Lijit Ad Wijit

Saturday, September 25, 2010

How I Survived

This is a post-partum edition for expecting mommas!

I don't want to be a one trick pony.  And I realize that recent posts have focused on my journey into parenthood, and that may continue for some time.  I'm not sure.  I apologize to those who have no interest in these momma posts and promise to return to regularly scheduled programming in the near future :)

I've confessed my (not always so pretty) emotions.  I've reflected on the funny and intimate.  And now, down to the practical. 

If you are expecting a baby in the near future, consider the following suggestions for the postpartum period.  You'll be glad you did!

Accept and ask for help.  You will need it, especially in the first few weeks when all you really do is eat, feed, sleep, and diaper on the baby's schedule.  Here are some ideas:
  • Ask your mom or mother-in-law (or sister or aunt or friend) to stay with you the first week.  We did, which meant we had help with errands, laundry, dishes, and even the "night shift."
  • Consider hiring the services of a postparum doula.  We were fortunate to have a good friend that is also a doula, and after our first week help left, our doula friend stepped in on a couple different nights, talking with me about baby blues, washing the dishes, throwing in a load of laundry, and allowing me to catch a few extra winks of sleep.  To learn more about doulas, go to
  • Make a plan for how you will eat.  If you have tons of discretionary money, your plan may simply be to order takeout every night.  But if this isn't an option, know that exhaustion will trump cooking/eating, so figure out how you can have meals already on hand.  For example, take friends up on offers to bring you meals (we did and ended up with dinners brought to us for the first two weeks after coming home!) or even consider asking your best pal to coordinate a group of your friends to bring you food.  We also stockpiled about a month's worth of meals in our freezer just before the baby was born (check out for a great how-to), so now that dinners aren't being delivered by friends, all we have to do is visit our freezer. 
  • Call the experts.  Our pediatrician quickly realized that our baby was not gaining the weight he needed, so she referred me to a lactation specialist who does in-home visits.  Enlisting the help of this certified expert helped us establish a plan of action, relieved my anxieties about the baby's health, and expanded my support network by one more person.  If you do have breastfeeding questions, check out  Your problem may not be breastfeeding, but whatever challenges you face, seek help immediately from professionals.  You will not know how to solve every problem, and I promise that the expert care is worth every penny you may spend.
  • Acknowledge and deal with your emotions -- good, bad and ugly.  Your emotions are real (and sleep deprivation will likely exaggerate their impact on you) and they will not go away magically.  Everyone processes emotions differently, so find what helps you, but you can consider journaling, blogging, or talking with someone you trust.  Remind yourself that there is a world happening outside your house, so venture out when you feel up to it -- it helped me regain a small sense of normalcy (plus, you need the vitamin d!).
You may find it difficult to ask for the help you need (because your stubborn or independent or feel guilty or whatever) but perhaps one of parenthood's greatest reminder is that we need to be connected to other people and we need to learn to graciously accept their generosity towards us.


  1. Sounds like you have the Tiger by the tail. It is so right to include your family and friends in this wonderful life experience. It is said, "that it takes a village to raise a child" and it really does.
    There is not an experience that compares to when your baby is placed in your arms brand new to this world. He looks up and your thinking he looks beautiful and he's thinking so thats what mom looks like. Hi!

  2. Allison, you have expressed some excellent thoughts!! It seems a lot of things in this life-especially marriage and having children, are not portrayed very realistically! We can be very discouraged when circumstances don't line up with our expectations! I hope lots of expectant moms read your blog!!

  3. Thanks for posting, Allison. I think we're pretty well setting ourselves up for success - Mom coming to town, friend coming a bit later, hiring a doula, etc - but it's really helpful to read about your experiences. Do you have a chest freezer? I'm not sure I have room for a month's worth of meals!

  4. Sorry it's taken me so long to respond to you Emily (the price of motherhood!) -- but yes, someone generously gave us an upright freezer over the summer. Even just having a few meals in your regular freezer could be a help!