During my first pregnancy, I read every birth story I could get my hands on. I sought the counsel of doulas, midwives, and wise women. I read articles, watched births, and combed my mind for limiting beliefs and fear-based patterns so that I could have an empowered birth experience. I had an empowered birth and then I had a serious postpartum reality check. Here are five ways to make your transition into motherhood easier.
1. Read up on breastfeeding. I wish I had known what a ‘good latch’ was. I wish I had a wise woman to kindly show me how it’s done. I thought it would come naturally and easily. Thank God for the woman on youtube that saved my life. I suffered two purple, cracked, and bleeding nipples for many days before my son and I figured out the art of breastfeeding. I thought if I could birth a child that I could do anything. It hurt so much I could not bear to try one more time. My partner suggested the topical use of colloidal silver. I used it, diluted, directly on my nipples and they returned to a healthy normal state in less than 48 hours.
If you birth in a hospital you will likely have a lactation consultant to help you out. If you birth with a midwife you’ll also have wisdom and support. It doesn’t hurt to start reading about breastfeeding now. Read up on the benefits, the potential challenges, and the experiences of other women.
2. Prepare yourself for the hormonal roller coaster. Keep eating those raw whole food supplements (or better yet those real whole foods) and check into the benefits of placenta medicine. I will encapsulate my placenta next time around. I did eat some of my placenta raw, covered in honey, for the first three days after childbirth. I saved the rest in the freezer for a fruit tree planting ceremony. Consuming the placenta helped me heal tremendously but next time around I will encapsulate so I can take the 'happy pills' until I feel balanced. I cried a lot postpartum. I cried because my partner went back to work. I cried because my son wasn’t in my belly anymore. I cried because I was happy. I cried because I was sad. Many women report experiencing the ‘baby blues’. If you are interested in placenta medicine check out this post to discover some of the incredible benefits of incorporating your placenta into your postpartum experience.
3. Request help with the day-to-day tasks and housework. Don’t be afraid to ask! You are healing and bonding and that’s so important. I wish I had hired my sister to do our laundry and clean our house once a week for the first six weeks postpartum. Our house was a disaster and I had to learn how to surrender to our circumstances and just let it all go. It was more important for me to rest and bond with my new baby than to worry about the daily needs a home and family requires. Knowing what I know now, I would hire someone to clean/help us. If hiring someone is not in your budget reach out to a sister or a close friend for some postpartum lovin’.
4. Prepare food before your babe comes Earthside! I really wish I had stocked up on my favorites. I wanted to make myself forty raw superpower hemp blondies and freeze them. I wanted one a day for the first forty days of my babes’ life. While pregnant, I read a fantastic article about a woman and her beautiful postpartum experience. She inspired me to really make the 4th trimester into a sacred experience of rest, assimilation, and exploration. Next time around you can bet I’m going to be stocked up on quick, easy, and deeply nourishing meals. Taking the time out of your last few weeks of pregnancy to make yourself some yummy treats is a really fun way to take care of yourself in advance!
5. Declare healthy boundaries with your loves ones. Some women want everyone in on the celebration and some women are overwhelmed by a lot of external stimulation. I am an introvert. I wanted to be a hermit with my new child. I did not want many visits because I wanted to focus my energy internally on my own healing. I wanted to rest and bond, undisturbed. I wanted to establish a breastfeeding rhythm and new balance. I did not let my family know my desires until after my son arrived and many of them were confused. Don’t be afraid to let your family and friends know what to expect. This is your 4th trimester, and your newborn child. You get to decide what is best for your sacred postpartum and your journey into Motherhood.