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  • Writer's pictureTaylor O'Bryan

Planning for Postpartum

There are guides and resources for preparing the nursery and for making a birth plan birth preferences, but has anyone talked with you about planning for postpartum? What does that plan look like? Is it creating schedules, making goals, or identifying your resources? As a postpartum doula I work with you to identify and express what you need and how to find it. This postpartum planning worksheet is one way we figure that out together.

In the moment just identifying your need can be a herculean accomplishment. Broken into 6 common areas new families need support and with room for a section of your own, this worksheet helps you identify where you can turn for help, so when you are in the moment you can just pick up your phone or have someone else do so. After you fill in one resource or person in your life (no repeating), I work with you to fill those gaps and then keep this near by.

The first section is for "Home". For each person this could look different depending on what your needs are. Do you need someone who can come in time to time and clean? Or do you need a quick way to get meals and food delivered? Do you need resources to provide safe and affordable housing? Those physical needs about your surroundings, what support do you want and need?

The next section is for your "Emotional" needs. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), "Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, which develop during pregnancy or within a year following birth, affect at least 15–20% of pregnant and postpartum women." This space is to identify how you will support your mental health. This could look like support groups, Mom's groups, mental health providers, or friends that you trust to hear you when you need support.

"Community", the third section. You get to define what community means to you. This can be your church, your family, the area where you live. As welcome your little one you joined a new community of fellow parents. Knowing you aren't alone, hearing what other people are going through, and getting support can even be a click away. A 2015 Pew Center study found that And 42% of all parents surveyed said they had "received social or emotional support from their online networks about a parenting issue in the last 30 days."

"Movement" can include exercise, pelvic floor physical therapy, wellness, or any other physical health. "Nearly 24 percent of U.S. women are affected with one or more pelvic floor disorders," report researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In France it is typical that after you are cleared at your 6 week postpartum visit it is standard practice to receive a pelvic floor referral. In the US it isn't and we see higher rates of leakage, prolapse, and painful intercourse. There is also unrealistic expectations of women in our society to "snap" or "bounce" back to their prebaby bodies. This section is not meant for that. It is meant to focus on health, wellness, and physical activity for those purposes.

The next section is "Feeding", referring to in this case the goals you have for feeding your baby. Whether breastfeeding, formula, pumping, or feeding tube, this section is where you go for that support. According to the NIH "Approximately 60% of mothers who stopped breastfeeding did so earlier than desired." In another study they published it was found "Guilt is more prevalent among formula feeding mothers than among breastfeeding mothers." No matter what avenue your family uses, its clear support is needed.

No matter if you return to an office, work from home, or stay home you become a juggler trying to balance time, wants, needs, desires, goals, and logistics not just for yourself but for those around you. Who helps you get that all done? It could be a daycare, it could be a networking group for other moms, it could be a social media account you follow that provides you inspiration. "Work/Life" helps you focus on who helps you find that balance.

The final section is left blank. It is for you to decide what other area in your life do you want to prioritize. It could be your relationship, a hobby, development for your child.

Are you ready to get some help making your plan? Click here to schedule a free 30 minute consult today!

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