This week’s guest blog comes from Kya Phelan of Positive Pregnancy Place.
Kya is a mother and a doula. She is passionate about guiding and supporting her clients to have the best possible birthing experience, continuing her support into the fourth trimester. Kya wants women to believe in their bodies and birth their babies naturally; she believes the process of labour and birth creates capable, competent and empowered mothers. You can find out more about Kya at www.positivepregnancyplace.weebly.com and you can join Kya on Facebook.
Kya joins us to discuss how to put aside our pride and ask for help when the baby arrives. She also lets us know what you can do when you do not have family and friends around to support you. If you haven’t had a child before it’s very hard to comprehend what the fourth trimester will require of you. My advice is to value yourself enough to ask for help, and to be open to accepting help when it is offered. In my audio Affirmations For Pregnancy programs I use the affirmation “I ask for help when I need it, and I lovingly accept help when it is offered.” This affirmation is a great Fourth Trimester affirmation too. If you have practiced this affirmation during pregnancy it will be easier to accept help once the baby arrives – but it’s never too late to adopt this affirmation as one of your mantras. It will serve you for life!
How to Put Your Pride Aside and Get The Support You Need After Baby Arrives
Understandably you are focused on your baby growing inside you and the impending birthing journey, but have you given any thought to the support you will or won’t have once the baby arrives?
Consider what you could potentially like help with; cooking, cleaning, dishes, laundry, food shopping, running errands, minding the baby while you take a shower, breastfeeding advice and support, walking the dog.
It is important to think about your expectations, not only for your care providers, but also your partner, parents, in-laws, siblings and friends. From my experience, most of these people get wrapped up in wanting to see and hold the new baby, and as special as it is, it is also a huge life transformation for the parents, especially the mother. You will need help and time to adjust.
Before your baby arrives, allocate tasks to different people who are willing to help, dependent on their strengths. For example, ask someone to organise a meal roster (one or two meals a week) which includes everyone who is willing to cook for you. This will eliminate double-ups and keep a steady stream of people coming through to check whether you are ok.
Outsourcing help may be a wonderful alternative if you live a distance from family, or if the help isn’t forthcoming. Hiring a doula can be a wonderful nurturing experience under these circumstances. A doula can provide continuous emotional support during pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period (or each of these individually).
A postnatal Doula can help with a variety of different things, from debriefing your birth experience to helping around the house, assisting with older children, cooking and running errands. There is no job too big or too small for a postnatal doula. They are there to help YOU.
Many new mums are very ‘proud’ and too shy to ask for or hire help., They fear they will be seen as ‘not coping.’ I know this because I experienced this myself. I live a three hour drive from my family and very rarely asked for help during the early stages of life as a mum. We had a beautiful birth experience (water birth at home), but this also meant that we never had a break from the everyday household duties. We did not ask for or hire help and we found it really hard to keep our heads above piles of dishes, washing and take away food boxes.
My husband was an amazing support. He was keeping house (as best he could) and running errands while working full time and helping me with our baby when I was too exhausted to cope. I look back now and think about how lucky I am to have him. He was so drained himself, but he just kept giving.
Trust me when I say “STRUGGLING THROUGH THE FOURTH TRIMESTER IS TOTALLY NOT WORTH IT!” Please swallow your pride, accept offers of help, and if help isn’t available ask for it or hire it. You will never get this special time with your partner or baby again. Your baby needs you to be completely present, confident and happy.
Having help will make you feel more relaxed and happy, which will help build your oxytocin levels enabling you to have a wonderful connection with your baby and this will give you the best chance of successfully establishing breastfeeding.
Even if you think you won’t need help, please find out who the postnatal doulas are in your area and at least touch base with them. It can do you no harm and a whole lot of good.
Enjoy getting to know your beautiful baby, feeling relaxed, confident, and full of love – without worrying about everything you should be doing because it will all be taken care of in the background for you.
Sending you my love and best wishes for your fourth trimester.
Antenatal & Postnatal Doula
Positive Pregnancy Place
Dunsborough, Western Australia