Preparing for Postpartum

There’s a lot of focus on labor and birth–understandably, because it’s an amazing, intense, joyous, strenuous, life-altering experience.

However… it’s the short part. Postpartum is the long part, and there are many things to think about and do during pregnancy that could help it be a little smoother. I’ve been thinking about some ideas, particularly focused on mom.

All the basic things in your life are about to become considerably more challenging. Even just going to the bathroom. Not only will you be bleeding and sore, but your baby will still be expecting to be near you 24/7 like in the womb. It takes them quite a while to realize they aren’t still connected to you and be okay with that. I had to hold (and sometimes nurse) my baby while using the bathroom several times. Kinda TMI, but this is a postpartum post, sooo…. Yeah. Postpartum just is TMI. haha.

Anyway, here they are:

1. Food — Make and buy snacks/food that you can eat with one hand with little to no prep. (Also come up with a list of ideas for people who want to help, or church ladies who sign up to bring meals) Enough to get you through (think pregnancy hunger, plus some. You need about 600 extra calories per day) a couple weeks. It sounds silly now, but it’s ridiculously difficult to sit down and eat with two hands like a normal human for the first month + of your baby’s life. Babies don’t like being put down. Like, at ALL. They also like to nurse as close as possible to 24/7, especially during the 2 and 3 week growth spurts. There’ll be a loooot of snacking in bed and on the couch.

Veggie sticks, cheese sticks, berries, small apples, muffins, protein cookies, granola/protein bars, trail mix, peanut butter or almond butter (right off the spoon. you’re a mom now it counts as meal), jerky, liquid soups (drink from a mug), toast, wraps, etc. are some good ones.

2. Shower plan — you’ll need help at first. After that, plan to have Daddy watch Baby while you shower and/or bring him/her in the bathroom in the rock and play. Warn him of this. Haha. Also just be mentally prepared that this is going to be a Thing. It’s not a joke. It’s real.

3. Stock the bathroom — wash cloths, big pads, underwear, peri bottle, Earth Mama Angel Baby bottom spray (that stuff is the best!!!) etc. Also consider a stool softener and/or lots of prunes and other fibrous foods. It was difficult for weeks after giving birth. The drastic change in pressure on your bowels combined with the huge shift in hormones and all the time sitting/lying around causes some serious issues. Not to mention you’re rather sore. A stool also helps.

4. Drinks — you’ll be super thirsty. Tea (EMAB Monthly comfort is very nourishing for your recovering uterus), water, coconut water, recharge, broth, flavored water (with fruit), etc are good to have on hand. I was drinking 4 tervis tumblers a night (my husband was the refill guy, he was amazing) and much more during the day. You’re also going to want plenty of straws or a plastic or stainless straw. And a big water bottle.

***Make sure that before you’re alone for the day you have plenty of water and snacks close by the bed and couch.***

5. Healing — EMAB tea, sitz baths, arnica tablets (helps a lot with muscle soreness and bruising!) EMAB spray, coconut oil plus lavender (2-4 drops with 2 TBSP oil) for any stitches, cold rice sock for engorgement, warm rice sock for aches and pains, etc.

6. Entertainment — shows, kindle books, etc. There’s going to be a LOT of sitting and lying around while nursing or holding a sleeping baby. Embrace this time. Don’t worry about cleaning or anything like that. There’ll be time enough later on. If help is offered, accept it gracefully. Your job is to snuggle and feed and love your baby. That’s IT for the first month, especially, and really the whole first 3 months.

7. Clothes — You’ll need several things that are comfy, easy to nurse in (think button down or super stretchy), pretty-ish, and not maternity (I thought I wouldn’t care, but I really didn’t want to wear maternity after I gave birth) but bigger than normal. 😬 Robes are good, stretchy tunics and leggings are good, tops with short skirts… stuff like that. Also maybe some kind of accessories — new necklace, head band, etc. Something easy to make you feel pretty even in pjs.

Hopefully that is helpful for some of you! 😊

P.S. This isn’t an Earth Mama Angel Baby advertisement, I promise. I just really liked their stuff. Here’s a link to their postpartum goodies.

Staying at Home

What’s it like to be a stay at home mom of one baby?

It’s lying in bed with your sleeping baby latched on; staying there because you know he needs you right now, even though other things are calling to you.

It’s laughing with your baby while you read a book with a sore back because of all the hunching over and lifting you do.

It’s anxious, fearful moments because you’re alone with your thoughts, your phone, and a helpless, non verbal baby.

It’s constant stopping and starting; never ending interruptions on the same tasks over and over.

It’s your heart bursting inside you with the overwhelming sweetness and brilliance of your baby.

It’s wondering what your life purpose is; feeling like you’re not doing anything worthwhile even though in the back of your mind you know there’s nothing better you could do.

It’s walks outside, enjoying the sort of fresh air, trying to push the overwhelming thoughts aside and just live… it’s so easy for babies, but not for mommies.

It’s being amazed at the fact that your baby is doing super basic things–but it’s so wonderful to you because you grew this person and they’re doing the things!!

It’s trying to eat. A constant battle, because you want to eat healthy but every time you actually try to cook/prepare something, either baby needs you before you’re able to do it, or baby needs you before you can eat it. So you end up not eating enough, and/or eating junk.

It’s the nap time dilemma–do I have time to shower? Should I eat? Maybe do a project? Just sit and veg? Clean? Read? So many things to do, so little time!! Nevermind, he woke up. (Or, I miss my baby….. wait why is he still sleeping?? Is he dead?? No, not dead, but now I just wasted a whole hour (or two) I could have showered! I could have made real food! I could have cleaned the bathroom! I could have painted!! Wrote a book!!! Ahhh!)

It’s trying to come up with activities for your baby but not having ideas.

It’s feeling like you’re not doing enough, like you should be doing more stimulation or something.

It’s being afraid to love them so much because what if something happens to them?

It’s being frustrated because you can’t seem to get anything done, but yet you can’t possibly imagine not having this sweet squishy mischievous little one in your life.

It’s praying and hoping that they’ll make a difference in this world, and then wondering if there even will be a world worth growing up into.

It’s being so lonely and anxious that you continually go to social media to distract yourself and feel connected, only to read something that makes you more anxious or feel less connected. But it’s hard to find another option so you keep repeating the same dumb cycle and feeling like you’re such a mess.

It’s going way too many days without a shower, but your baby sure is clean.

It’s precious moments of gazing into your giggling baby’s eyes, or watching them sleep and feeling like you can’t bear the cuteness.

It’s the wonder of watching them learn and explore.

It’s the frustration of them pulling everything within reach on the floor and chewing on it.

It’s never being off the clock; 24/7, you’re on call. Thankfully my husband shares in the load quite a bit, so it’s way better than it could be. But I still feel that constant “on”.

It’s feeling like your failing but being unsure of how to do better or what to change… having bursts of inspiration that are squelched by either your own tiredness and anxiety or just your baby’s constant neediness.

It’s beautiful, challenging, worthwhile, anxiety-inducing, thought-provoking, exhausting, hilarious, and so sweet.

I’m so thankful for this opportunity, and still working to figure out how to better manage my thoughts, emotions and time. It’s challenging, but it strange ways. In some ways it’s extremely simple–keep myself and the baby alive and relatively happy and healthy. But the mental/emotional side is much more complex, especially in our day.

So… I’m writing this in a dark room with my baby sleeping on me surrounded by boxes and thoughts. I’m wondering what’s going to happen after this–will he stay asleep if I put him in his bed? I can’t keep working on the boxes because it might wake him up. (One bedroom) What else can I do? I’m hungry. Again. Ugh. Better eat. And pee, that’s important. I need a shower but that’s tempting fate; besides I want to finish planning the menu and paint and shop for Christmas and I should do dishes……

Nap time dilemma strikes again.

I’m gonna try putting him down and see what happens. 😬

P.s. Isn’t he darling though??!