As I work with more families supporting integration in a variety of ways, I keep returning to basics.  Love, Support, Help, Heard, Seen.  No matter how capable, accomplished Wink Wink Help Appreciatedand/or independent a person is, times of transition and change offer up life opportunities for something bigger than ourselves.

Are you a new parent? Do you remember when you were a new parent? Did you have support? Was the help you had what you most needed? Did you feel safe to express your needs? Did you feel empowered or disempowered?

As a new mom, I was determined to bond with my babies even after their “birth by special opening” Though delivery demanded slow and easy, I still wanted to be available and present at all times.  Child development professionals speak about children modeling their parents and caregivers and starting at this stage, though babies can’t specifically model self-care, they CAN feel and sense a settled and regulated caregiver.  

I have compiled a list of action steps for you to take to help you and your growing family.  Putting these ideas into action as part of your Preparation stage help settle your nervous system and is good for you, the daddy and the growing baby. 

  • Be clear with you and your spouse/partner/father of child/co-parent what you need to feel supported.  For some it is extra hugs, a massage, a foot rub, being fed, having company, having more space, a clean environment, etc..  Envision the Intention and ask for support in holding this for each other.
  • Enlist the help of good friends and relatives that are supportive of your needs.  Ask an organized friend who likes to delegate and make lists if they will help you put your ideas and plan into Action (another phase of birth).  They can also be responsible for the Follow Through (the 4th phase) after birth, to contact the list of friends and relatives and to take care of the details so you don’t have to!!
  • IMG_7340Consider asking for chores and other meaningful items from your list as gifts.  Instead of gifts on a baby registry, ask for what is truly wanted.  Having the courage to say no to the social norm adds to the memorable experience and what truly matters.  You may not always remember who bought the burp cloth or onesie but you will remember who came and washed dishes for you so you could hold your baby and nap together as a new family!
  • Invest in the gift of Cranio-Sacral Therapy for mom and baby after birth.  This can also be a “registry” item to be gifted.  Birth is hard work and the touch of a skilled and certified practitioner is invaluble!  We are blessed with many in our community.  We are eternally grateful for the skilled practitioners that worked with us and our babies.  Find a practitioner near you.
  • If you have trouble asking for help from friends or if your relatives live far away, consider hiring a post-partum doula team for support.  (Even if you have willing friends, hiring professional help is still highly recommended!)
    • Ask for donations to pay them as your baby gift.
    • We used Month 1o and for those of you living in or near Charlottesville, VA, we  highly recommend them!!  We did ask for this as a gift and were so grateful to have our wishes acknowledged.  
    • To this day, we see a few of our post-partum doulas and there is a built-in heart connection that always remains.  
    • They provided so much for us:
      • Prepared food (heated up soup, made a sandwich or salad, etc…)
      • Washed our dishes
      • Kept our home neat and tidy with sweeping and simple chores of compost and garbage, giving water to our dog.
      • Foot rubs for mama
      • Holding the baby while mama took a shower.
      • Support for my hubby too so he could be here as he took a paternity leave.
      • Help with bathing our babies.
      • Help and advice for breastfeeding (which was not easy for me as both of our children were “lazy suckers.”
      • Advice on learning how to swaddle our first-born so he stayed tucked in and cozy.
      • Help with secure sling positioning.
      • They made it easy so we could be present with our baby and each other taking care of other responsibilities.
  • Create a Meal Angel list! This is A MUST!  We asked for a 6 week time frame after the birth of both of our babies.
    • At the time we had our babies there weren’t the services that make it much easier to sign up now.  We have brought meals to others with Take Them A Meal, and MealTrain, two organized services.
    • This is a wonderful way to receive support and nourishment on many levels.  There is a place to add food sensitivities and any instructions.
    • We live in the country and had friends “in town” and “out of town” that wished to participate in providing us with food.
    • We had a dear neighbor who worked in town who was willing to have food dropped at his office by a certain time and he would be our angel delivery man for those people who couldn’t make the trip to see us but wanted to feed us.
    • Other family members from out of town had restaurant take-out delivered to our neighbor’s office for him to deliver to us.
    • Here is a sample of what we had our “Meal Angel” send to friends and family who expressed interest in supporting us in this way.  You can add any additional information now on the sign up programs about any foods you wish to avoid, sensitivities or other details:
      • Thank you so much for helping to provide meals for our post-partum period. Thanks also to (FILL IN BLANK) for coordinating this. It will be such a great gift to receive your delicious goodies. Your gesture of participation will make it so much easier for us!!! We deeply appreciate your contribution to our new and growing family.

        Time Frame:

        Can put information here if you choose to about your due date or if you know you have help initially, when you might want the Meal Angel to begin

        Guidelines for food drop-off:
        We would love for you to meet the baby and say hello in person. There will be a sign on the front door to let you know if you should leave food outside or come in. The sign will say “Come In” or “Please Visit Another Time”. We appreciate your understanding that if you make the drive out, we may not be available.

        Directions to our home are enclosed at the end of this “letter”.

         

Implementing these suggestions has brought a settledness and support to many of the families I have worked with.  May it help you and your friends and family!!  From our family to yours…..with love!!