especially with a very beautiful (but very needy!) bundle of joy in your arms, it can be hard to catch your breath.
One of the most common mistakes that new parents make is not spending enough time to consider what they might need during this pivotal life transition. And we don’t mean what your baby will need, because people DO usually spend plenty of time thinking about this. What will you need?
Don’t wait until you are in the thick of things. The third trimester is a great time to begin considering what will make postpartum — the fourth trimester — more manageable. Here are three of our favorite tips.
Ones specifically geared towards postpartum – not simply birth books that mention it as a footnote. This can help identify and clarify your needs and expectations. Three of our favorites are:
Asking for help can be hard. Think of one person who is close to you — your bestie, your sister, your next-door neighbor — to coordinate support for you. Sites like Meal Train and Care Calendar make it super easy. Secure your village ahead of time so it’s in place when the time comes.
A postpartum doula (someone trained to support new families as they transition post-arrival) is a fabulous place to start. But there are a host of other professionals can help with everything from baby wearing, sleep concerns, and helping with the physical aches and pains from birthing, feeding and carrying your baby all the livelong day.
Postpartum is usually challenging, as most big transitions are. But it doesn’t have to be paralyzing or isolating. Information and support can make a huge difference, and can help you approach and navigate this time with confidence.