It can feel like motherhood dramatically changes your identity in an instant. Target runs? Impromptu date nights? Weekends away with friends? Those things all take much, much longer to organize.
And the feelings surrounding parenthood: inadequacy, loneliness, and guilt alongside joy and love, are confusing. It’s easy to see how we lose sight of who we were.
But a postpartum plan, full of resources and boundaries, and goals, can empower you and help you avoid (some of) those feelings. Read on to see how a postpartum plan protects your identity as a new parent.
How a postpartum plan protects your identity
1. You’re more prepared
A postpartum plan will help provide more realistic expectations for you and your newborn. When you’re informed about how your body recovers after childbirth or how difficult feeding can be, you don’t have as many “what the eff” moments.
For instance, when you’ve learned about regular baby feeding and sleep, you know that babies wake to eat every 2 – 3 hours in the early days. So, you make plans to get more sleep and have meals delivered by loved ones. Then, you’re less likely to be confused and frustrated.
Instead of feeling inadequate and frantically searching the Internet for books on sleep training, you’re aware that sleep deprivation is a short – but exhausting – season of parenthood, but there is an end in sight.
2. You’re confident and empowered
Knowledge is power. In the case of birth and postpartum, this rings even more true. Having birth and postpartum plans lessens the likelihood of having a traumatic birth or postpartum experience. You’ll be able to advocate for yourself and your baby.
Having birth and postpartum plans lessens the likelihood of having a traumatic birth or postpartum experience.
To help, I create postpartum plans that include a lactation educator or consultant, a pelvic floor therapist, a therapist focusing on birth and postpartum, and a support group.
Simply having these names and numbers written down and ready to go saves time and effort. And you’ll feel empowered, prepared to conquer the many struggles you’ll face with your new little one.
3. You have tough conversations before baby arrives
By creating your birth and postpartum plan, you’ll have to have meaningful conversations with your partner, support person, family, and friends.
You and your partner or support person should have many, many conversations that span beyond baby names and nursery decorations.
These conversations should include (but aren’t limited to):
- Accepting visitors with a newborn
- Meal planning and preparation
- Sharing domestic labor after baby
- Returning to work
- Childcare plans
And those – sometimes tricky – conversations with your support person will help lay the groundwork for setting boundaries and limitations with friends and family.
Setting those boundaries before the baby arrives lets you focus on what’s important: healing and bonding with your baby.
Keep in mind, setting those boundaries before the baby arrives lets you focus on what’s important: healing and bonding with your baby. While it can feel challenging to do at the moment, boundaries are essential.
Listen in: How to Set Better Boundaries After Birth
4. You have support
Most new parents aren’t ready for the physical recovery of having a baby; they’re shocked by bleeding and sweating and pelvic floor recovery.
So, it’s essential to be educated and create a postpartum plan focused on healing. This physical support team will help you to recover fully.
Equally important, but even less discussed, is the emotional support you’ll need.
Who will you text when you’re struggling to feed your baby?
Who will listen to your birth story?
It might be a partner, friends, family, a therapist, or a neighbor. Whoever it is, you’ll need people to empathize.
They will be there to listen to your feelings of anger, frustration, guilt, or inadequacy; they will encourage you and share their own stories. Words cannot express how essential this will be for you.
Get started on your postpartum support plan
Your postpartum plan will help you recover physically and emotionally. With a swifter recovery, you’ll discover how the person you were before a baby and the person you are after will meld into this new version of you.