Baby #3 is due soon, meaning it’s time for our family to get ready for our world to be rocked.
Having done this twice there are things I know I’ll need, but there is still so much mystery, fear, anticipation, expectations, awe, anxiety–you get the picture.
In order to give me some peace of mind, I’m prepping as much as I can for the knowns. Then, hopefully, I’ll be able to handle any surprises along the way.
I want to acknowledge I come from a privileged place having a parenting partner, health insurance, helpful family and friends near and far, and more. No matter anyone’s situation, newborns are HARD, recovering from birth is HARD, and the more we support families who are in this stage, the better our communities will be.
Here are the things I know will help as I embark on being a new mom…for the third time:
My husband and I have honest conversations about expectations for when our baby arrives. It’s been good for us to review things like division of labor, how to prioritize time for each other and our kids individually, how I need him to support me with words of encouragement, ways we can still have me time so we don’t feel completely consumed by baby demands, and more. Here is a more comprehensive list I found helpful for us: Crucial Topics to Discuss Before Baby Comes.
Side note: I’m thankful we’re in a place where Chris can take parental leave, though most of it will be unpaid. It’s infuriating how the U.S. is one of the few countries in the world that does not guarantee paid leave for new parents. But I digress. If you feel strongly about this, as I do, please look at options to advocate locally and nationally.
We are so fortunate to have family close by who can help provide childcare, meals, and emotional support. My mom has been invaluable as a body double and helping me get my house organized so I’m not drowning in the clutter. Thanks, Mom!
I also have amazing friends and a church community who are setting up a Meal Train. My friends are giving encouragement, inviting me to sneak away for coffee, and sending me Marco Polos sharing what’s up in their world to make me feel less isolated.
In addition to my General Practice Dr. and OB, I’ve added some extra experts to my team. I’m seeing a therapist who specializes in postpartum mental health. She’s helping me process previous birth trauma and fears about all of the possibilities of my upcoming delivery. She’s also giving me tools to feel like a whole self and not just a mom. Plus, having a professional who knows me may help catch serious issues like postpartum depression early.
I’m also booked for a session with a physical therapist who specializes in women’s health. I’m looking for ways to make labor and delivery and postpartum healing smoother. Though, not a usual topic of conversation, diastasis recti, pelvic floor concerns, prolapse, and other physical issues are very common after pregnancy and birth. However, though they’re common, they aren’t something birthing people have to tolerate. We have options.
We’re practicing being understanding of our kids as we reorient our family dynamics. We’ve already had some tantrums (adults and kids alike) through this pregnancy due to extra stress, exhaustion, hormones, developmentally appropriate reactions, etc. I’m working on the gentle parenting technique of acknowledging all the big feelings while not condoning mean or destructive behavior. In that same vein, I realize I need to let myself feel the feelings and be mindful of how that’s affecting my own behavior. One way we’re preparing is by simply talking through how things will be different once the baby’s here and reminding my kids we are always here for them and love them even when they have hard feelings.
One of my big unknowns is how labor and delivery will go. I’ve had both a vaginal and belly birth–both of which did not go the smoothest, so I am getting geared up for all possibilities and stocking up on items that will help with the recovery process. Here is a list of links to some of my favorite postpartum items.
No matter how well I prepare, I know there will be moments where I feel more like this: Toad Screams Into the Unknown. But I know I’m getting really good at this because I’m willing to ask for support even before I need it.
I hope you’ve got your own support system. Plus, I hope you find ways to pay it forward because we really do need each other, even those of us who already “know” this stage.
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