This may seem like a crazy decision for a couple as cash-strapped as we are, but both my husband and I agree that it may save our collective sanity.
When you are pregnant, levels of the female hormone estrogen and progesterone increase greatly. For some of you, this may lead to shiny hair, clear skin and that pregnant "glow" everyone talks about (unfortunately for me, the clear skin is nowhere to be found). But in the days following the birth of your child, your hormones take a bit of a nosedive:
It is thought that these drastic hormonal changes are what cause women to experience the baby blues; and, if you happen to be extra sensitive to all this bodily chaos, you may go on to develop postpartum depression or anxiety.
I knew all of this in theory when I was pregnant with my first child, but unrealistic expectations and lack of experience set me up for some serious postpartum adjustment in the days following A’s birth. So for this pregnancy, we’ve thought a lot about how to avoid some of the issues we (and I say “we” because my partner had to go through this change with me) faced the first time around. I like to call this my postpartum plan of attack or Plan Red. Because truly, I do sometimes feel that I’m going to battle with my emotions:
Zones of Operation
We will be planning for a home birth again. We toyed with idea of going to the hospital this time (just to avoid having A wake up in the night or be disturbed by the birth), but when I brought up the idea, my husband looked at me, aghast, and said “don’t make me go there” in a little boy voice.
So we are staying home, because apparently my husband needs it more than I do.
It is imperative to have decent help on hand following the birth of a baby, even more so when there are other children that need taking care of.
These have to be helpful people, though. Don’t invite anyone you feel slightly uncomfortable around (as they will be seeing you in your most vulnerable state), and make sure they’re there to cook and clean. Holding the baby is only an option when I am tired and would like a break to take a shower or a snooze. I will be calling in the troops, in the form of my mother, mother-in-law, and sisters-in-law (if they can spare the time). The hope is to have someone staying with us for the entire first month.
I am also hiring a postpartum doula, who will be there as an objective support person. She will support me with breastfeeding, suggest resources/tips I might need, and basically be a good listener (someone that is not scared of listening to me cry or blubber).
Yep, I’m taking the plunge, and doing something that even the crunchiest of crunchy finds slightly repulsive. I am going to eat my placenta. I have a doula friend who will be taking my baby's hunka meat, drying it in a dehydrator, grinding it down, and then putting it into capsules for me to consume. I’ve written about this before, but never thought I’d actually do it. I’m desperate enough to see if it makes any difference in my emotions/mood following the birth – I would probably eat fried monkey if someone told me it could help.
It’s always best to have a contingency plan in place in case something unexpected comes up. Although we’re hoping that this little baby does not have reflux, we’re open to the idea that it may happen. Which is where preschool comes in – taking care of a child who cries all day (and night) and does not sleep is difficult in the best of times. We want our older daughter to have some sense of structure and routine, just in case we are hit once again with the “reflux blues.”
We’ve also thought about what might happen if I have to transfer to hospital or have a baby who is sick. Again, we’re counting on our “allies” to pitch in and help. The past three years in Ottawa has given me time to meet many wonderful parents, some of whom have become great friends. So although we’re planning for the worst, we’re also hoping for the best – this time, we have reinforcements!