Free Postpartum Plan Printable Worksheet included!
As a postpartum doula, I often look back on my own postpartum experience. This not only helps me relate better to my clients, but helps me better understand the great need for a postpartum plan. What is a postpartum plan? Let me start by sharing my story with you.
When I was pregnant with my first baby, my husband and I spent many hours preparing for the birth. We read books on pregnancy, took childbirth classes and practiced breathing together. As we prepared our home for the baby’s arrival, we purchased a crib, bassinet, baby clothing and other essentials. We even took a breastfeeding class. We were ready…. or so I thought. Being well prepared for the labor was very helpful and I was blessed with a relatively easy labor and birth, (especially for a first baby) but I was not prepared for what would happen in the days and weeks to follow.
I was totally unprepared for the postpartum time.
I don’t remember learning much, if anything, about postpartum recovery. Because of this, I was surprised and disheartened when my postpartum recovery seemed harder than the actual birth! I was swollen, sore and bruised in my “lower regions” and I was experiencing “after pains” that I didn’t expect. In general, I was stiff and sore as if I had just run a marathon. (because in many ways I did!) In the grand scheme, these were minor complications that I now know are quite normal, but at the time seemed overwhelming…. probably because I was so sleep-deprived and hormonal. In addition to my birth recovery, my little daughter had latch issues which caused me excruciating pain when nursing, and I was experiencing fatigue like I had never known.
Looking back, I think at least some of my suffering could have been avoided. Better preparation and planning for the postpartum period would have helped tremendously! Even though I was well prepared for the birth, I was unware of the need to prepare for the postpartum period. Thus, I had very little preparation for the so called “4th Trimester” of pregnancy. How does one prepare ahead for the days and weeks following birth?