During the consultation and planning of this surgery I was encouraged to start making plans for the recovery period for myself, my family and my business.
As a birth worker I have offered very similar advice almost weekly to expectant families during prenatal/postpartum visits and during childbirth education class. “It is important that you [mom] be taken care of so that you can focus on what is important during that time. Healing and transitioning your life with this new baby.”
I never thought I would be offered the same advice again since our family is complete. I also did not know what to expect as it can be challenging for me to hand over my other responsibilities and plan to just focus on myself for an extended period of time. I made this mistake during my own postpartum periods and during various times of my life when I really could have used a village…a community.
I started with making arrangements for my children. I am very blessed to have close family nearby and an older child who has acted as a second mother to her younger siblings. I make it a habit to not call on them often because I do not want to burn them out with last minute requests (when you are on call for a living this is not always an easy task).
One night during my planning my sister-in-law called me and said, “I want you to know that I have some vacation days available that I am planning on using. We can take the kids some days during your recovery.” There was silence. She said my name because I hadn’t responded in what felt like minutes. I hadn’t responded because I was overwhelmed with emotion. My sobs grew louder and as she realized what was happening she went on to tell me how much they loved me and my family and that they are there to help in any way they can.
I have amazing friends who have offered to make and bring over meals for my family, help with laundry and to make me laugh until I cry (which I love!)
A few days later I started to make arrangements for A Woman’s Design (which is my other baby). I contacted my team and had a few meetings to discuss the next few weeks and months. Not to my surprise these amazing women stepped up by taking on different roles and responsibilities even to the point of training if needed.
Collectively these people are doulaing me in their own ways. It is exactly the support I need to return and continue this amazing work with women and families. They think I’m driven and passionate now…
This Mother’s Day I encourage you…I implore you to not wait until you’re at the end of your rope to ask for help. Make it a habit to check in with yourself and reach out to those around you when you need. Don’t try to do this life alone…this parenting journey alone. It doesn’t have to be a big group of people. It can be women in your moms’ group, church group, the gym, close work friends, friends, family or the help of postpartum doulas.
They love you and want to support you in more ways than you know. They only need to be asked.
Love to you and yours,