Not How You Pictured
"When I have a baby......"
"When we have kids....."
"We will NEVER EVER......"
Most of us enter parenthood with expectations. The more rigid the expectations, the harder it may be to accept if it is different. With birth and babies, most of it is beyond our control. At some point, you have to reconcile these expectations with reality.
It may mean coming to terms with a birth or interventions you didn't want, discovering breastfeeding challenges you didn't anticipate, or your baby might be totally different than the one you've been imagining. There are many unpredictable variables in this stage of life. Your reality might end up drastically different than you pictured.
For many, Postpartum is laced with messy collisions between what you thought you'd do/be/feel and what is actually happening. And this baggage can drain your energy unnecessarily. (And one thing you'll notice quickly is that you have little energy to spare!)
*If you haven't given birth yet, reflect on your expectations and see where you can be more flexible and open to whatever happens.
Educate yourself, make your support team, and then do your best to surrender to birth and all the chaos that comes with becoming parents.
*Remember that how you feel in this moment is not how you'll feel forever.
The hormones, the sleep deprivation, the roller coaster of those first weeks can be overwhelming. It is a process, but your baby will grow, predictable patterns will emerge, you'll recover from childbirth and your body will heal. The initial weeks are typically the most intense.
*Get it out.
Express how you are feeling. Journal, share your feelings with friends and family, talk to your baby, draw, paint.....the point is to give these emotions an outlet so they don't fester or grow.
*Expand your Network.
Especially if you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed, get out there and connect with other moms. It makes a huge difference to see other people who are dealing with the same struggles. We're lucky to have many options right here in Monmouth County. (Click here for a full list!)
*Remember there is no perfect in parenting.
There is only doing the best you can with what you've got at the time. The more gentle you can be with yourself, the smoother the transition will be for everyone.
If you're feeling stuck or overwhelmed, you're not the only one! There is so much support and help for you. Make a call, go to a meeting or class--REACH OUT. It will be such a relief to realize you don't have to do it all alone. Sometimes it's hard to know where to begin. Don't hesitate to contact me. I'm happy to help and fluent in postpartum-ese.
Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor, Mother of Three.