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Why it’s important to prepare for postpartum BEFORE you birth

Mar 19, 2019

Preparing for the time after your baby arrives is just as important as preparing for the birth. There will be remarkable changes happening in your mind and body. I encourage you to take time to think about the postnatal period before you are experiencing it. It can give you time to organise some helpful natural remedies for postpartum and get support networks in place so that hopefully you can ease into motherhood a little easier.

Those precious weeks after birth can be really intense, but with the right support, you and your baby can emerge feeling rejuvenated and peaceful instead of overwhelmed and exhausted.

How long is the postpartum period?

Many people believe that the postpartum period lasts around six weeks after the birth of the baby.  However, the time it takes to heal and adapt is going to be different for everyone. It’s good to be aware that it may take you longer to adjust and step into your new role. It may take you 3 months, 6 months, 12 months or longer to emerge from your ‘postpartum period’.

Midwife Raven Lang says that many midwives she worked with considered the postpartum time to be two years (or longer). She says ‘as long as the baby’s in diapers, and you’re up in the night and your breast is being called upon by that person, you’re postpartum.’

Modern society would have you believe that faster is better, but in the case of postpartum, slower is better! There is no ‘going back to normal’. You will be forever changed. It will take time to adjust to your new role and the more support you have, the more peaceful you will feel. 

Ask for support so you can heal

Growing a human is a remarkable feat. It takes a lot of energy and resources from your body. After you give birth your body will probably be a little bit sore. Your main focus should be on healing and recovering from birth while bonding with and feeding your baby.

Try to resist the temptation to ‘do it all’. Especially when you start feeling better, overdoing it in the early weeks, can set back your recovery. Sometimes the thought of asking for help can feel awkward or uncomfortable.  However, taking time to rest after birth is essential and we need to move past the notion that receiving help is ‘a luxury’. Make sure you read tips on asking for help during postpartum here

4 tips for preparing for your postpartum

  1. Get a support network in place before you birth. An eye-opening exercise is to write down all the tasks you currently do day-to-day. You may cook, clean, look after children or pets, shop for food, garden and/or run a business. For proper rest and recovery, outsourcing as many tasks as possible will be important. Write down the names of some friends or family members that you could ask to help you during postpartum.
  2. Research what local groups are around that can help you meet with other mothers and/or get help with breastfeeding.
  3. Have some meals planned ahead. During your pregnancy, freeze some healthy meals like casseroles, soups or stews. You may like to ask a friend to organise a meal roster so you can enjoy home-cooked meals from friends and family.
  4. Plan to have some nurturing treatments. Write down what helps you relax and plan to do some of these things (for example having a bath or massage). Ask a friend to watch the baby while you enjoy this necessary nurturing.

You’ll be better able to nurture your newborn if you feel happy and healthy. Mothers are not meant to make this transition on their own. It really does take a village!

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