See that title up there? I want you to sail! With your baby! And lots of exclamation points!!!! Here's the thing. Anytime you go through a big transition there's the expectation that things will be challenging. And they probably will be. BUT! Find one or two things to focus on each day that you expect to be awesome. The Bee's Knees. Above and beyond. Maybe it's getting to shower. Maybe it's knowing that you're one day closer to nailing this breastfeeding thing. Maybe it's having a delicious meal for dinner brought to you by your best friend. When things are challenging, focus on The Thing.
2. Know Your Options - before the baby comes.
I always give my clients a postpartum cheat sheet with space for them to write in the people that can help them postpartum. Care providers, breastfeeding support people, postpartum doulas and their placenta person (that's usually me). Numbers of favorite restaurants for take-out, grocery delivery services, and friends that are *actually helpful*. (This excludes Aunt Sally who loves the sound of her own voice and honestly believes that your baby was born for her enjoyment. Ix-nay the Aunt Sally visits for a while.)
3. Lower your bar*. Then do it again. And again. And, again.
This doesn't mean forever, but it does mean for now. For some, that means letting older kids have more screen time than usual. Maybe it's eating more take-out or prepared foods than you normally do. Maybe it's letting the house be in a disaster state more often than not, or outsourcing your cleaning routine for several months. The key is to not feel guilty about the things that you are not able to physically or emotionally accomplish at this point. I promise, things will feel normal again, one day.
4. *But increase your self-care.
The point of lowering the bar is so that you have resources to take care of the one that needs it most - yourself. Make rest and nutrition a priority. We know that being sleep-deprived can increase the risk of postpartum depression (https://womensmentalhealth.org/posts/postpartum-depression-and-poor-sleep-quality-occur-together/) and nutrition is constantly being linked to our well-being. Let your team of helpers know that these are top priorities.
5. Ask for help.
We were never meant to do this baby thing alone, and yet this is often how we feel in the moment. Asking for help can be excruciatingly hard for some and yet a vital part of returning to normal life. Whether it's someone to organize meals for your family, having a lactation professional on hand to troubleshoot minor issues before the become big ones, or finding a therapist you connect with before the baby comes, having these resources at the ready will make it easier to reach out when you need it.
For fun, here's a board of my favorite postpartum items to have on hand: https://www.pinterest.com/tyobirthcare/create-a-postpartum-happy-place/ If you have a favorite postpartum tip I'd love to see it in the comments! And, if you're interested in how Tyo Birth Care can help you in your postpartum I'd love to hear from you!