Welcome to my birth and postpartum guide, item #5. Congrats on the upcoming addition to your family! Please take care of yourself and best of luck with your preparations. This is one piece of a 10-part guide. Feel free to explore the other pieces from the introduction page.
The best ways to avoid pregnancy-related depression (as we noted, it’s the most common complication of pregnancy) are the 3 Ss — sleep, sunshine, and support. You will need support. New moms should not be required to do anything other than soak up baby love while dropping crumbs on their new baby’s head from food brought from loving friends and family members (or ordered from Grubhub) for at least two weeks. You’ll likely be told not to lift anything heavier than your new baby for those two weeks anyway. Limit your stairs, do no laundry, soak up that baby. In order to have any hope of this, you’ll need support. As I approached the end of my second pregnancy, my sister told me that everyone wanted to help, but just needed to know how. I said that I hoped she was serious and drew up a postpartum support plan. And honestly, everyone did their part, if not even more than they were assigned. I had everything I needed at every moment and often wondered, “how is it that everyone knows EXACTLY what I need right now?” — Oh yeah — I told them, and it worked. Write up a plan and share it with your support team, which can be family or friends or a mix of folks.
Things to include:
- Help with childcare or childcare drop-off and pick up if you have an older kiddo. (If your older child is in childcare, I strongly recommend keeping that going during at least the beginning of your leave — no need to disrupt their routine any more than necessary, and it will be great for you.)
- Someone to bring you food at the hospital — many hospitals do not have a way to get food 24 hours a day and you don’t know when you will go into labor or when you will be hungry. Also, having snacks in your postpartum room is great for guests.
- Help with food prep and dishes when you get home
- Help with house cleaning/keeping so that you are not tempted to do it when you should be soaking up baby love
- Help with laundry (you will go through outfits for you and the babe, blankets and burp clothes at an alarming rate for
- Help with any routine outdoor chores — e.g. shoveling, mowing
Here is my postpartum plan as an example.