10 Inspiring Postpartum Sanity Savers

10 Inspiring Postpartum Sanity Savers

I dreamed of becoming a mother for years. There was literally nothing else in life that I aspired to as a young adult; I had no career aspirations earlier in life.

I can remember conversations I’d had with my own mother and other, slightly older friends who had already had children. They warned me not to rush into motherhood. That it would change my world.

Of course, I understood this in theory, but their warnings annoyed me. How could something so meaningful and so beautiful be something to be warned about.

Then I had my first baby and I finally understood what their warnings held. They were not trying to tell me NOT to have kids, just to make sure I was really ready for my world to change so completely.

I, like many first time parents, was shocked at just how demanding this little human being could be. At what this all meant for ME as a person and what life now looked like. How all-consuming motherhood was, especially in the first days & weeks, but honestly for years to come.

 

Sanity can be a slippery slope as a parent, especially in the postpartum period**.

 

Remembering back to the first few weeks after my first was born, I recall conversations I had with other new moms. We’d chat by phone or get together for some much needed company. The traditional niceties would be exchanged:

“How are you doing? How are things with your baby?”

And inevitably, these women would reply with something like:

“Great, how about you?”

 

To which I’d think to myself, WTF is wrong with me? Why don’t I feel great? Why don’t I feel as happy as she sounds?

 

So let’s start right there, shall we? I’ve put together a list of 10 sanity savers for parents that I hope will prove to be inspirational as you navigate the often choppy waters of the postpartum period.

 

10 Postpartum Sanity Savers

 

  1. Be honest, both with yourself & with others, when you aren’t feeling “great”. When someone asks you how you are doing, answer honestly. If you are talking with other parents of young babies, you’ll be doing both of you a favour by telling it like it is. You’ll be inviting an open dialogue about the real challenges of parenthood so that you can offer each other peer support!
  2. Spend some time preparing for postpartum life. We spend so much time preparing for the birth of a baby and the “stuff” we’ll need to care for our baby, but how much time do we really spend preparing emotionally & strategically for life with our baby? Not sure where to start? I offer a postpartum planning workshop for couples to attend together before their baby arrives. You can learn more about my “Baby is Coming” workshop on my events page here.
  3. Babywearing! I can’t tell you what a world of difference I felt between baby #1 who I didn’t wear until he was old enough to go in a baby backpack & baby #2 who I wore almost from day 1. It’s called “hands-free parenting” and it was a LIFESAVER! If you’re in the Ottawa area, you can check out two wonderful, local stores who sell a variety of carriers and who have knowledgable staff to help you! The Extraordinary Baby Shoppe in Hintonburg and Milkface in Westboro.
  4. Build your village! We’ve all heard the term “It takes a village”, but it’s not as easy to fall in line with this philosophy in this busied culture where we aren’t necessarily living next door to our best friend or sister who is also home with young children. We need to actively seek out opportunities to connect with others who are in the same season of life as we are. I’ve created a list of *some* options (both free & paid) in the Ottawa area for you here.
  5. While on the topic of building your village, I’m proud & honoured to share that I’ve partnered up with the owner of the Kneaded Touch Women’s Clinic in Barrhaven to offer a FREE, monthly postpartum women’s circle. This is an opportunity to gather with women to talk about the shared experience of mothering on a deeper level. You can learn more about these circles on my events page here.
  6. Try removing the word “should” from your vocabulary so that you aren’t being so hard on yourself. See what it feels like to shift to the word “could” in its place.
  7. Follow your parenting instincts! People love to share their opinions on what’s best, but ultimately you know what’s best for YOU and YOUR FAMILY. Going with your own flow will diminish your struggles. Otherwise, you may find yourself going against your own grain which increases your struggles.
  8. Hire a postpartum doula. I had to sneak that one in here because they can do so much for you! 😉
  9. Enjoy wine o’clock! Did you know that it’s ok to consume moderate amounts of alcohol if you are breastfeeding? So go ahead and indulge once in a while if this is something you enjoy doing to relax & unwind!
  10. Please, for the love of all things good, don’t compare yourself to others! First of all, they may look like they have their s*** together, but they might not in reality. Secondly, you are YOU, you aren’t someone else. You have your own strengths, weaknesses, gifts, superpowers…
~ Love Note ~
I implore you to know that YOU are enough & more, just as you are!

 

These are but a few options to help you retain or regain your sanity in those crazy moments. It is my hope that this list helps to get your creative parenting juices flowing so that you find yourself feeling more sane & happy.

You don’t have to go it alone and you’ll almost definitely feel saner & happier if you don’t. I encourage you to try something new, broaden your strategies, and to reach out. I love to think that we’re in this together as a community!

 


 

** The postpartum period is commonly defined as the first 6 weeks after a baby is born. I like to extend this definition to the first year after a baby is born. I feel that 6 weeks doesn’t do justice to the amount of time it really takes to adjust to the addition of a new little being into our family unit.

What’s a Postpartum Doula & How to Choose the Best One for YOUR Family

What’s a Postpartum Doula & How to Choose the Best One for YOUR Family

I remember the early days, weeks, and months well. Actually, I remember the feeling of them well, not so much the finer details. As a mother to three children, I’ve lived through and survived the postpartum period three times. Each time was very different as each child is born into this world with their own personalities and unique ways of needing to be nurtured. But there are a few common sentiments that I recall feeling in all three of my experiences.

 

Exhaustion, overwhelm, heightened emotions, fatigue…

 

And yes, these feelings were paired with joy, happiness, exhilaration too. They were times of great ups & downs, which is all completely normal.

 

What’s challenging is trying to navigate these turbulent times with relatively little help. I consider myself to be very lucky as I’m well surrounded by family and friends who were willing to help to the best of their abilities, but everyone is just so busy these days it seems. I still found myself feeling very alone and isolated at times.

 

There are a number of strategies that you & your family can use to manage this chaotic time in your lives. Here are a few you may like to consider (I’ll dig deeper into each in future posts):

  • Simplify your day to day life as much as possible
  • Become the “yes” couple/family
  • Lower your bar of expectations
  • Outsource what you can & consider hiring a postpartum doula

 

 

~ Love Note ~
What you are doing right now, nurturing a new little human being, THAT right there is important enough stuff! You don’t need to feel pressured to be accomplishing any more than that, because IT is so much all on its own.

 

As the title of this post alludes though, let’s explore that last strategy more deeply.

 

What is a postpartum doula anyways?

Postpartum doulas are trained or experienced women who provide care to you and your family immediately after birth, or the addition of a new baby, through the first year. The doula offers non-judgmental support, guidance, evidence-based education and practical hands-on support. “Doula” originates from the Greek word meaning woman servant.**

 

** This definition is my adaptation of a few I’ve come across and it’s what resonates the most strongly with my personal approach to this very meaningful work.

 

When you hire a postpartum doula, you’ll receive customized support based on what your family is needing in the given moment. This shifts as the needs shift; even from one session to the next sometimes!

 

Support may include (but is not necessarily limited to):
  • Infant feeding support
  • Newborn care while parents get in some self-care (think – taking a nap or a shower or the likes)
  • Answering questions about newborn care
  • Reassuring parents of their natural instincts
  • Emotional support
  • Helping siblings to adapt to their new world
  • Providing resources suggestions as someone who is well versed in what’s available locally
  • Light housework
  • Meal & snack prep
  • Errands
In my humble opinion, you would benefit from hiring a postpartum doula if you:
  • Don’t have family who can support you living close by
  • Are a first-time parent and you are feeling overwhelmed about how to care for a newborn
  • Have other younger children and their world has just changed significantly + it’s challenging to balance caring for a newborn & giving your other children the attention that they need
  • Have had multiples and could really use some extra support/another set of hands
  • Just had a baby (enough said?)

 

In a nutshell, welcoming a new baby into the family can be an overwhelming and chaotic time. The aim is to make it as joyous as possible and accepting or hiring help will, without a doubt, bring you so much closer to this place of joyous chaos.

 

If you’re now wondering how to go about hiring the perfect postpartum doula for YOU…

 

I have you covered with this simple guide:

Hiring a postpartum doula means inviting someone, who is likely previously unknown to you, into your home to share in an intimate experience. For this reason, I feel that the #1 attribute you should consider is that you have a good connection with this person. The following is a simple process that you can follow to help you find the perfect postpartum doula for YOUR family.

 

Step #1:

Create a list of local postpartum doulas to contact. A simple Google search of “postpartum doula insert name of city” will provide you with a number of women you can connect with.

Step #2:

Contact these doulas to see who is available when you need or would like their support (dates + time of day). Of those who are available when you’d like to have this support, have a telephone conversation to establish if they are a good fit for your family. I’ve created a list of great questions to ask during this conversation to help you out. {Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see a list of INTERVIEW QUESTIONS I’ve proposed}

Step #3:

Optional – if you feel that you’d like to take your selection process one step further, you could request to meet with your top 2-3 candidates in person to get a real feel for the fit.

Step #4:

Make your decision, inform your chosen postpartum doula, and reap the benefits of receiving this form of uber-customized support!

Ah…. JOYOUS chaos!

 

One last small note… If you have some generous, gift-giving friends and families in your circle, ask them to pitch in to pay for a postpartum doula or to buy you a gift certificate for these services. It makes for one of the best baby shower/post birth gifts you could ever receive!

 

I hope that you’ve found this really helpful. As a nurturer by nature, it is my goal to come to you with exceptional value with these posts. If you’ve enjoyed my vibe so far I invite you to follow me on Facebook here!