Prepping for Postpartum: Not What You Might Think
It's the third trimester (or maybe just the first or second!), and you're getting antsy about baby's arrival. Hey, you're in very good company, ahem! Like so many mamas, I dashed out to register for the latest surefire baby sleep aids and smart bassinet, negotiated for as much of my mom's time as possible, and spent more evenings than I'd care to admit scrolling in search of the perfectly coordinated crib skirt. Those exploits temporarily helped to displace my anxiety, but did little to "prepare" me for the shit hitting the fan: when my mom went home and it turned out my kid refused to be laid down in any contraption, no matter how expensive or well-marketed.
At those crucial moments where depletion threatened to undo household peace, one preparation made a palpable, noticeable difference in my daily postpartum experience. Quite simply, it was mindfully stocking my pantry and freezer. Not having to think about where my next meal was coming from (or if it would be last-resort take-out or frozen pizza) made a world of difference, hard to overemphasize. It meant we had precious more space to rest, and adapt to all the newness of life with a newborn. And it meant having added confidence in my recovery, knowing I would be enjoying foods tailored to harnessing my body's capacity for spontaneous healing, mostly completed during the first forty days postpartum.
Some mamas love cooking and this type of prep work is a no-brainer (go you!!). But most of us could use some help when it comes to stockpiling several weeks' worth of meals in advance, especially while preggo. I certainly did, and I relied on my mom and my husband as sous chefs. Side-by-side we measured out double-batch quantities of stews and casseroles into portion-sized containers. Another great option is integrating larder-prep into a more progressive shower (what's old is new is old, and this is what women the world over did to support one another long before the materially centered tradition of a baby shower emerged). The idea there is a group of friends comes together to cook with a mama-to-be and assist in making these most essential preparations.
In still other cases, I happily come to the rescue! Helping my clients in the kitchen--theirs or mine--by preparing customized recipes to support their postpartum needs, is a component of my practice that I find most rewarding. The first step of this work happens during the third trimester in a comprehensive planning for postpartum consultation, which is complimentary with our "Best Start" package of postpartum doula visits. The consultation provides an opportunity to trouble-shoot (have you considered lighting for middle-of-the-night diaper changes?) and discuss creative solutions. In addition to ensuring you have a plan for staying well-nourished and hydrated, we discuss strategies for getting adequate rest and relief time, to allow for adequate focus on yourself, for securing your support team and creating a restful retreat space for your family. These basic needs we normally take for granted in controlled adult life, but they become hard-earned lifelines within the context of adapting to our new normal after having a baby.
So go ahead and buy that smart baby gadget. Just keep sight of preparations that will directly attend to your basic needs as you move through this season, knowing these can be far more fundamental than we sometimes realize. And always consider me a resource.
Yours in wellness,