Postpartum support comes in many forms. Helpful postpartum support comes in the form of non-judgmental support. Many friends and family offer their support, “whatever you need, let us know!” But what kind of support is needed? Food? Space? Time? Diapers? If this is your first child, you may not have a clue what you need. After the first you may realize the value of having readily available snacks, drinks, and pillows are the magical ingredients during feedings. Washing your hands as soon as you enter the house, without being prompted, can support an anxious mom in regards to introducing germs. Doing a load of laundry and putting it away can be supportive. Bringing over a frozen oven meal or crock pot meals can save parents prep and clean time. Spending time and giving attention to siblings can allow parents to bond with the baby without the sibling(s) from feeling neglected. Sometimes support can mean giving the newly expanded family space. Waiting to visit until the family has had time to bond and establish themselves in the “new normal”. In a social media rich society, NOT posting anything without explicit permission is a must. There is no undoing the havoc someone can conjure on social media. Being respectful of the family’s privacy goes a long way in supporting families during the postpartum time. If you have strong feelings about how you would like to be supported, voicing them to your family BEFORE the baby arrives can give family time to accommodate your wishes. This is a time of high emotions for the family and extended family. The actions and decisions made during this time often have a lasting effect.
Choosing and finding proper support for you and your new extended family can be a key factor in how you adapt to your new normal. If family members are not an option, hire your village. Hire a doula to support your birth so that you enter your postpartum experience after a positively impacted birthing story/experience. Hire a postpartum doula who can be with you in the trenches of the postpartum period and not only offer non-judgmental support, but be that voice in your ear telling you that, yes, your instincts are correct. “You are on the right path.” “You are able to make the necessary choices needed for your family.”