By Alisa Donner, MSW, LCSW, Co-Founder P.A.M.
Anna and I used this title in one of our Expert Panels at this past May’s Kick-off Event for Pregnancy Awareness Month® on May 1st in Santa Monica, CA. It is a hot topic for me as I can clearly recall being at home with my newborn and thinking, “where is my call button?” Obviously, I was home, not the hospital, there was no switch for me to call anyone to come and be my human Google on “how to be a mom”. The responsibility of this precious bundle was practically overwhelming. I actually became weepy for the first few days as I realized that I had done an INCREDIBLE job preparing for the birth and taking care of myself while pregnant, had all the “right” gear to bathe, feed, diaper, and dress her, but had failed to have an adequate enough plan for the immediate first few days and weeks home.
My cousin had flown out to stay with us the first few days, which was a godsend. Also, Anna had gifted me a post partum Doula for the 1st 3 days, and that was a super HUGE help. My husband and I do not have any living parents, and we were both the youngest in our respective families. The blessing and sometimes burden of family living nearby is just not my reality. I teased Dr. Harvey Karp, pediatrician and author of The Happiest Baby series, during our Expert Panel, that on the 2nd night home with our infant daughter, at 2am we had the TV on in the bedroom, with his DVD playing, my husband working the remote control, and me fumbling between tears on how to swaddle our crying newborn. My cousin wandered into our room after about 15 minutes of that drama asking if we needed any help. Easy to laugh about now, but in the moment, and for the next few weeks, my confidence was truly shattered.
We stress the importance of Education in Pregnancy Awareness Month®, so much that we have themed the first week of the month with that initiative and challenge. It is far easier to research, inquire, read, and attend classes when you are pregnant than after the baby arrives. Post partum is a provocative time for women and new parents. You are usually not only physically tired from the labor experience, you may even be anemic (as I was), definitely sleep deprived (infants tend to sleep in 2 hour intervals during the first few weeks), hormonally surged, hungry, challenged with breast feeding, and potentially inundated with a slew of family and/or guests that drop by to see the new baby. It is blissful, powerful, dreamy, and exhausting. I think back to that first month and its memory is truly hazy. I was walking thru a fog most of the time; it was a definite time warp at our house.
It was NOT the time for me to be researching on how to swaddle, where to purchase the white noise machine, or attempt to learn how to put on my MobyWrap®. It is best to be prepared ladies, do that research during the 9-months leading up to the birth day. Get organized. Create a plan for who will assist you during that crucial first month home. If you have family to help, that’s great. A post partum Doula is an additional alternative and in my opinion is complementary to mom or mom-in-law’s help. Ana P. Markel sits on our Advisory Team and has a wonderful space in Bini Birth to support women. We also have a great post on the role of a post partum doula. Please consider reading it here.
It is our mission to encourage and inspire pregnant women and new mom’s to be the BEST they can be and feel the BEST they can. Information is power, and as mom’s we need all the support we can to step into that role from a place of confidence and strength. If you are pregnant, start researching. If you are a new mom or a more experienced mom, add your comments here to advise our pregnant friends reading this post.
We promise more posts on this topic from other experts in the future.