5 reasons you shouldn't just go with the flow when you are expecting a baby (and 1 reason you should!)
I work with families during pregnancy and after their babies have arrived, and there are a lot of myths about what life is like when you have a new baby - it's just assumed that it's going to be chaotic and unpredictable. And that's definitely part of it - your baby will rock your world. But what if I told you that you can plan for the early weeks with your baby to make the transition easier and less stressful? Wouldn't you want to at least try? Here are my top 5 reasons why planning for the postpartum period (the first weeks and months after birth, not postpartum depression) can help all families, whether this is your first baby or your fifth.
- Babies might be unpredictable, but you still need to eat. There's definitely some chaos in the early weeks. But at the same time, life goes on. You need to eat, laundry needs doing, errands need doing, pets need care. You can't control your baby, but you can prepare and plan so that the other essentials of life are taken care of.
- Getting clear on your priorities in advance can help you take advantage of helpful family and friends. People who love you are probably going to say things like: "Let me know if I can help!" Many of us aren't used to asking for or accepting help, so when people offer, we don't even know what to say. Or our brains are softened by lack of sleep and floods of awesome hormones, and we can't think of what we need. Having a list - of grocery items you need, of chores you'd like help with, of meals you love, of outings that older siblings would enjoy - can make it so much easier to answer your friends and family with, "Actually, that'd be great. Can you please...?"
- Putting your house and your life on cruise control can help you focus on bonding with your baby. A whole new person is joining your family, and you need to get to know them so you can understand what they need - and they need you for everything. That's about the steepest learning curve in the world. It's no joke when people say that parenting is a full time job - newborns require around 14 hours of hands on care a day! Getting to know your baby is a priority in the early weeks, and the more space you have in your life to do that, the better off you'll all be. Making a plan for the other stuff, stocking up on necessities in advance, and asking for help or hiring a postpartum doula can all support you to get to know the amazing new person in your life.
- Having a plan helps you and your partner and other support people communicate clearly. Let's face it - life with a new baby doesn't usually bring out the most calm and rational aspects of your personality. It is a vulnerable time - full of big emotions of all sorts. Sometimes this can make it hard to ask for what you need from the people closest to you. When you know what your goals are and you know where to go for additional help - with breastfeeding, physical and mental health concerns, parenting questions, emotional support, and more - it can help you and your partner/support people work as a team.
- Anticipating your needs in advance means that it's easier to meet them. Your needs in the postpartum period are super important. Baby comes first, then the birthing/breastfeeding parent, then the other parent, then everything else. Laundry matters, but your emotional well-being and physical recovery are a much higher priority. Making a postpartum plan is one way to say to yourself and to those around you that your needs matter.
Finally, here's one reason you should go with the flow when you have a new baby: because flow happens most beautifully when you feel safe and supported. Surrendering to the new rhythms of life when you have a new baby can be a delightful surprise, and you'll come out the other side with new wisdom, skills, and perspective. If you're worried about sweeping your floors, walking the dog, and taking care of guests, it's a whole lot harder to surrender. A plan can mean the difference between floating down a river in a sturdy boat and going over Niagara Falls in a bikini. There will be some bumps either way, but I think it's obvious which one to pick.
Want to create a plan for your family to thrive in one easy session with the help of me, your local postpartum expert? Yeah, you do. I offer this as a private service and you can book a session here.