Welcome to one of your life’s most magical times, without question. Regardless if you have had a plain sailing pregnancy or perhaps one that was off to a rough start (hello morning sickness!) there is magic happening within the walls of your womb-anhood. Everyone is so quick to tell you how exhausted you are going to be, how difficult your days with a newborn may look BUT I am here to tell you your heart is about to expand and swell beyond any recognisable dimension. You will not only greet a brand new little baby at the end but an entirely new version of yourself—transformed, awakened and with the strength of every birthing woman before you coursing through your veins. These things and so many more (above my word count here) are far more interesting and anticipated don’t you think?!
So what are a few things we can be doing now to excitedly prepare for our baby? With such a strong focus on baby’s birth – and rightly so, it’s an incredibly important time in our lives- as a Midwife and Calmbirth Educator I think we need to be thinking of how to better support a beautiful new and growing family during the time that immediately follows. Directing all of our attention on the birth without considering how to create a peaceful postpartum is like focusing on the wedding but not the marriage. Many other cultures honour and acknowledge the transition from woman to Mother as a sacred Rite of Passage with warm nutritious broths and teas, herbal tonics, bath soaks, massage and removing all household tasks and responsibilities from her so that she can just focus on getting to know her new little love. They appreciate that a new mother who is held in such a way will be far better equipped to hold others. Her mental health, her mood, her confidence will flourish.
How to achieve a positive postpartum experience then?
- Nutrition Needs: The way in which you fuel your body is still as important as ever, especially for recovery and breastmilk production. Get creative and organise a cooking party with a bunch of your girlfriends to start stocking up your freezer. I promise you the last thing you and your partner will feel like doing is cooking and meal planning in those first early weeks. A meal train is also a wonderful help.
- The Beautiful Basics: No doubt baby has got an enviable wardrobe (who can go passed sweet baby clothes honestly) and the best bath/skin care products but what about Mama? More than ever you deserve the pampering so treat yourself to the top-shelf goodies and some gorgeous feeding friendly pyjamas so if you don’t manage to get out of them that day you’ll at least look fabulous.
- Community Care: its time to evolve from self care to community care. On an individual level society has primed us to be self-reliant and self-sufficient but on a familial level it’s all about support and connection. We are a social species and thrive off strong family bonds, much like monkeys, dolphins and elephants so let’s bring back the village. We were never meant to raise our beautiful little beings alone so accept the help and in turn, give our family and friends a gift in doing so.
- Embrace Pause Over Productivity: we live in such a fast paced world and are all about the hustle but this is a time for going slow Mama. Breathe it all in and love it all out. If your baby’s and your own basic needs are met then that’s more than enough. Go gently and be kind to yourself. This time with your teeny little babe is fleeting and you’ll wish you could find the rewind button for the rest of your days.