"We're just planning to go with the flow after our baby arrives."
I hear this optimistic sentiment often from mothers and parents expecting their first baby and I compassionately understand the appeal of that idea.
Perhaps this comes from a place of fear or worry that things might not go to plan. Or when parents are in a professional role in their work life, they have confidence they will be able to figure things out on their own. Or sometimes, not seeing the need to plan might just come from a lack of awareness of how life will look with a newborn.
Here is why a lack of postpartum planning can lead to more overwhelm and exhaustion than parents of newborns anticipate....
Here is a story to consider that illustrates why the approach of "winging it" or "going with the flow" doesn’t always provide the result you anticipate.
Back in my pre-baby days, I enjoyed running. During one half marathon, I saw an old friend running just ahead of me near the beginning of the course. I ran up to him to say hello!
He admitted to me that he hadn’t actually trained for the race and was hoping to complete the 13 mile course through sheer grit and determination.
I wished him good luck and ran on ahead.
I finished the race strong, with a personal best and felt really energized and elated!
When the results were posted later, I checked for my friend and saw that he hadn’t completed the race.
The difference between our approaches was that I had a goal, prepared and I took ACTION to achieve it.
How you achieve a goal is by creating a vision, getting emotionally involved in the idea and creating your reality through intention and action.
It's the same principle whether you are running a marathon, planning a wedding or creating a peaceful and restful postpartum experience.
Action and intention is required.
Many generations ago, we once lived in villages where postpartum care was seen as a normal and important part of life. The community would support the mother and family as she rested with her baby for 40 days, cook her deeply nourishing foods, encouraged her to bond with her baby and focus on recovery.
Our current culture has lost the intuitive wisdom of how to support mothers after the birth of their baby.
What does postpartum planning involve?
I encourage families to first make a vision for how they would like their postpartum to look and feel. Some take inspiration from how traditional cultures supported mothers after the birth of their baby.
Then work backwards to figure out what supports need to be in place in order to achieve that vision in the early weeks with their baby. Each family is unique, there is no one size fits all approach to this.
What effective postpartum planning creates, is space for the family to start forming a relationship with their new baby, allow for much as much rest as possible and provide room for the joy and love to flow.
To your peaceful postpartum!