Let me say this first, I am done having babies. But that doesn't mean I don't spend a lot of time thinking about knowing what I know now (as a doula), and how it would look SO different this time.
1: I would hire a doula - ok, I did do this for both my births, and it was so incredibly valuable. I would not have another birth without a doula present. You just never know how it is going to go. Back Labour, Prodromal Labour, or maybe your partner is sick or needs to tend to the other child. The support of knowing you have someone there JUST for you, even if you don't end up needing it as much as you thought, it's a game changer.
2: I would have a birth tub. I didn't get one for my home birth because I was worried it would be too fast and we wouldn't get it filled up. But we ended up choosing to break my water at home and augment my labour, it actually would have been a perfect scenario to have time to fill the tub! For $113 we sell tubs, and honestly I've spent money like that in worse places. If you don't birth in it you've got a great tub for your kids to play in.
3: I would freeze more food. It takes 3 adults to function with a newborn. You heard me right, THREE. That means if you don't have a mom, mother in-law, sister, or friend who can help out in significant ways, I'd plan for another option. Freezing food, and putting thought into your postpartum nutrition plan will be a huge part of your healing. The more you can relax and not have to think or manage, the easier you can lean into the slow time of newborn life where your days feel full, but you feel like you did "nothing". You should be consuming close to 2500 calories, and MUCH more protein than you would naturally. Be intentional and thoughtful about your nutrition.
4: I would save money for a postpartum doula. When I think back to those first few weeks and insert an overnight doula, I swoon at the thought. I WISH we had bought more second hand things, and encouraged our friends and family to help out by contributing to a fund for a doula. It wouldn't have taken much to make a big impact. Knowing you get a full night of sleep once. week would help your mental health and stamina so much. Also if I was nervous about caring for a newborn I would add 3 four hour visits in the first couple weeks to help with routines and questions.
5: I would listen to what other moms tell me. Not the fear mongering, but the real advice. The lived experience of it being a difficult time, and to ask for help. That its ok to not love every minute. That you will look back and miss that time, but that also doesn't make it any easier.
6: I'd prioritize myself MORE. I would have spent more time away from the baby. Little bits but using time wisely like showering when my husband was home instead of trying to do it when he wasn't. Getting out for a walk at night without a baby. I'd make a list of habits that would be helpful for my health and keep them up: supplements, morning light, exercise, meditation, nutritious food, rest, and massage (or Chiro or osteo). This is the easiest time to neglect yourself, and the most important time not to.
What would you have done differently?
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