As a postpartum doula I am a non-medical professional trained to provide you and your family with emotional, practical and informational support in the weeks and months after your baby is born. I empower and build confidence within your family, nurturing you to learn to trust your instincts. One of the tools I use to assist your transition to this new role is called your Postpartum Plan.
We often spend so much energy learning about pregnancy and birthing, but how many of us think about what happens then? This is when your Postpartum Plan takes centre stage.
Your Postpartum Plan is much like a Birth Plan. It will assist you and your family in determining and planning for a smooth transition adjusting to your new family dynamics in the first few weeks, bearing in mind that flexibility is the key when considering all the potential conditions and personalities that are unknown.
Remember to honour this time as a rite of passage. The most important element is this babymoon or fourth trimester period. You will only experience this time once for this baby/ babies. Make it count for you and your family.
Don’t forget that this plan is fluid so you can make changes to suit your own home.
Discussing your specific Postpartum Plan with you is critical part of my conversation piece at my initial consult with a family. How many of us think about the pregnancy, and the birth, read all the books, the blogs, sign up to the emails and don't think to go any further?
So many of us.
Your Postpartum Plan is about opening up the conversation about your life’s logistics, your priorities and your aspirations in order to support your ability to rest and recover after the birth of your baby. Your postpartum plan is a tool to assist you in achieving your babymoon.
Your Postpartum Plan asks you to think about what your priorities might be, alongside other aspects of your life, once your baby arrives. It allows a conversation between you as the baby’s caregivers, to think about and discuss what contributes to your positive mental health in your daily and weekly life.
In reality your Postpartum Plan asks what self-care might look like for each of the new parents, and how you can weave these into your lives. Remember, self-care does not need to be formulated into some elaborate task, or scheduled; self-care is something you can do every day.
In discussing your Postpartum Plan we will look to groups and networks within your local community. Motherhood can be a lonely and isolating role. Forming friendships, creating your new village, with peers who have babies of a similar age can be a wonderful positive way to navigate this new journey.
Other mums on the same, or similar path, can provide companionship, normalise your experience, and what to expect from your baby.
In coming up with your own Postpartum Plan, you might think especially about
What support is available to help you optimise your sleep and rest in the early days and weeks
Who of your friends and family would you ask to support you in your early transition
What kind of visiting arrangements do you think you might prefer for visitors to your home
Linking in with friends who are also parents of young babies
Where/how/who will make nutritious meals to support your recovery post birth
What is your anticipated method of feeding for your baby(s) and where/who will you source evidence-based empowering feeding support from
Will you require support in the adjustment of any other children in the home
How and when you might create a space for your relationship as a couple
How and when you might create a space in your day for self-care/self-love
Sandy Connolly is a Dona International trained postpartum doula within the collaborative Community Doulas. If you would like to get in touch with Sandy to discuss your Postpartum Plan, and Sandy supporting you and your family you can call on 086 0438642 or send an email to email@example.com.