Guide to an After Birth Plan for your well-being

As I prepare for the birth of my second baby, I'm fully aware of the chaos that the first few weeks with a newborn bring. It was easier with my first, but now I have another child to think about, so I can't go in without a plan.

In many cultures, the forty days or about six weeks after birth are considered a time for recuperation for mother and child. The baby is just getting to used to being outside the womb, and the mother is physically and mentally recovering from the birth. So it makes sense for her to receive the best care ever, and make sure she gets to relax. This is very common in Asian cultures, including in India, where I come from. Of course, this only works when you're in close proximity to family and relatives who can offer you that kind of support. Often, mothers nowadays are removed from that village of support. But that doesn't mean you should deprive yourself of the support you deserve.

This is where an After Birth Plan comes in. We focus so much on the labour and birth itself, that we forget about life after the event, where the real story begins.

So, I have decided to outline a plan to ensure my physical and mental well-being after the baby. I know how important it is for me to stay well for my family. The first few weeks after birth are crucial, so this plan is for the first six weeks, at least. I hope this inspires you to make your own plan, or adapt these guidelines to suit you.

Do you have a plan in place to take care of YOU after having a baby? Here is a guide to creating an after birth plan for your mental and physical well-being after birth.

Here's my six week well-being plan for after birth:

1. Get support

Sometimes, all it takes is asking. You might not think of it right away, but there may someone in your family who has the time and would actually be happy to help you through the newborn phase. Whether they come over to stay with you, or drop by every day for a few hours, don't be afraid to seek out that person. I'm an expat, but I've arranged for my mom to come and stay with us because I know I can't do it alone.

2. Limit screen time

It's great to have Google every time you think there's something wrong with the baby, but more often than not, it only ends up worrying you more. The same goes for parenting forums where a million opinions exist, but only you know what's best for your baby, It may be tempting to get online, but I will do it sparingly and trust my instincts more than Google. Also, I want my mind to be in a state of calm instead of fretting over what I'm missing on Facebook and Instagram.

3. Stick to the most basic chores

A clean house is wonderful, but nobody really expects you to have one after delivering a baby. I will only focus on things that absolutely need to be done, but I won't worry about the messes because I simply can't put my energy into cleaning up too much. Not every chore is as important as bonding with my newborn, who won't stay that way for long, and will probably be very demanding of my time.

4. Plan meals or take out

If I can, I'll make freezer meals or at least load the refrigerator with quick meals. Or we'll depend on take out meals. Yes, nutrition is important, but during my recovery period, my focus will be more on getting everyone fed instead of cooking elaborate meals.

5. Eat without guilt

Speaking of food, I won't worry about what I'm eating as long as I'm filling up. If I'm breastfeeding a newborn, I'll be ravenous anyway, so having handy snacks will be the way to go. And that's my advice to you - don't think about the calories when you're dealing with sleep deprivation and messy diapers. Just focus on feeling good, and if that means chocolate cake for breakfast, so be it!

6. Accept my post partum body

Your body can feel the worst after birth. There are all sorts of lumps and a big belly, and you often stay in pyjamas all day. It's okay. I won't think about when I'll lose all the pregnancy weight. Those are thoughts for another time. I'll just accept my body for what it is, and pat myself on the back for harboring life inside me, and safely bringing it into this world. I won't look at those celebrity moms who spring back to perfection soon after having a baby.

7. Talk to people IRL

Most of us are in touch with friends only online, but there is something special about talking to people in real life. At this stage, you crave a reassuring word or a supportive smile. Talking face to face with a good friend is therapeutic. I'll answer all the calls that come on my phone, and won't shy away from opportunities to talk to people when I can - offline, the traditional way.

8. Go outside

Even if I'm in spit up pyjamas, I will venture outside and not lock myself away from the world. I will go out to take in the sun and breathe the fresh air. Nature has a way of healing us, so I'll find time to step outside every day, even if for a short while. I won't do social events that require me to dress up, because, after all, I'm on a break, but I'll be all in for casual gatherings.

9. Sleep as much as possible

I'll be dozing off anyway, so I'll try to catch snatches of sleep instead of trying to be the superwoman who gets things done while the baby naps. Nope. Mamas need naps too. Besides, my mind will be clearer and I'll be more productive with my awake time if I'm well rested. Everything else can wait.

10. Say yes to help

A hundred times, yes. If someone offers help, genuinely, don't say no. I won't delude myself into thinking that I can do it all when I'm really screaming for help inside. I'll accept whatever is offered my way, and will even ask for it if I have to. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it most.

11. It does not have to be 6 weeks

Unless you have to go back to work, take your time until you feel better and more in control. Even if you have to return to work, you can take some more time off if your employers are flexible. I don't know if I need this plan for six weeks or two months, but I'll give myself the time I need. Watch out, though, that you don't let this go on for too long. If you feel anxious or down for longer than you should, always seek professional help.

You may also like my post: Six ways to show your support to a new mom.

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