What I'm talking about is being proactive. Being forward thinking. Investing time into planning instead of wasting time reacting.
I have talked a little bit about reacting and responding, and some of the differences in a post last December about decisions in labor. It can be hard to feel prepared for something that you didn't know would happen, so having the B.R.A.I.N. tool ready can be a huge help!
But that's the game of life right? We never really know what is coming next in the big picture, so we do the best we can. We budget our money, we allocate our energy, we prioritize our schedules.
And then we have kids.
And nothing is ever really child-proof. Time ceases to operate as we thought. Emotions are fickle. We are caught unable to plan for dinner, let alone the week, month, or next 18 years.
There is so much time for planning when you are pregnant. There are parties, books being read, thoughts about going-home outfits, car seat selection... all that time will feel luxurious compared to what happens after your baby arrives.
There is a term that circulates: baby brain. It is the feeling of having lost one's ability to think logically, or remember events or facts once your baby is born. Some of it comes from being woken up every 2 to 3 hours. Some of it comes from being bewildered by this new little love in your life, and some of it is complete unexplainable.
(Some moms tell me they feel like part of their brain was actually sacrificed and given to this new human. They hope their old self will come back!)
The eerie passing of time, the new responsibilities, the reality of your expanding family can make all the plans you had fly right out the window. Responding turns into reacting. And events regress into meeting the needs that now come hour by hour.
This is hard for many parents, but this is totally normal.
What I hope for new parents is that when there are able hands near to help, and that the loads will feel lighter instead of heavier.
Sometimes visitors who are trying to be helpful end up being a burden or making a bigger mess. Sometimes family that is there to support instead inflicts judgement. Sometimes there is no one else.
When you are in your planning stages for you expanding family, keep in mind that a person you can count on to help ease your load is a postpartum doula.
Your postpartum doula can help with new infant care or help nurture your family with meals. Your postpartum doula can support your breastfeeding journey and help you get sleep. Your postpartum doula can listen to your concerns and help you feel better prepared for what is next.
A postpartum doula will not do one thing - and that is make your new normal harder for you or your family.
I invite you take some time, while it is in so much abundance, and consider if bringing a postpartum doula into your after-care plan is a proactive step you can take to help with all of the unexpected situations a new infant brings to your family.
You are everything your new baby needs. A postpartum doula can be there to ensure you feel up to responding to your new role.
Question: Have you used a postpartum doula? What was the more unexpected benefit? What would you share to families thinking of this service? Share your advice!
Authored by A Swift Doula