A postpartum plan is your vision, values and goals for postpartum and new parent hood, mapped out on paper. It also includes conversations you have with your partner, your family and the people you invite into your postpartum circle of support. Similar to a birth plan in that it outlines your must haves, your preferences and you wishes. It is the how when you think of your birth vision. When it comes to birth there can be a lot of uncontrollables. You want to have a vaginal birth but thats not 100% guaranteed. With postpartum there are so many opportunities to stay in control. And a postpartum plan is key
Manage your expectations
We all have our own expectations about what life with a new baby will be like. The expectations are influenced by our current lifestyle and values, our lived experiences and the experience of those closest to us. They are also influenced by media, advertisements, movies, celebrity experiences and our deepest fears.
When it comes to postpartum, your expectations and how you respond when they don’t necessarily meet up to actual reality places a huge role in how you develop and progress as a new parent. These could be expectations around anything involved in your postpartum transformation: your pregnancy or birth, your newborn or your physical recovery.
Start early in your pregnancy to manage your expectations and make sure that they are healthy and realistic through education and experiences. You can create realistic expectations around your breastfeeding goals by taking a lactation class for expectant parents. You can manage the expectations you have of your partner and visa versa by seeing a therapist that specializes in perinatal therapy. You can have a realistic idea of postpartum recovery and how to prepare by taking a class like What to Expect After Birth.
Giving yourself the right knowledge and experiences will help you to shape your postpartum vision and plan with clarity.
Reduce your risks
During pregnancy and into postpartum you are at an increased risk for many things. Alot of awareness is being brought to high maternal mortality and morbidity rates for all birth people but particularly Black birth people. After birth you are still at a risk for blood pressure and cardiovascular issues and it’s important to not only know the warning signs but also who to call without having to search too much. And then when you factor in the normal issues that arise from poor physical recovery, the postpartum period just gets more and more uninviting by many standards.
Having a plan not only helps you recognize your risks, the areas that could use some extra support, and take the steps ahead of time to reduce them which allows you to thrive postpartum, not just survive postpartum.
Your tools in place
Are you someone that keeps a screwdriver in the kitchen junk drawer or someone who has a designated space for all of their home improvement related tools?
I’ll be honest, I’m a little bit of both. I have a designated spot and box for tools but I also keep a smaller Phillips head screwdriver in the kitchen junk drawer for those times when I have to change a toy’s batteries or unscrew something in a pinch. I have all of my tools and know exactly where they are so when I’m working on a project, I don’t have to go searching all over or running to the store for the basics.It’s a system that works for me and my household.
But, just imagine it’s the middle of the night and the night light needs new batteries. I go to the junk drawer to quickly solve the problem and restore peace, but much to my displeasure the phillips head is not right within reach. And it still does not appear after I do the magical rustle and shuffle. Now, I have to go to the mudroom and pull out the toolbox which is probably not as organized as it should be but I eventually find the tool I need. Which takes a little more time, but gets the job done.
Your postpartum plan is your toolkit for the first year (or more!) of parenthood. A toolkit that helps to ease the transition period. A toolkit that helps you to transform into the new version of yourself. And it’s a tool kit that is best assembled as soon as possible so that you can cover all areas of your postpartum.
I promise that you don’t want to try to start figuring a plan out when you are exhausted + sleep deprived plus all of the things that come with postpartum and parenting a newborn.
Connected to your support circle and community of resources
Creating your postpartum plan helps you to see who you want to invite into your circle of support, what role they will serve and gets them active in your recovery whether they can be there in person or support from afar.
Planning out your postpartum vision also allows you to identify the professional and community resources that are going to be integral to your healing and adjustment. Whether it’s practical support around the house or more holistic support focused on the birthing person specifically, you get to hand select your care team to meet your unique needs and lifestyle.
Your support circle and the greater community serve as your lifeboat or life jacket so that when you need a little (or a lot!) extra you can lean on them knowing they will support you.
Taking the time to create your postpartum vision while you are pregnant gives you control over postpartum and sets you up to thrive. You deserve it! And I am here to help if you have questions. Hit Get Started at the top of the page and let’s chat!