A lot of parents we speak with say the same thing when describing leaving the hospital with their first, second, even fifth babies: "We got in the car, and I couldn't believe they let us drive away. Don't they realize we don't know what we're doing?!" Even the most seasoned moms and dads panic just a little when it dawns on them that they are then solely responsible for the baby they'd been talking about and dreaming of for nine months.
It happens to the best of us, and we think we've figured out why.
You spend a lot of time crafting, wording, and fashioning a birth plan...but what about your postpartum plan?
"What? A postpartum plan?! Something else for us to have to worry about?! No. Thank. You," you're thinking. But check this out. If you can spend just a little bit of time on the front end ironing out some details, you can save yourself a lot of time, energy, and worry after your sweet baby is born. It's so worth the small amount of effort!
- Think ahead: what might you need help with most after the baby is born so that you can focus as much as possible on nurturing yourself and your child? Maybe you need help with caring for an older sibling; maybe you know you will want lactation assistance; maybe meals will be a problem for you. Write these things down. Then...
- Delegate: think of all the people who have offered to help you after the baby is born (and there are always lots!) and delegate tasks to those people now. If you have a particularly type-A relative who loves to run things, have her organize a calendar for you on takethemameal.com. Maybe send your dog to stay with the one friend who always plays with the pup more than you when he comes over!
- Evaluate: If you are insistent about specific ways things are to be done in your home, you can look at this one of two ways. 1) This is a time for some personal growth; maybe a few weeks of letting go of the reins just a little might be a breath of fresh air! Make like Elsa and practice Letting It Goooooo; OR, 2) This is a time to put those nesting instincts to good use by writing down details about the tasks you'd like help with (laundry specifics, older siblings' schedules and preferences, etc.)
- Be specific: having a list of specific, 10-15 minute tasks for people to do when they come over and ask how they can help is invaluable. Stick it on the fridge and point guests that way when you're too tired to think. Make your own that is specific to your family/home/needs, or feel free to use this general plan!