Thrive as a new parent by creating your positive postpartum plan
Congratulations! You are getting ready to have a baby! You and your family are about to experience the most incredible journey, where you bring new life into the world. Having a baby is SO very exciting, and we are thrilled for you! Amongst the excitement, like most parents-to-be, you are most likely feeling a little bit nervous about all the change this new baby is going to bring.
Parenthood can be absolutely beautiful, and it can also be extremely tough. This is especially true during the first few months as you adjust to life as a new parent. We want you to thrive as new parents, and we believe that part of thriving is planning ahead. Planning for postpartum will help both you and your partner know what to do if and when challenges come up.
With your partner, go through and write down the answers to each of these questions before having your child. This will help you be prepared to take care of your baby and your mental health in the best way possible!
A list of important questions
Planning your personal village
After you have a baby, life can sometimes feel overwhelming. Know that you and your partner do NOT have to do it all alone! Let your friends and family support you in any way that they can. Take some time to think about:
- Who can come over to clean your house after you have your baby?
- What friends or family can you ask to make a meal for you?
- Who can hold the baby while you shower?
- Do you know someone who has recently had a baby? Can you call them if you have a question?
- If you feel lonely during the day after your partner goes back to work, who can you call?
- Who can you text in the middle of the night?
- Do you have an online group that you can talk to? (Make sure it is non-judgemental and doesn’t stress you out.)
- Who can provide you with spiritual support and care?
Planning your professional village
Bringing a baby into the family can come with a lot of uncertainty. Professional support is important, and there are experts ready to help you through your transition to parenthood! Here are some questions to consider:
- What is your doctors phone number and contact information?
- What counsellor will you call if you are having scary thoughts or if you are concerned about postpartum mental illness?
- Who can you go to if you are having trouble breastfeeding?
- Is there local breastfeeding support groups?
- What is the name of a local mom support group that you can attend?
- Is there a local mental health phone number that you can call if you are worried about hurting yourself or your baby?
- Have you taken a labour and delivery course? Where could you do this?
Planning For Postpartum Mental Health
The statistics tell us that somewhere between 1 out of 5 women will struggle with their mental health postpartum. It’s very important to be aware of this before having your baby, so that you can get the help you need as soon as you need it! Consider the following questions:
- Have you had mental health issues in the past? Have these issues been worked through?
- Do you know the signs that you might be struggling with a postpartum mental health issue? Learn more here, here, and here.
- If your partner thinks you might be struggling, what do you want your partner to say?
- What will you do if you start struggling with your mental health? (Make a concrete plan!)
- Can you talk to your partner if you are having scary thoughts?
- If you are struggling with your mental health, who are two people that you could talk to right away?
- If you are pregnant or planning on being pregnant, and are struggling with your mental health, it is recommended that you get support for this right away! The sooner that you can get help for your mental health struggles, the better you will feel after having your baby!
We are here for you, and want you to love parenthood!
Many new parents struggle with their mental health for far longer than they need to. Asking these questions will help you make sure that you get the help you need as soon as you need it (not months or years later)!
After your baby comes, you will be so busy that you won’t have the time or the energy to do this planning! We strongly encourage you to go through this list as soon as possible, no matter if this is your first baby or your fifth.