I will be the first to tell you that we can get lost as new parents, especially as new moms.
What do we get lost in? Baby toes, baby smiles… baby SCREAMS, feeding baby all freaking day worrying about babies temperature and sleep position, contemplating why our newborn isn’t as calm and docile as we were expecting… you know. The usual inner dialogue of a new parent.
But as moms, I feel we take on this new job with such loving but overwhelming gusto, that we can burn ourselves out within days of having baby, especially if that particular baby is “fussy.” While planning for our births is rather popular, planning for postpartum time is not. Why is that? It is often a very exhausting time after all.
As a baby planner and a maternity stress management coach, my goals are simple. Educate. Reduce stress. Empower.
So I suggest my clients do Mommy Plans or postpartum plans as they are often called. We sit down together before baby is even born figuring out who will help with meals and cleaning, who will get the family dog out for walks, and who will provide the new parents with some relief baby care every so often.
I work to simplify the goings-on of the postpartum environment so that moms and dads can enjoy their new baby without the worry of daily tasks. We think of who they will want to visit them post-birth and how many visitors they will want per week (if any). This helps to reduce worry that too many, or the wrong type of visitors can cause. Is your mother-in-law stressful to you? Maybe we can decide that visiting will start after day two, so you have time to get all your wits about you! Moms forget about themselves. I did.
And not one person reminded me. (Where oh where was I when I needed myself?)
I was soooo in need of a mommy plan! My son was supposed to be a natural birth, but ended up a c-section. Then I was sent home with a nice infection in my uterus. I got sick about 4 days later. Back to the hospital we went. I remained there for five days and returned home with an IV pole. Infusion therapy lasted two weeks.
I found out my son was colicky after about a week of being home from the hospital. I was at a disadvantage from the start and had no plan of self-care. I got lost in Dominic. Why was he crying so much? How could I keep breastfeeding? Was he sick? How was his jaundice and his weight? Worry, worry, worry. That’s all I did.
I didn’t ask for help barely at all. I was alone with my son, a teary, screeching, miserable little guy BY MYSELF most of the day every day. No one mentioned self care. What the hell was that? So I went three days without showering sometimes…. Big deal. Dominic was more important. He needed me.
He did need me. He needed me to be healthy. I was not healthy as I was resentful toward my busy husband who spent hours a day at school and doing homework. I was not at peace with my ability as a mother despite my countless hours of devotion to my little guy every day. I was in fact depressed, angry, lonely and afraid. Stress is contagious and disruptive to the whole family. My stress was feeding into the conundrum that was my colicky baby.
It took me until I started my coursework at the International Maternity Institute before I realized I was STILL lacking in the self-care department when my son was 18 months old.
So I have made many many changes in the last 8 months from switching to whole foods, to doing yoga (which I love more than sex), to getting massages twice a month. These are all components of the Mommy Plan for Postpartum Wellness that I encourage my new moms to strive for.
Even if your child is 5, it is not too late to adopt some form of a Mommy Plan for your wellbeing. Children are amazing… the most important job we’ll ever be asked to do is raise them. But they are exhausting, especially if they are high-need kiddos.
So we need to keep our needs HIGH on our priority list too. If we, as parents, are well….Our children will have a better shot at wellness.
Please contact me if you need help putting together your Mommy Plan!
Amanda is the owner of Ready or Not – A Baby Planning Service. She is in love with her toddler and her husband and derives much of her writing inspiration from her family experiences. You can find her on Facebook, or get in touch with her by email.
Photo courtesy of sixninepixel