Create a Postpartum Oasis- Here’s How!

Are you doing it all?

This might sound obvious…but poor maternal mental health during the postpartum period can significantly affect your health and that of your infant and family. 😅 No pressure, right?!

But the solution to this is *relatively* simple: postpartum support is an important part of managing stress and maternal mental health. They are inextricably linked. Several studies have found that your satisfaction with social support reduces stress and improves maternal mental health.

Here are three super-exciting findings you can turn into action items for your postpartum plan:

  1. The more support you receive from your partner (giddy up, paid parental leave!), the less likely you are to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, even under stressful conditions.
  2. The satisfaction of support from your parents boosts your sense of competency.
  3. Your satisfaction with emotional support from medical professionals will temper the inherent stress you experience during the postpartum period

What does this mean for you? Building a supportive, compassionate, and client-centered birth and postpartum team is essential to your mental health, confidence as a new parent, and satisfaction with your delivery and recovery.

It’s never too late to get support, change providers, or reach out for help.

You deserve all the love and care in the world during one of the most significant transitions of your life.

To kick off the development of your postpartum plan, we’ve built the most extensive, actionable guide possible because we know it inspires cringes to ask for help. But growing a baby, birthing it, and taking care of it while healing and potentially getting ready to go back to work is too much for one family to take on. And as tropey as this sounds, it does take a village to raise a child (and a parent!).

If you find yourself saying any of the following:

  • “I wish someone would have told me…”
  • “I feel like I’m all alone.”
  • “I’m not sure how to adjust my expectations of what postpartum and parenthood would look like.”
  • “I just don’t feel like myself.”
  • “I’m struggling to keep up with…”

Then you might need support. You’re not the first. You won’t be the last. To become a happy parent, learn the art of delegation. Here’s how:

Part 1: First 6 weeks postpartum

Avoid house chores. Delegate, boss! Here are the top ways you can delegate to family and friends:

Request gift cards during your pregnancy, so you’re ready postpartum.

Request a gift card for grocery services. Here are two we love:

  • Shipt: For same-day grocery delivery.
  • Select no-cook, fast-meal prep, easy-to-eat one-handed food.

To make this even easier for you, here are a few real, organic, and healthy food items you can order through these companies. We love using the app Fooducate to rate the quality of ingredients used in each product. The following things get an A- to A+ on the app for their organic, real ingredients:

Costco
  • Breakfast:
    • Rader Farms Organic Fresh Start Smoothie Blend
    • Mamma Chia Squeeze Blackberry Bliss
  • Snacks:
    • Made in Nature Goji Berries
    • Manitoba Organic Hemp Hearts
    • Kirkland Signature Eggs Hard Boiled
    • Perfect Foods Organic Protein Bars
    • Love Organic Beets
    • Organic Wholly Guacamole
  • Lunch/Dinner:
    • Maya Kaimal Simmer Sauce Vindaloo & Coconut Curry
    • Tropicland Organic Cauliflower Rice
    • Mass River Farms Organic Butternut Squash
    • Don Lee Farms Veggie Bowl
    • Golden Ladle Chicken Broth for Sipping
  • Beverages:
    • Spindrift Sparkling Water
    • Kirkland Organic Coconut Water

Request meal kits:

   Peachdish:
  • From award-winning chefs and a highly qualified nutrition team comes an extremely flexible meal kit delivery service with locally and sustainably sourced ingredients.
  • Subscription, skip or cancel anytime, or place a one-time order.
  • Approximately $25/meal
   Sun Basket:
  • From top farms enjoy responsibly sourced, organic, non-GMO, hand-selected, seasonal ingredients with grass-fed, antibiotic-free pastured meat all packaged together in a 100 percent recyclable box.
  • Subscription, skip, or cancel any time.
  • Approximately $11.99/meal
   Green Chef:
  • An exclusively environmentally conscious meal kit, all materials are recyclable or compostable, and all ingredients are GMO-free and organic. Choose from vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto, gluten-free, and omnivore meal plans.
  • Subscription, skip, or cancel any time.
  • Approximately $10-15/meal
   Blue Apron:
  • Locally sourced, pre-measured ingredients, though not all meals are organic or GMO-free. They support regenerative farming practices and base menus around crop rotations.
  • Subscription, skip, or cancel any time.
  • Approximately $9.99/meal
   Home Chef:
  • Home Chef offers ten dinner options, breakfasts, a fruit basket, and a fresh smoothie per week, plus they have gluten-free, low-carb, vegetarian, soy-free, and nut-free meal options.
  • Subscription, skip, or cancel any time.
  • Approximately $7.99/meal

Request gift cards for laundry services:

   DRYV:
  • Schedule flexible pickup and drop-off in seconds.
  • Serves most major cities.
  • $20 minimum.
   Rinse:
  • Have dry cleaning or laundry delivered at home or work.
  • Available in Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC, Northern Virginia, Boston.
  • Price per pound: $1.75, $30 minimum.
   Cleanly:
  • Subscribe and have laundry day done in no time.
  • Available in NYC, Brooklyn, Washington DC.
  • Pricing per item available on their website, no minimum.

Request gift cards for task services:

   Hello Alfred:
  • If Hello Alfred is available in your building, you can set it up to deliver and put away your groceries, do your laundry, or drop off prescriptions.
  • Available in most major cities for apartment dwellers, but not directly to consumers if your apartment doesn’t host this service.
   TaskRabbit:
  • Use TaskRabbit if putting away the dishes, running errands, folding laundry, assembling the crib, or walking the dog feels like more than just a chore.
  • Available in most major cities.

To communicate your needs or to keep your family apprised of everything the baby is doing, coordinate through a caregiving app. Here are our faves:

Lotsa Helping Hands:

This is your free one-stop-shop to organize the help everyone is offering you. Post requests for support, to set up tasks, or send invites to those in your network to manage, organize, and coordinate meals, rides, and whatever else you need through their care calendar. Your care team will receive automatic reminders, so nothing is forgotten.

   CareZone:
  • A simple way to organize your health! Scan medications and share with family or your provider, set automatic reminders for when to take your medication or track your blood pressure, or get your medicine delivered for free.
  • Invite family members, friends, or providers to share vital health information with them safely and privately.
   Give InKind:
  • Communicate your wishlist, fundraise, or coordinate meals to get the exact support you need from friends and family! Request gift cards for Amazon Prime, Bambino Childcare, NatureBox, Talkspace, or Zeel.

Have a family or friend coordinate a Meal Train to organize meals for your family:

They can take the trouble of meal planning off your hands by organizing meals and dropoffs for your family.
  • Request one to two meals per day for six weeks.
  • Use a cooler and sign for meal drop-offs that says:
    • “We can’t wait to see you when we know up from down!”
    • “While we feed our baby, we can’t thank you enough for feeding us!”
    • “With full hearts and hungry bellies, you’re the best for filling both!”

Part 2: Protect your mental health with the same fierceness you’d protect your baby from danger. Here are a few tips:

Get mental stimulation and rest to feel like a sane human by activating the buddy system.

  • Look for a new moms group hosted at a local hospital.
  • Check out apps like Taavi, Mom Life, or Social Mama to meet new parents.
  • Join We Are Gravida newsletter by signing up on our homepage. It’s our passion to create an inclusive community where you share the mundane and life-altering moments of parenthood, to learn from, and support each other along the way and together raise healthy, engaged, and kind humans.

Research and create a list of professional support services you can use postpartum and post it on your fridge.

  • Find a mental health therapist through Psychology Today. Did you know that you can narrow your search with terms such as “postpartum” or “Perinatal Mental Health Therapist” to find the right fit?
  • Use apps like Expectful, Headspace, Mindshift, or Talkspaceor on-demand virtual therapy or meditation.
  • Use Postpartum Support International in case of emergency to get direct peer support or connect with local resources.

Create space for self-care.

Yes, create. Time is precious and limited, but it’s not gone entirely. With some practice, you can maintain space to take care of yourself. Here are a few self-care practices we love:

  • Get an at-home massage with Soothe or Zeel.
  • Create a five-minute self-care ritual to turn a mundane moment into pure bliss:
    • Wash your face. Hold a warm washcloth to your face for a few seconds. Apply a totally indulgent moisturizer.
    • Take a special beverage to enjoy in the shower or bath.
    • Add a few drops of bergamot, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, or tea tree, essential oil to the floor of the tub during the shower or bath for a relaxing or mood-boosting effect.
    • Apply exfoliating body polish followed by hydrating body oil to connect with your body.
    • Read a few pages from a favorite book when your partner comes home or during lunch at work.
    • Massage your feet with a foot massage ball while you get ready in the morning.
    • Hop in bed and gently massage your face with a jade roller before falling asleep.
    • Set a timer for two minutes (or use an electric toothbrush) and deep breathe while you brush your teeth. If you want to remove cosmetic stains to brighten your smile, add a charcoal toothpaste two to three times a week.

Part 3: 6 weeks and beyond.

You’re not failing if you need emotional support or physical help for longer than six weeks. Postpartum ‘ends’ when you feel you have some semblance of balance—and it takes time! Your maternal mental health is still important, even when the postpartum period ends. Here’s how you can set yourself up for success while taking the time you need to adjust.

Create a list of your childcare, babysitter, and daycare options:

         Main caregiver:

         Back up:

         Safe community spaces:

Pro tip:

To gain a stronger level of comfort with the person or people taking care of the baby, spend time with childcare providers in one- or two-hour chunks with baby and/or older children.

List Plan A, B, C options for housekeeping and chores so, no matter what, things get done!

         Option A:

         Option B:

         Option C:

Make a list of what is/are mom’s concern(s) about this transition, and what will we do about it?

         Concern:

         What we’ll do about it:

         Concern:

         What we’ll do about it:

         Concern:

         What we’ll do about it:

What is/are partner’s greatest concern(s) about this transition in our family, and what will we do about it?

         Concern:

         What we’ll do about it:

         Concern:

         What we’ll do about it:

         Concern:

         What we’ll do about it:

You got this! We’re here for you every step of the way, no matter what. If you find yourself stuck, struggling, or in need of support, reach out to hello@gravidamom.com to connect with an expert.