Ok, so you are pregnant (YAY) or you’ve recently had your beautiful baby (DOUBLE YAY)!! Huge congratulations to you and I hope you’re feeling so so loved up and supported. It’s a really wild season of life, you’re full of energy and also so exhausted… you’re always hearing your phone ring with messages and well wishes, but you’ve (maybe) never felt more alone (especially at 3am). Let me tell you something, you’re not alone in ANY of these feelings, I promise. But mama you need your village now more than ever!!
We’ve all heard the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and traditionally we would have had aunts, uncles, sisters, grandparents, neighbours… the whole squad leaning in to help. In some parts of the world, this alloparenting (an individual other than the biological parents who takes a responsibility for the infant) is super common still and in some instances an onlooker wouldn’t be able to tell who was who!!
Now, I’m not saying you need to lean into such habits… and it’s probably pretty unlikely your aunty is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week anyway! BUT can you imagine for a second the amount of resting and baby learning you could get done if all the other stuff was taken care of?
Exactly, whilst you’re learning your babies cues, feeding them and yourself, resting and healing; your home is being managed by someone else, your pet is being walked by someone else and your only job is to be a mama. BLISS.
So how do we make a village that is even a tiny bit like this?! Well, for starters you can look at hiring a postpartum doula! It’s what I do for my paid work (because mama work isn’t paid but it’s still work… let me tell you!!). Instead of spending a few hundred dollars on more onesies, more blankets and more toys… maybe invest that money into your well-being postpartum, just a suggestion that puts your needs first (the babies will all be met I promise).
I’d also tell you lovely humans to look into meal trains, an idea that gets a few friends working together to create meals for the family on rotation. This means you’re not busy trying to make something that isn’t toast whilst navigating breastfeeding and/or sterilising bottles & a boat load of hormones. It could be as simple as asking your bestie to make an extra lasagne or quiche and drop it off on a Monday, then she asks someone else to cover Wednesday and Friday etc etc (you see where I’m going). Before you know it you and your partner are fed and watered for the week! Perfecto. You might even nab some new gal pals to brunch with after the fog has lifted.
My third and final (for this blog) suggestion would be to join your mothers group!! You will be allocated this by your maternal and child health nurse, usually within the first 4-6 weeks of your baby being earth-side. And yep, some people have horror stories about their experiences BUT I completely loved mine… and we still catch up to this day (and now 1/2 of them are onto pregnancy #2)!!
No one else will be in the thick of it like your mamas group, no one else will want to compare poop stories, sleep woes, nipple trauma and the joys like these ladies. It’s like a mini cheer squad of mamas who are there for you (even online if you’re in a zoom group like I was initially) day and night. It may be a little awkward at the start, you might see a lot of tired eyes and ladies who are trying so hard to hold it together that it’s all they can do to smile and nod… but I promise you, if you click with even one mama it will make your village a stronger one.
So mama, wherever you are at in your journey, please reach out to me if your village needs some tweaking. I’m here for you! You’re amazing and your baby is super lucky to have you. I’m proud of you!!