One of the main concerns I hear from clients is that they are afraid they’re going to feel alone after their baby is born. Whether their partner has to go back to work or school soon after, or their family lives far away or aren’t supportive, the fear of being alone, struggling, and feeling isolated is REAL.
So, what do we do? I’ll tell you right now…
1. Build a village of support,
2. Clearly communicate to them how/when they can help,
3. Allow yourself to be supported
These three strategies will set you up for a successful transition into motherhood, and allow you to build a solid foundation for your life as a mother.
So, let’s dive in…
1. Build A Village
They say, “it takes a village” to raise a family – and it’s true. There’s just one problem: we don’t live in villages anymore, so we have to build our own.
Why? Our support system is one of the primary keys to our success as a new mom. The postpartum experience requires so much of you – body and mind – that you need all the support you can get, so that you can take care of your baby.
Who makes up your village?
This is up to you – this can include your partner, family member(s), friends, hired help, etc.
Choose people to play specific roles and clearly communicate those roles to them (see #2 & #3 for more on this). For example:
Partner: help with baby, help remember when to take which medications, bring food and keep water filled.
Motherly supporter (mom, MIL, sister, auntie, grandmother, etc.): this person helps support your partner, they ensure your partner is fed, rested, has supplies/groceries needed, etc. They also validate/share wisdom with you. This can look like bedside chats, helping with breastfeeding, answering questions, etc.
Friends / extended family: people who know you and love you are great to have surround you during this time - just, not all at once. These people can be helpful with arranging a meal train, or even just breaking up the solitude. Things they can help with during their visit include: washing dishes, holding the baby so you can shower or freshen up, and simply just holding space for you to share your story. Creating a schedule for visitors will give you something to look forward to, while avoiding overwhelm of too many people within a day.
Babysitters: if you have older kids, having a sitter on a regular schedule can be a life saver. Even if its just one day a week for a few hours – having scheduled help will support your mental health, rather than waiting until it’s NEEDED.
Lactation Support: whether this is a Lactation Consultant from your doctor's office or hospital, someone you privately hire, or even a support group like La Leche League, having support with breastfeeding (even if its just emotional support!) can be very valuable.
Postpartum Coach: Yes, I’m biased – but only because in preparation for my 3rd baby I hired a coach and it saved me! A postpartum coach provides that emotional support that can be hard to get from your partner (who doesn’t understand your experience), and your motherly figure (who will want to fix it). To say it’s ‘helpful’ to have a 3rd party person process the transformation you’re in the midst of is an understatement. Check out Episode #4 of the In the Thick of It podcast to learn more about this.
2. Clear Communication
Clearly communicating your anticipated needs and expectations to each person BEFORE baby comes will help create a system for success. Much like running a business, everyone needs to know what they’re responsible for, when, and how to execute.
When someone says, “just let me now if you need anything.” You’re going to wait until things get ROUGH before you call them. BUT if ahead of time you say – okay, if you could come over on Tuesdays from 1-3 to watch the toddler, or to deliver the grocery order, or just give me some time to shower and take a break – you can both plan accordingly, and you’re not having to ask every week for more help.
Communication with your friends/family: coming up with a schedule of who will visit & when can help prevent overwhelm. Having a general message you send out to visitors with any favors or requests you have can be very helpful too (i.e. please wash hands when arrive, please knock quietly incase baby is sleeping, etc.).
Communication with your partner: BEFORE baby comes, talk about what food to cook or to have on hand for meals, snacks, and smoothies (see 4 Ways to Ensure You're Ready for Baby for ideas. Talk about what your hopes are for your partnership, what your fears are – lay it all out and work through the stuff you can predict ahead of time. Creating clear expectations ahead of time takes the guessing, assuming, and inevitable misunderstanding and frustration off the table.
3. Receive Support
The truth is, many of us have a hard time receiving support. It’s hard enough to ask for it, and then when it’s offered, we often want to dismiss it or find receiving it a challenge. Do yourself a favor – and stop that right now. If there’s ever a time to receive all the support you can, THIS IS IT!
Remind yourself that receiving support is not a sign of weakness, but rather of strength.
Establishing a community that has clear direction on how to support you allows you to focus your energy on taking care of your baby. If that isn’t a sign of strength, focus, devotion, and maturity – I don’t know what is.
When your needs are being anticipated and met without you having to feel depleted, desperate, and having to ask for everything all the time – you are setup for success.
If your cup is full, it will overflow to those around you; that means your baby gets a well rested, well nourished, well loved, well supported mama to tend to their every need.
The #1 thing I’ve learned in my personal and professional experience, is to have a successful postpartum experience, the mother needs to be mothered. Allow yourself to receive the support being offered to you. It is an investment in your future and in your family.
Put these three strategies to work BEFORE baby comes, get your village assembled with their roles clearly communicated, and be willing to receive their support, and you’ll have a much easier time adjusting to motherhood.
If you need help – I’ve got you covered!
My Postpartum Coaching program is designed to make your (and your family’s) life postpartum as easy as possible.
Let’s get you setup with meal plans, support systems, and all the supplies you need to make your transition into motherhood as successful as possible.
My goal is for you to emerge from those early weeks feeling grounded, strong, confident, and healthy so that you can bring your best to your family and your life. Book your first session at robinangela.com/postpartum.