While we often spend a lot of time in pregnancy discussing the ins-and-outs of what the baby needs (from car seats to nursery decor), it’s important to prepare yourself for postpartum, through deep conversations with your partner so that you’re prepared with solutions when tough times arise.
Midwife and Calmbirth Educator Kirsty Crimmins shares these great examples of conversations and resources to prepare whilst pregnant, to help set realistic expectations and build your safety net. Here are some topics to talk through with your partner before birth:
Coping with sleep deprivation
Where will the baby sleep? If the baby isn’t sleeping, how will we manage things? Who gets up if the baby needs soothing but not feeding? Can we share night duties? How can we support each other if we’re suffering sleep deprivation?
Self care for both of us
What fills your cup (apart from your wonderful newborn)? What’s a realistic and achievable thing I can do if I feel overwhelmed? e.g. a cup of tea in the sunshine, a bath. What hobbies can/do I want to continue doing with our new baby? What support do I need to make this happen?
Who are our support people?
On the big days, who can I reach out to for support? How can we reduce our mental load of running a household? What can be delegated i.e. meals, cleaning? Who can we can that will be there to listen? What community support can we seek?
Our emotional & mental wellbeing
What are the signs and symptoms of postnatal depression & anxiety? Where can we seek support if it all gets too much? How can we look out for each other? Do we have a good GP? What resources do we have available to us?
How will my partner support breastfeeding i.e. snacks, nappies, settling, bringing baby to you. Who can we reach out to for support if we’re struggling? Where is my nearest lactation consultant? Do we know what to do in the first few days if something goes awry?
Having realistic expectations of postpartum
What do you expect real postpartum look like for you? What’s important to you? What challenges do you expect will come? Can extra time be taken off work for your partner if needed?