8 Reasons Pregnant Moms Should Make Postpartum Support a Priority
Hey pregnant mama, I get you. You’re super excited about your baby bump and your upcoming maternity photo shoot. There’s nothing cuter than a sweet, swelling baby belly to document your pregnancy on Instagram. And while I don’t want to be a Doula Downer, I’d really like to chat with you about why you need to give some thought to postpartum support.
No matter how smoothly your pregnancy is going, you need to plan for support after your baby is earthside.
The Fourth Trimester.
That’s right, it’s considered the fourth stage of pregnancy and it lasts the longest. So it’s absolutely crucial that you think about it before your baby arrives! Because there’s nothing harder than going through all the postnatal changes without having a safety plan for dealing.
Will you experience everything below? To some extent, yup. As a mom of four who’s been caught in the trenches of post-baby without a plan and as a birth nurse who’s seen many-a-woman start experiencing some of these side-effects of birth before they even go home, I want you to have a better experience.
I’m gonna be straight up with you: the exhaustion starts pretty soon after the baby comes out. Whether you laboured and pushed your babe out or you had a c-section, your body is TIRED. Birth is the hardest work you’ll ever do, full stop. So to think that you’re not going to need a bit of time to recover just isn’t realistic.
Even those women who seem to ‘bounce right back’ are experiencing some form of exhaustion from broken sleep, soothing an inconsolable baby or just the sheer mental exhaustion of suddenly interpreting and caring for a tiny human’s every need.
BTW- Did you know that postpartum can last for years? Click the image below to read all about it:
After I had my first of four babies, I remember settling in at home and feeling so in awe of my baby. I had no idea that I could love another person so purely and I felt so happy that I got to experience this intense love.
Then I started bawling.
It didn’t make sense to me then, but since then I’ve learned that baby blues make you cry for no reason at all.
But there is a reason! Your hormones after birth are hard at work trying to rebalance to pre-pregnancy levels and this can put you straight into your feelings. So even when you feel so effing happy and in love, you may find yourself crying and feeling a little sad.
The other thing you may be feeling after your birth is disappointment, shock or disbelief at how your birth unfolded. For some, it takes time (and sometimes even therapy) to get some of these feelings straight.
At the very least, plan to feel a range of emotions.
Learning a new skill can feel overwhelming. When you become a mom, suddenly you’re learning 100 new skills and all at once! Soothing, changing diapers, bathing, trimming nails, figuring out all those damn sleeper buttons in the dark...these are just a few of the new things you’re going to be figuring out on the fly. With a tiny human as your new boss.
My hope for you is that you have a birth that doesn’t bring you any postpartum pain. But many will be dealing with stitches down there, pelvic pain from birth, a sore back from the epidural, incision pain from a c-section or even issues with peeing and pooping.
Look, birth is a whole even that can affect your entire body. It’s going to take some recovery and pain may be a part of that.
When I talk about pain, I’m always worried that you’re gonna think I’m trying to scare you. The truth is that nobody just gets up after having a baby and feels perfectly fine. There’s gonna be a period of time where you may need rest, ice packs or even medications to help you through.
You need to know that pain is a possibility after birth and you may need extra support to help you deal with it and recover. Especially if you’re on stronger medications and you can’t drive or be alone with the baby.
Ask anybody who’s had a baby and they’ll tell you they couldn’t believe that when it was time to go home they just...left the hospital with the baby. Nobody quizzed them or questioned their abilities, they just handed them some paperwork and said, ‘good luck’!
Whether you’re going home with a partner or as a single parent, your relationship with yourself is going to go through more changes than a home renovation with Nate and Jeremiah! You’ll question your abilities, you’ll feel proud and you’ll finally see what crushing responsibility feels like. This takes a lot of positive self-talk at a time when you don’t have a lot of time.
Obviously your relationship with your partner is really gonna change. It would be nice to think that your love for each other will stay the same because that’s your safe spot, right? But things aren’t staying the same. Your relationship is gonna bend and strain under the new responsibilities as you each go through your own personal transformation. It’s key to continue to keep talking about it- how you’re feeling, how you’re coping and where you need help.
Remember, this is all happening while you continue to bond with your newborn so make sure you have a lot of patience with each other.
Feeding a newborn baby creates a lot of stress for new parents! If you’re breastfeeding, you’re gonna worry about your baby getting enough. Everyone is. And even though there are ways to ensure your baby is feeding well and thriving, you may still doubt your body and its ability to keep your baby alive.
You may experience latch issues and suffer from pain or discomfort during early breastfeeding that may require the help of a Lactation Consultant. For many, it takes time to become the Nursing Dream Team!
BTW- We have an amazing free resource for breastfeeding. Check it out below:
No matter how you choose to feel your new baby, the biggest struggle people have with feeding will be mastering a skill that they’ve never done before. Whether it’s breastfeeding and perfecting your latch or bottle feeding and figuring out how to safely sterilize your bottles and nipples you will probably feel the stress.
Nobody ever tells you how many appointments your newborn may need. And while it may not seem like a big deal right now, while you’re pregnant, it’s a HUGE deal to plan feedings, changes and fussy times around a specific time.
If you have a healthy baby, you’ll need to follow up with your family doctor within a few days of leaving the hospital. If your baby was born with any issues (tongue tie, heart issue, hip problems, inconclusive hearing test, etc...) those follow-ups will need to happen.
Even something as simple as slower weight gain can mean weekly treks to the doctor’s office.
Alrighty, if you identify as a Type A listen up! A blow to your routine can really make you feel out of control. Even if it’s something as simple as the time you take your daily walk or when you watch your episodes of The Bachelor.
Your routine is going to blow up and you’ll need to find a new-for-now one. The thing is, your routine is gonna continuously change from now until the foreseeable future. Even people who insist that a baby will fit into their life rather than them fitting into their baby’s schedule eventually break down and change things up.
If you’ve got pets or other children who need to stay on their routine, you’re gonna need help. Especially when your partner goes back to work!
I know thinking about your postpartum recovery isn’t as much fun as shopping for your new baby or decorating the nursery, but it’s crucial so you’ll know how to identify your ‘weak spots’ and plan to avoid as many postnatal pitfalls as possible.
It doesn’t matter how empowering your birth is if you feel like crap about your first days and weeks as a new mom.
Not sure how to figure it all out? Download our Postpartum Planning Guide and get started!
Joanne Ilaqua - CEO of MamaSoup
Hey there, I’m Joanne.
I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I have 4 kids and I know firsthand how lonely and isolating motherhood can be, so I created MamaSoup. I'm mostly known for my love of red wine, spontaneously singing and my confidence in being my true self on social media. When I’m not busy building women up, you can catch me taking Instagram stories of my bulldog Ruby, watching The Handmaid’s Tale, playing MUber (Mom Uber) to my kids or vacationing in my favourite town: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
I love serving the world by providing a space for moms to connect and support each other. In my opinion, moms are the backbone of communities because they are (literally) raising the future!
As the founder and CEO of MamaSoup, I’ve been featured on CHEX TV Morning Show, KawarthaNOW, Economic Development- The City of Kawartha Lakes and MyKawartha.
Still with me? Join me over at MamaSoup to keep the conversation going!