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and Do Not Copy/Paste Content. -Becca

Becca@ElementsWellnessCo.com

CREATE A POSTPARTUM STRATEGY

July 21, 2019

     Often childbirth is prepared for not too unlike planning a wedding.  You spend a ton of time planning for the big event and after it's over, you're married and have to navigate the logistics of spending the rest of your life with another person.  When you are having a baby, you spend a ton of time planning for the big event (the birth) and after it's over, you're a parent and have to navigate the logistics of raising a human. Truly, how much time, effort and education is put into the after part?  Frequently, its not much, if any at all.  Wouldn't it be great if we were prepared for both the event and the after?

     The difference between a postpartum period that is successful and one that is not, directly correlates to the level of support and preparation.  I stress this to the expecting parents that I work with because postpartum is much much longer than childbirth.  Set yourself up for success for when you come home and are exhausted from birth.  Take the time, make the effort, and educate yourself ahead of time.

     How do you set yourself up for success and create a postpartum strategy?  By getting to know yourself and your postpartum potential!  Create a list of your and your partner's strengths, gaps, and areas to take action.  Below, I have categorized topics and questions for you to review and consider when creating your postpartum strategy.

 

Goals and Expectations

Having goals, desires, things to aim for in your day to day, week to week, and month to month is fantastic.  However I beg of you, do not aim to do it all and please set your expectations low!  This category is not about excelling at parenthood, but more about survival.  What is the sustainable essential bottom line?  For example: Aim for having a hot meal each day, or taking a non-rushed shower, or taking 20-30-60 mindful minutes of time by yourself, or sitting outside in the fresh air.  You get it?  Celebrate the bottom line and think of all the other non-essential stuff as added bonuses if you are able to attain them.

 

​Questions to ask yourself:

  • What are my breastfeeding goals?

  • What are my and my partner's top 3 goals for personal wellbeing per day, per week, per month?  Can we commit to support one another in reaching those goals?

  • What is my bottom line for personal and family wellness?

Support

You know the phrase "it takes a village"?  This phrase is actually an old proverb that means that an entire community of people must interact with children for those children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment.  Get comfortable with that phrase and lean into what it means.  Trying to balance and do it all yourself is not realistic or sustainable for you or for baby.  Take support when it is offered and ask for support when you want and/or need it.

 

​Questions to ask yourself:

  • What in-home, household tasks, and/or meal support is needed?

  • Do I have the lactation consultant's and pediatrician's numbers stored in my phone?  Do I have back up care providers/resources, just in case?

  • Would hiring a postpartum doula be of interest or available to me?

Education

Have you ever changed a diaper or calmed a crying baby, is one of the first questions I ask expecting parents in our postpartum strategy sessions.  While a textbook or video doesn't compare to the real thing, it does help prepare you for when you do actually have to preform care tasks.  Taking a class, watching a video, practicing on a doll are all good places to start learning.  And when it comes time to really do it, you and your baby will be less stressed learning and doing these new things together.

 

​Questions to ask yourself:

  • Who can I talk to and what resources do I have that will help me figure out what essential things I don't know yet?

  • What classes, books, and/or resources will I utilize to learn about newborn and postpartum care?

Biological

Physical recovery from pregnancy and birth is most certainly unique to each individual.  It is widely recommended to take a minimum of six weeks for recovery.  But know that birth recovery isn't the only biological concern in postpartum.  Consider the other biological factors such as medical history, diet, sleep, and fluctuation of hormones.

 

​Questions to ask yourself:

  • What medical history, physical health, medications, allergies, and/or sensitivities need to be addressed?

  • Do I have the midwife/ob's number stored in my phone?

  • What other care providers do I need to connect with?  Pelvic Physical Therapist? Dietitian?  Chiropractor?

Psychological

Each of these categories listed could be books on their own, but the psychological category can make or break the gaps experienced in all of the other categories.  Mental health is an absolute essential consideration.  Get realistic and honest about the way you cope with the stress, your personal mental health history, and .  Whether you struggle emotionally or not, the minimum of acknowledging this factor is a strength.

 

​Questions to ask yourself:

  • What coping skills, emotional controls, stress triggers, and/or behavioral tendencies need to be addressed?

  • Do I have the contact information for a postpartum or couples or women's therapist?

  • What parent groups are active in the community? 

  • Who of my friends and family members will support my mental health?

Social

Postpartum is not the time to host and entertain.  Yet, too often the baby visitors turn into added stress vs added support.  I'm not saying shut people out, but I am saying that you can set boundaries and expectations with friends and loved ones.  Identify the people, times and limitations to be social.

 

​Questions to ask yourself:

  • Who are my visitors vs helpers, who are both?

  • Who in my community, social network, local resources, and/or family can I rely on for support?

  • How much time per day-week-month do I want and need to socialize?

Financial

We all know that having a baby in today's society can get expensive.  Don't ignore the fact that birthing a baby and then raising that baby will cost money.  Get realistic about your budget and look into what essential things cost.  Get realistic about maternity and paternity leave and your occupational logistics. 

 

​Questions to ask yourself:

  • How much do I already have in my savings?  What is my savings goal for before baby arrives?

  • What is my weekly/monthly budget for spending prenatally and after baby arrives?

  • What occupational logistics need to be addressed?

 

You won't be able to prevent the unexpected or obtain continuous postpartum bliss with this postpartum strategy.  But you will be prepared for potential breakdowns and set yourself up to sustain an essential bottom line.  By evaluating your strengths, identifying your gaps, and taking action ahead of time will help to soften the impact of inevitable breakdowns.  The postpartum period is different for each family and each baby.  The variance between complete breakdown and complete bliss is wide and can fluctuate throughout each day.  Knowing that no two postpartum periods look the same, is a strength.  You can expect the unexpected.  You can plan and strategize for the breakdowns and set your expectations low.

 

 

Want a free printable Postpartum Strategy worksheet?

CLICK HERE and I'll send one to your inbox :)

 

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