Don't freak out. You got this.
Pregnancy is a magical, joy-filled time. For some, it can also be a time of anxiety. First time moms are experiencing their bodies in a whole new amazing way, and planning for a total change in life as they know it.
First time birth partners are often at a loss about how to help their pregnant partner physically, and are also navigating their way to a new role with a new family member. Feeling overwhelmed and a little unsure is very common. (That was not the pep talk!)
Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind as you navigate your way towards birth.
~ It’s totally normal to feel a bit freaked out. Your life will never be the same, which sounds ominous, but is pretty awesome. This is a great time to reach out to your stable friends with kids. You’ll probably be surprised to hear that they had a lot of the same concerns you might be feeling now.
~ Do not listen to unsolicited horror stories and advice. I can’t tell you how many men gave ME advice about how to give birth. In the grocery store. In Home Depot. Standing in checkout lines. It’s a weird and unkind habit of our culture…people feel ok sharing their worst case scenario opinions with pregnant women. Go back to the thought above….reach out to STABLE friends. Ignore the rest.
~ Kids are very resilient. If you care enough to be reading this post, your kids (and you) are very lucky. Parenting does not come with a manual, unfortunately, but when you are trying, and putting love forth, your baby knows it. That doesn’t mean you don’t seek advice on logistics, but love goes a long way.
~ You matter. You, mom, must take care of yourself to be in good shape to care for a baby. And you, birth partner, have to be sane too. Your lives (if there are two of you) will be totally different. You’ll probably be pretty tired & also on a high. Babies are incredible. Parents grew them - so they are incredible too. Things that seem important today will need to take a back seat so you can sleep, shower, and eat. Nap when your kid naps…don’t have a cleaning frenzy then…you’re going to need that rest! Dishes can sit in the sink for a while. Take-out or frozen meals are ok. Make it as easy as you can to be gentle with yourself.
~ Lay in some extra necessities (easy to make food, toilet paper, diapers, wipes, diaper cream, eye drops, etc) so you have what you need for a week or so post-birth.
~ Read up on signs of postpartum depression & give a candid baseline look at where you are now. It happens frequently enough that it’s a good thing to be aware of. Birthing Gently has resources listed on the website. Reach out if you have any questions. Talking helps a TON.
~ Ask your doula about comfort measures to use for pregnancy & labor. There are some great exercises you can practice for leg cramps, etc. Your doula is your partner before birth, so don’t hesitate to ask anything that comes to mind. If they don’t know the answer, they can probably help you find it.
~ Trust your body. You were designed with this in mind.