“It takes a village.” These are four of the most important words to remember in the first forty days postpartum and beyond. As the birthing person, you’ve done enough! It’s time to let others support you so that you can spend time resting, recovering, and bonding with your baby. Support can come in many forms.
Find your primary support person
Determine your primary support person. This person would be responsible for driving you home, making sure you are fed, and helping you with basic needs. This could be your partner, a close friend, a family member, or a postpartum doula — whoever they are, it’s important that you can rely on them.
Make a clear documented plan of your expectations for those first forty days with your support person. If it seems like too much for them to take on alone, bring on more than one person so they can work in shifts to support you and your baby. It’s important that whoever you choose is encouraging, nonjudgemental, and capable of supporting you holistically.
Set up a food chain
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Everyone is going to want to meet your little one, so ask them to bring basics when they visit. Request that family and friends drop off food so you don’t have to spend any energy thinking about what you are going to eat and preparing food.
Make sure to clearly articulate your dietary needs ahead of time! Here’s one option for organizing meals: https://www.mealtrain.com. There are plenty of other resources with similar functionality.
Arrange your appointments before delivery day
Book your postpartum wellness check ups before your little one arrives! Schedule your appointments now, and put them on the calendar so your primary support person can refresh your memory and help transport you to the appointments. Although, if something doesn’t feel right before your scheduled check up, don’t hesitate to call your provider.
Plan for the worst, but expect the best
Life can sometimes take some unexpected twists. It’s important to be as prepared as possible for the worst. Talk to your provider about your specific health conditions to get a better understanding of what could happen during labor and postpartum. Ask questions about what you can expect physically and emotionally during those first 40 days and what are common warning signs. Once you have a clearer picture of what to expect during labor, make a plan for each emergency scenario and clearly talk through it with your primary support person so they can advocate for your needs and wants.
The bottom line
Create a postpartum plan now. It is important to start thinking about your first 40 days and beyond, so you can set expectations with your support network well in advance. Lean on your network to support you in communicating with your provider if something doesn’t feel right.