Prepping Mentally and Physically For Postpartum
Updated: Oct 18, 2021
Well I'll be the first to admit that right now I am pretty anxious about baby girl coming into the world. I feel so ready, yet my body is showing me no signs that birth will be coming soon. I have cleaned my house and prepped my baby supplies and walked a thousand miles to prepare for this baby! In all seriousness I really thought I might go into labor a little early, like I did with my son, Weston. But as I reach my due date, my anxiety has definitely been creeping in a little bit. I am trying to remind myself over and over that babies come on their own time, that God has already chosen her perfect timing, that I am not in control, and that we are both safe and well. I find it ironic and frustrating that the time that we should be most relaxed and calm and peaceful so that our bodies feel safe to begin labor, I am getting more and more anxious. But this anxiety is something I struggle with constantly, and of course it comes up at times when I'm about to face the unknown, or something is out of my control. So just in case you can relate at all with this mental battle, here are a few things I'm trying to do right now to keep me grounded... Key word here is trying!
Keeping My Home Environment Peaceful
This is so important for someone like me, who is really impacted by my environment. I love having a comfortable, clean, space at home. It helps me to relax, literally changes my overall mood, and just feels better to me. Keeping a clean house with a toddler and 2 dogs? Not super easy! So my house isn't always clean! Ha but I do try to at least keep it picked up, somewhat organized, my bed made, and my kitchen cleaned up at the end of the night. If you popped in at any given hour of the day, my house may look like a tornado hit! I'm all about letting my toddler have freedom of play, get messy outside, etc. And my dogs are like our children, so yes they are all over the couches, the yard, our beds, and I just let it go! As I've been nesting and feeling the need to prepare for baby to come, I've found myself cleaning a lot more often because it bothers me to have tasks and "to-dos" that build up over time. But I've also had moments where I'm just like... no more cleaning! I'm putting my feet up today! I'm just sitting in the mess! So there is definitely a balance. All I know is that at the end of the day I like to get in a freshly made bed and light a candle and have my space feel cozy. That is just what helps me relax.
Putting A Pause On Planning
This has been really hard for me, but also really important. I think it's necessary to cut off "obligations" towards your due date. I of course still have doctors appointments scheduled, and we have had birthdays and holidays thrown in this crazy time. But what always makes me feel better is when I feel like I'm finally clearing my calendar. It physically and mentally feels good to enter into my "due time" without a ton of obligations still looming. When I went into labor with Weston, it was literally 24 hours after my last scheduled shift at the hospital. And I know that happened for a reason! My mind was finally able to relax, and get in the right mental space for birth. I was hoping for a little more time after my last shift, but he came in perfect time for me to at least get a little rest! What I've found as a stay at home mom right now is that my schedule just keeps on chugging away, and I don't have a release, or something that I've let go of to make space for birth. I think it's effecting my mental space, and making it a little harder for me to relax during this time. There is always something to do. There are always bills to pay, our rental is just getting up and running this week (perfect timing, right?!), meals to make, yard work to do, errands to run, and of course my toddler to keep busy and happy 24/7. It seriously feels constant... I did not ever picture stay at home mom life feeling like this, but it has definitely stretched me in ways I never thought it would. So in order to calm down my mind and create space for baby, I am in a season of saying "no", and taking things off my calendar for a few weeks. Our brains need to feel safe and at peace in order to begin the birthing process. By keeping my calendar and to-do lists full, I'm not able to fully feel safe and ready.
Moving My Body - And Listening To My Body
This is a tough one for me right now. I have been so focused on staying active, that I forget to allow myself to rest during this time. I have been walking so so much because I feel like it helps keep baby low and engaged in my pelvis. But my hip pain has been so bad during this pregnancy, and I think a big part of that is not allowing myself to slow down. So I'm trying to let myself sleep if I need to (when I can), let go of the pressure I put on myself to get in a workout every day, and just let my body rest. I had every ambition this morning of taking a really long walk with Weston, but I can barely walk around the house today without intense hip pain. So I let it go, and let him roam around our backyard while I rested. I think our bodies need to rest and restore in some ways right before birth. Because birth is a huge event, and the recovery that comes after takes time. And our bodies don't get to rest much during the postpartum period. So resting now just makes sense. And yes, baby will come on her own time even if I don't walk a certain amount of miles a day!
Sleep - As Much As Possible
This is so important, because once our babies arrive Earth-side... we don't get to sleep. And it kind of hit me like a ton of bricks after Weston's birth! Like a shock to the system, you just kind of flail around the first few days realizing this is your new normal with a newborn. But at the same time it's such a beautiful time, and I remember with Weston thinking "it's so amazing that I still feel this good on very little sleep". So our bodies just do it, and our instincts take over. There isn't much time after baby comes to think about the way we feel or how little sleep we're getting. But it reminds me to listen to my body during this waiting time, and let myself get some rest.
As I'm preparing my heart and body for birth, one thing that helps keep me calm and grounded is reading birth affirmations. You can find so many good affirmations online or on Pinterest, but I have a few favs that I've written down and taped up to the mirror in baby girl's room. I'm going into this birth empowered, ready to embrace it in its most natural form. So reminding myself to have faith, trust my body, and trust in God's design for birth and my baby's journey into this world is really important in keeping me calm. There is this point in your pregnancy (especially for first time mamas) where you realize that you just have to surrender, baby will be born the way they are meant to, and your body was made to do it. I remember my whole first pregnancy being SO anxious about birth. I would wake up in the middle of the night going over in my head what I pictured birth looking and feeling like. It made me crazy, and super anxious. But in the third trimester, I really settled into a peaceful feeling. It just came over me, this trust and faith that everything would be ok. That I was made to do this. That my baby would come into the world the way they were meant to. And it helped keep me calm and joyful towards the end of my pregnancy. I feel that again this time. I've reached the point where I'm laying down the birth books, not watching or reading about birth stories anymore, and trying not to over-analyze how my birth will go. But these affirmations are definitely helping me through...
I am safe. My baby is safe.
I was designed to birth my baby.
I breathe in strength. I exhale out fear.
I am stronger than I ever thought possible.
I will outlast each wave.
I relax. I release. I open.
Life begins where fear ends.
I am not alone.
I feel the strength of all women who have come before me.
300,000 women are giving birth with me today.
And then my favorite quote about birth...
"There is a secret in our culture, and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are strong."
-Laura Stavoe Harm
I hope this post brings you peace mamas. I hope you find you can relate if you are trying to channel patience or strength during your pregnancy.