Are you wondering what to expect in the postpartum time? Are you so focused on preparing for birth that postpartum is an afterthought? It’s very common for parents, especially first time parents, to focus intently on their birth experience while leaving the postpartum time to figure out later. Simple awareness, guidance, and a little planning can greatly improve your postpartum experience.
In this blog post, I’m sharing an interview I did with Betsy Schwartz. Betsy has been a postpartum doula for 27 years and has a doula training program called Doula Quest. You can find her work here!
What is so important about the postpartum time? Why is the postpartum time important to focus on?
In our culture, in the United States, we have a complete lack of support. When birth became normalized to occur in the hospital, which was not always the case, we really lost our village in our support system. Women have always supported other women through birth, and even earlier with menstruation. We were honoring these things way back. We really lost that system of support, and we’re still recouping that today.
I think it’s important to communicate that you will need support. This means things like emotional support, household chores and tasks, as well as meals. You’re not supposed to do it alone. We were never designed as mothers that give birth to not have support. You’ll be really glad to know who you can call for certain things.
We have so many distractions. We’re so fixated on stuff and things. Now social media is huge and everyone looks like they have it perfect.
What are some of the biggest challenges that families face in the postpartum time?
The lack of support is huge, as well as how everyone focuses on the baby rather than the mother. I think slowing down, especially in today’s world, is one of the greatest challenges. To slow down, to remove the distractions, to really focus.
At the end of the day, the priority is really about you knowing what your baby needs and how to integrate into the family. We’re so preoccupied in our culture with stuff.
If you’re not prepared for the postpartum time, how does this effect your experience?
Emotions can kind of run all over the place during the postpartum time. Simply from sleep deprivation alone. And then without support, that can spiral into postpartum mood disorders and other challenges. So many people believe they can do it alone because they’ve done x job for x years and they can just be a superhero. It’s unrealistic expectations.
What are the key pillars of support that parents need in the postpartum time?
Emotional support is huge. This means really listening and asking key questions to lend support and being able to identify when something is a little bit beyond your scope or resources and offering referrals to another support professional. Setting up realistic expectations ahead of time is really important so that when the time comes, you’re not thinking, “Why didn’t anyone tell me this?”
I think it’s important for people to go easy on themselves and to try to stay away from all the advice that’s coming in. Tune in to yourself, to your baby, and let people in who are going to be a part of your village of support. You want to tune in and trust your own inner guidance.
If we can just simplify, without overthinking and analyzing and reading all the books… you don’t learn to parent by reading all the books. It’s trial and error really. The quicker new parents can tune in to trust their own inner guidance system, the better. We’re always looking for answers in Google and other people.
What is your message for families as they prepare for the postpartum time?
In our society, we’ve gotten away from what we innately know and some of the ancient wisdom has been lost. We’re caught in this trap of consumerism, always needing everything outside of ourselves to either figure it out or create the happiness and freedom that we all want.
Prepare for what’s coming, but don’t overprepare. While you’re pregnant, engage and bond with your baby. Talk, sing, and play. Just really try to connect. Tune out the distractions and tune in and communicate with each other and embrace and find the joy in the experience.
Want to learn more about how to TUNE OUT distractions and TUNE IN to your inner knowing? Let’s build trust in your inner guidance system together in pregnancy so you can be prepared to use this skills in the postpartum time. My course called The Blissful Birth Mini-Course: 3 Proven Strategies for a Confident, Peaceful, and Powerful Birth offers you the exact same strategies I used to connect with my inner wisdom in my four gentle, ecstatic, healthy, and conscious births. Enroll today for only $7.
Join my Facebook Group called Follow Your Own Compass. Connect with me in this space for parents, just like you, who want to follow their own compass in birth and parenting.