Planning Ahead for a Supported Postpartum Window
“Conscious Care provides an avenue to give you the tools to trust yourself, and confidence to know that you are the best caregiver” – Andrea Luzitano.
Today on the Sacred Window Studies Podcast Christine Eck talked with Professional Postpartum Doula, Andrea Luzitano, about the importance of planning for the postpartum time. Andrea is based in the United States where postpartum care is culturally limited. We spoke about the importance of postpartum planning covering aspects of emotional support to logistic support, such as assigning tasks, gathering support and directing support people. Andrea went into depth about what new postpartum caregivers should know and essential tips to support a successful postpartum time. As a postpartum caregiver it is important to know how to stick to basic information, allowing things to be as simple and digestible as possible. We spoke about how to do this while also providing thorough care.
You have your hospital bag packed, your nursery set up, and a birth plan all laid out – but what about your postpartum plan?
In our Western culture, planning for a baby usually focuses on the baby itself – so many little blankets! – but often overlooks the parents! Make sure you put as much thought into your postpartum plan as you do your birth plan.
● Many people plan for their birth, but very few have a postpartum plan ahead of time
● A postpartum plan not only lays out the framework for what support you might need and who will be there to provide it, but also lists out local resources, professionals, and businesses that can help as well
● It’s a good idea to have a fleshed-out postpartum plan on display in a prominent area of your home for easy reference
What does a postpartum plan entail?
A good postpartum plan includes outlines for several key components which are crucial to a peaceful postpartum:
● Setting Boundaries
● Practical Support
● Dividing Up Tasks
● Preparing Your Relationships
● Considering Your Mental Wellness
● Listing Out Healthcare Resources
● Building Your Village
The guiding questions below will help you draw some lines in the sand prior to baby’s arrival so that everyone is on the same page with your postpartum expectations in each of these planning categories:
Having healthy boundaries during your postpartum time is an important aspect of a successful postpartum plan. Will you have people visit you in the hospital or shortly after birth? If so, who and when? What will your “visiting hours” be? Who will ask people to leave if you are trying to rest?
Who will be available to help your days run smoothly? What is your comfort level when it comes to the tidiness of your surroundings? Are the people on your support list helpful, or would they be more of a hindrance to your recovery? (Remember: you are NOT a host – your practical support team should consist of people who can come right in and take over, not of people who expect to hold the baby while you cook and clean!)
Dividing Up Tasks
What tasks do you need done on a daily basis, weekly basis, or monthly basis? Which tasks can be discarded for now? Who will take on the responsibility of each task on a regular basis? Who will care for older children, and when? Who can watch all the kids while you nap? Who will care for your pets?
Preparing Your Relationships
How will your partner react to the postpartum period? What does s/he need to have a peaceful postpartum? What do older children need? Will you have “dates” once the baby arrives, and if so, what will that look like (hint: think small! Even a morning cup of tea and a chat counts here!) How will you make time for other family members after the baby has arrived? What sort of social contact do you need during your recovery? How much or how little space do you need?
Considering Your Mental Wellness
Are you an anxious person, or usually calm? Do you have a history of depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues? How have you handled these issues in the past? Do you practice meditation or other mental wellness activities? If so, how will you continue these activities through your postpartum? What simple activities bring you peace and joy, which are most important to you, and how will you incorporate these into your postpartum routine? What will your self-care routine look like?
Listing Out Healthcare Resources
Make a list of local healthcare professionals in your area. Having the contact information for several doctors, midwives, mental health counselors, physical therapists, pelvic floor specialists, feeding/lactation specialists, and other professionals in easy reach can make a big difference when you find yourself in need of their help but don’t have the mental bandwidth to go hunting for the necessary information.
Building Your Village
It’s not just a saying! Your village can include your immediate family and healthcare team, but don’t forget to add friends, postpartum doulas, extended family, and others who would be able to best support you while you heal and recover. Local parenting groups, yoga classes, meal prep services, or meet-up groups can also add to your village.
How can I create a postpartum plan?
Many templates are available online via a quick search, but simply answering the questions above can generate a solid beginning for a plan. Many postpartum doulas also provide a planning service as part of their offerings, as well as coming by to help set up your space and get organized for your baby’s arrival.
Planning for birth is important – planning for postpartum is, too!
Remember: when a baby is born, so is a mother or caregiver – everyone is learning, and everyone needs to be nurtured. Creating a solid postpartum plan is just as important as creating a birth plan, and just like birth, postpartum can also be fluid and ever-changing. In the end, it’s best to go with the flow in either situation – but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared!
Have you ever created a postpartum plan? What did you find most helpful to have prepped before your baby arrived? Comment below and share your experience!
Andrea Luzitano in is the founder of Upon Arrival and mother to 4, serving the Plymouth county of Massachusetts. She is a Postpartum Doula Support and offers Family Education Services, serving the Plymouth county of Massachusetts and surrounding areas.
Contact her at www.uponarrivaldoula.com
Here at the Center for Sacred Window Studies, we share voices from many perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the sacred weeks post birth, and the experience of humanity is experienced in countless ways. We learn by listening to one another and honoring our stories. The views and opinions of our writers do not necessarily reflect the mission, viewpoints or opinions of the Center for Sacred Window Studies.