3 Things I Want to Share With Every Pregnant Woman
Prior to having children I, like many pregnant women, believed that the maternity “system” was there to support me and my unborn child. Fast forward 5 years and I now know that the system is broken, to put it mildly. Fortunately for husband and I found a local midwifery group that provided us with evidenced-based information which allowed us to make informed decisions throughout both of my pregnancies and my labors. So first on the list that I would scream from every rooftop is this…
- Choose your maternity provider VERY carefully!
Pregnant women should spend more time on interviewing and meeting with maternity care providers, than on choosing baby bedding or the perfect stroller – and please make sure to interview a Midwife or Midwifery group. There are hosts of information out there on questions to ask on this interview so start there. I would also recommend that you ask women who have been a client of the provider(s) you are considering– ask questions like “were you allowed to eat and drink in labor,” “did you feel cared for and supported by said provider” “were you provided with evidenced-based care and options?” These are the questions to ask other moms whether a friend, co-worker or relative. If you get a blank stare or less than positive response – immediately cross that provider off of your list!
There is a very real problem across America and it is one that isn’t being discussed nearly enough – it is that many pregnant women are treated very poorly during their labor and births and some even experience what is known as birth trauma or violence. Please don’t let this happen to you – don’t trust that it will be ok…do your research and find a maternity provider that supports you and answers your questions with evidence-based information. You only give birth a handful of times, so make sure it is a good experience and not a traumatic one.
2. Plan for Help During Pregnancy For the Postpartum Weeks Ahead.
We as a culture are not very understanding or supportive of the very delicate and critical postpartum period. It is a short time in the grand scheme of life but it is a VERY important time in which a pregnant woman transitions into a mother. It should be a time of healing, of rest and bonding with your baby. It should not be a time of getting back on your feet or back to anything, it shouldn’t be a time to satisfy the needs or desires of anyone or anything (barring an emergency) besides your newborn.
Not that long ago, women were provided a “lying in” period of about 4 weeks after the birth of their babies. Friends or family would take over the cooking, cleaning and sibling care tasks so that the woman could heal, rest and bond with her new baby. Sounds wonderful right? Sadly our culture has lost touch with this very important and necessary practice. So what to do? The answer is to plan for this time so that you will be in the best position to keep your household running while you heal and work to introduce a new baby into your family’s daily life. A couple of things you can do:
- Meal Planning – Make and freeze a week or two worth of meals. If you are a part of a church, moms club or another community, they may provide you with meals which is a great thing. If you must cook, keep it simple. If a visitor is coming ask them to stop at the grocery store and pick up healthy, easy-to-eat items such as yogurt and granola, pre-cut fruits and salads, nuts or dried fruits etc.
- Plan to Have Help– it is a great idea to hire a service to help you with with some or all of the cleaning, cooking, sibling care and other tasks for the first few weeks after baby’s arrival. Services like ours at Care For Moms offer packages and will work with you to build an Ala Carte plan based on your needs. If you have close family nearby, you may also want to set up a schedule where someone comes once or twice a week to provide you assistance.
3. Embrace the New Normal.
I love my children with every single fiber in my being but I must be honest and tell you that children will change the way you used to live before you were a mom. This is why you always hear parents saying the “struggle is real” – it really is! You no longer live for your just yourself, – there is now this person who you must think of first and who will often interrupt whatever it is you were or were about to do at that moment whether it be eating, sleeping or having a conversation with another adult. This isn’t to say it doesn’t get easier or that it isn’t worth it, because it absolutely is, it’s just that it is so much easier to go into this knowing life will be different. So be flexible, be easy on yourself and on your significant other as you adjust to life with a new baby.
What things would you add if you could give a pregnant woman some advice based on your own learning experiences?