Two years ago when I had my son, my postpartum experience was anything but desirable. I was a brand new mom who had no idea what it was going to look like or feel like to be needed 24/7. And quite honestly, I don’t think anything can really prepare you for what that is going to be like. You just have to dive in and learn.
And learn I did.
My husband and I learned A LOT and now we’re here, almost to the edge of entering into life with two children. And this time around, so much is changing (including my mindset) with how to prepare for the best possible postpartum experience.
This sentence above took me DAYSSS to write in my journal. Not even joking. I knew that it was brewing inside my heart but it took awhile for me to have the courage to write it down. Why? It’s really difficult to believe that something is possible if you haven’t yet experienced it. And if we’re not careful, a cynical spirit can become normal for us and we won’t even realize it.
So, before I lay out practical things that are changing this time around, I want to share with you probably the MOST IMPORTANT piece of the postpartum puzzle. It’s all about mindset. I just shared with you above the sentence that was very hard for me to write down in my journal. Well, take a look at these contrasting sentences:
“My postpartum experience the first time was extremely difficult and honestly, a bit heartbreaking. I don’t know how things can ever be different from that. This is all I know.”
“My postpartum experience the first time was very challenging and saddening. However, I believe that a peaceful and restful second postpartum experience is very much within my grasp.”
One sentence is stuck in the past.
One sentence is hopeful and determined.
This is where I am, hopeful and determined. But I wasn’t always here. It took a lot of reflection and a lot of prayer to be in a healthier, more life-giving place.
I pray this encourages you, friend.
Now, onto all the practical ways things are changing for this postpartum experience. I could do a side by side comparison but just take note that everything I write below did not happen my first time around or not to the extent that I desired or needed.
1. Belly Binding
I had no idea this was an option my first time but I have already ordered my bengkung belly binding here and am looking forward to it helping with my postpartum healing.
2. Bassinet is going right by my bedside
My first son's bassinet would not fit on my side of the bed so we put it at the end of the bed. Mama, I can tell you from firsthand experience that this caused me a lot of unnecessary unexpected stress and anxiety.
3. Implementing both bed-sharing and co-sleeping
I'll be talking about this more in a few weeks.
4. Not getting out of bed to nurse during the nighttime hours
The goal is to lay down while nursing during the nighttime feedings but most of all, staying in bed and not going to another room or even a chair.
5. Truly doing nothing but resting in bed and bonding with our son for the first week
I'll be talking more about this in detail next week!
6. Nursing without a nipple shield
I had many consistent issues nursing my first son and I know that using a nipple shield the entire way through was a huge part of it. So, goodbye nipple shield the second time around.
7. Writing my husband a list of daily/weekly chores that need to be done so I don’t have to think about communicating those after baby is here
A huge stress for me and my husband was not being able to communicate what I needed or what needed to be done. Mamas, you understand if you're newly postpartum!
8. Asking for more help from family and friends
This is a MUST, not a luxury.
9. Eating more nutrient dense food that will aid in my healing
Mamas, ask for all the food to be brought to you!
10. Preparing more frozen meals that are quick and easy for after my husband returns to work
11. Letting our house be messy
Especially having a toddler now, I am going to have to let things go a lot more...my husband will know what needs to be done but I can't in any way expect a perfectly tidy house. That is completely unattainable and something I don't want to be a stress for me and my husband. Messiness isn't a measure of our parenting and allowing myself to stress over it only increases my anxiety in the postpartum period.
Mama, I hope this helped you in some way. Our experiences can always encourage another!