Get Ready for Project Postnatal



I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna do the whole growing a baby in my womb and pushing it out my foo foo thing again. I mean never say never but I'm gonna say never - never again. There is one thing that makes me wish I could have another baby, the opportunity for a do over. It's natural, I think, to want to improve upon ones previous attempt at something. As an adult learning opportunities lessen and sometimes we forget the satisfaction of triumphing in an area we had previously failed - the sheer joy of tying a shoelace or completing a tune on an instrument. Not that my pregnancy or birth were a failure but there's a lot I would have done differently, like I would have packed my husband about twelve sandwiches so he wouldn't be whinging about hunger pangs three hours into labour. The area I would seriously have prepared for differently were the arrangements for accessing and curating my support services following the birth and by that I mean, letting people see the baby but also making sure I squeeze all the help out of my family and friends that I can get. 

Years ago my dear friend Chloe had a baby. She was one of my first friends to have a child and to say I was excited is an understatement. I still experience a shiver of shame when I remember that I rushed to her house mere moments after she had returned home from hospital EMPTY HANDED and I ATE HER FOOD! She still speaks to me, for which I am eternally grateful but it was only after having my son that I realised people need to be told what to do, more to the point they want to be told what to do. There aren't many times in life when you can get away with this so please those of you ready to greet new babies, take advantage of it. 

Establish the expectations of your spouse. You gave birth. Your job is done. If you have a partner establish from early on that they will be responsible, solely responsible, for keeping you clothed and fed and managing all visiting requests for two weeks following the birth. If they offer any resistance, just look off into the distance and start mumbling something about stitches and perineums. 

Set boundaries before the birth. After babies are born people get all excited, like kids aren't born every day. Let family and friends know before the birth what your boundaries are around visiting. You don't need to be aggressive about it, just say to the people you're confident will want to rock up, 'we're having some alone time for the first three days'. It's easier to add than to take away, if you tell your mother in law not to come for the first week and then change your mind, that's easier than asking her to move in and then contemplating divorce. If anyone breaks these boundaries, let everything you know about politeness go out the window - people's memories are short and anyway you won't be the one kicking them out (see my first point).

Create a working 'help list'. I actually did this one because I'm a princess. Don't be stoic about this, if people say they want to help it's because they want to help and if they don't want to help, more fool them for saying it. When you've had a baby people will ask if there's anything they can do and it can be tempting to say no because it feels like there's everything to do and people will take you at your word when you sob, 'No, I'm f-f-f-fine,' and then be a plonker and show up EMPTY HANDED. Have a written list of things that would really make your day if someone did it for you, anything from mopping your kitchen floor to bringing you your favourite flavour crisps. I had visitors bring me snacks, magazines and nipple cream; everyone felt happy to help and all were gratefully received. 

I hope this offers some hope to anyone preparing for a brand new birthday. Do this right because you might only do this once but obviously never say never. 

What would you have changed about your labour, birth or postnatal care? 

In 2016 I'm starting Mission Acceptance. Want a sneak peak every week? Or maybe a bit of a challenge yourself! Get over here for details #missionacceptance


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7 comments

  1. anyone who has had a baby know how hard the first few days can be, and when you have people turning up at your home the minute you get back from the hospital is a nightmare. So glad your friend still talks to you haha.

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    1. Right? She's a beautiful human being :D

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  2. This is a great post for expectant mothers and I like your no-nonsense attitude! We were in the hospital for three weeks because our baby was premature which was a bit of a nightmare, people thought if it was visiting hours we were fair game. The worst part was that if we were sitting out in the cafe chatting to visitors then we weren't in the neo-natal unit with our baby which is where we really wanted to be. So yes, I'd be a bit firmer second time around!

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    1. Thank you, that must have been a challenge. I definitely think when you're having a difficult time like that it can be helpful to have a family member or friend advocate for you. Let your bossy boots relative have their moment :)

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  3. I think it's a good idea to have a list. Last time I had a baby (and I'm not doing it again 3's enough!) I thought I had it sussed, got people to cook or bring food but we still got lumbered with the washing up or people stayed too long! #TwinklyTuesday

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    1. Well done! I reckon it would take about six times to get it perfect or at least by then the eldest could do the washing up!

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  4. This is a great list for anyone about to have a baby. I am going to save it for if I ever decide to have another one xx #abitofeverything

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