A Bookworm’s Preparations for Postpartum

Every time I’m approaching birth, I feel compelled to have a stack of books ready. My husband and I own a library of over 600 books (seriously). Neither of us own a Kindle or e-reader because we LOVE physical books. To us, there’s no replacement. Whenever we travel, we visit the local used bookstores and go treasure hunting. Curt has a wish list printed in 6-point font on a single sheet of paper that he carries in his wallet so he’s ready every time.

We’ve read a good portion, but not much over half. So, when I’m pregnant, I love going through our books and pulling ones I might like to read after the baby is born. When I’m in bed or in our rocker nursing, it’s the perfect time to catch up on the extensive reading list that’s only growing. Postpartum can be such a mellow time, if you play your cards right, and I’d hate to be on my phone the whole time. Also, reading books is peaceful instead of stimulating, so if I need sleep, it comes easily while reading a good book.

Don’t be mistaken: my postpartum book stack is not a goal. I don’t ever get through the books that I choose. It just becomes a mini-library I can pull from based on mood or ambition. I keep this stack right in my postpartum suite and pull a book from it once I’ve finished the previous one.

I always keep The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method handy for birth and postpartum. They’ve become my references when I have questions or just to affirm answers I already know.

Besides that, this is what I chose for my upcoming postpartum phase:

  • Knit Two by Kate Jacobs: This is the sequel to The Friday Night Knitting Club, the story of a group of women who come together around an NYC yarn store. I found the first book charming and easy to read. This is my simple and not-too-heavy choice.
  • Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People by Vanessa Van Edwards: I’ve watched a few of her talks, and they’re intriguing. This is my nonfiction choice if I’m feeling in an emotional and insightful mood.
  • Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit: The Lives and Counsels of Contemporary Elders of Greece by Middleton and Mantzaridis: Our family is part of the Eastern Orthodox Church and any Christian can appreciate the teachings of the saints and elders of these modern saints.
  • Faithful Place by Tana French: I hope to discover more contemporary authors and I’ve never read a novel by Tana French! I’ll read this one if I want to discover someone new.
  • True Colors by Kristin Hannah: Another contemporary author. I’ve read one of her books – The Nightingale, about two French sisters during the 2nd world war – and thought it was incredible. It made me cry! I’d like to see if her other work is as moving.
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith: A classic I’ve never read!
  • My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Frederik Backman: Yet another contemporary. I read his A Man Called Ove and ate it up. I like his themes and would love to see if he could be my favorite contemporary author! He’s in the running.
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver: I have intended to read this book forever, and maybe I’ll finally get to it this time. Something in me feels ready to get into her work.
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway: I’ve read this classic before, but it’s been since high school. This one is short and easy to hold (important when you’re one-handed with a nursling!). I know I would enjoy reading it again.
  • The Catcher and the Rye by J.D. Salinger: Another classic I’ve never read. Shame!
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Another classic I must get to, though this heart-breaking tale might be too much in combination with postpartum hormones?
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker: Simple out of my desire to read more classics!
  • The Once and Future King by T.H. White: The author of The Sword in the Stone. I’ve always been intrigued by this King Arthur saga!

I love books and am always ready to buy more. What do you recommend I have at hand? Have you read any from this list? What do you think I should start with first?

How does Marabou support women?

We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.

Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Or women are embittered by the journey of motherhood? We can change that by giving the gift of peace.

My Postpartum Plan!

When preparing a postpartum plan, it’s important to think about all aspects of your life: your home, your children, meal + snack preparation, and even things like your mind, your emotions, and your connections to others. All deserve more than a passing glance, and it can be overwhelming to think about!

The difficult thing about postpartum planning is that you won’t know what your needs are. It’s like going in battle: you really won’t know what will happen. What your challenges will be? What you’ll struggle with the most? If others are going to offer help, or if you’ll have to ask for help.

Who knows!

This is why I tell myself – and moms who ask my advice – to plan for everything. Cover the bases. Think through all the things. I’ve never heard a mother express in hindsight that she had too much support or she mentally prepared too much. If anything, it turns out being too little.

So: where should you begin? Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a handy tool here. Start with freeing up your hands. The first thing a mother needs postpartum is rest, which means doing nothing. Ideally, you shouldn’t even be thinking about how the dishes get done, how the kids are cared for, or how dinner will be made. A postpartum plan asks the questions who will take care of my responsibilities so I can do nothing but rest, recover, and take care of my baby.

The reality is, you’ll be involved, to some extent. But this is where a postpartum plan begins, because when I know these things are taken care of, my mental and emotional health are better off, too.

Read on for my postpartum plan for the time after our 4th birth. Let’s be honest: it’ll change up until I go into labor, but I think I’ve covered my four main areas: the house, the meals, the kids, and my mental/emotional health.

#1: The House

This is usually THE hardest part of my postpartum plan – the dishes, the laundry, the bathrooms! All the things I should not concern myself with postpartum but must get done daily.

I’m lucky this time around because we live with my husband’s parents and there are many hands in our house. I highly recommend multi-generational living, even if only temporarily. When we had my daughter two years ago, my mother-in-law – who worked from home at the time – flew to us in Washington state and lived in for 5 weeks! It made a MASSIVE difference in our postpartum experience to have that live-in help. (Thank you, Barb! ❤)

In fact, many traditional postpartum customs involve this kind of structure. In Japan and India, a new mother will spend her postpartum phase living with her parents as a norm. In places like China and Latin America, the grandmother and aunties come to live in the mother’s home for focused care.

Basically: we need people around.

If multi-generational living is not an option, don’t forget there are other ways to get the help you need for those first forty days. You should consider hiring a postpartum doula for light household help or a cleaning service for more thorough house support. Can’t afford it? Me neither. That’s when a service-based gift registry comes in handy. Consider starting a Marabou registry and let your friends and family gift you these needs in lieu of unneeded baby stuff.

#2: The Meals

In our house, I cook 4 times a week and my mother-in-law cooks twice (leftover night is Wednesday).

To compensate for my 4 times a week, we plan to stock freezer meals, including meals from a nesting party. A few weeks before I’m due, my inner circle – mother, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and closest girlfriends – are coming over for pie and tea. I’ve asked them each to bring a freezer meal to help with my postpartum food needs. See here for our post on freezer meals.

During the week, my husband can thaw these freezer meals overnight and quickly reheat them to have dinner ready for our family. Easy!

#3: The Kids

This time around, I predict this will be the most difficult part of my postpartum plan. I have 3 (count’um, three!) kids, ages 5-and-a-half, 3-and-a-half, and 2. I’m also due early August when they’re off school. This eases the complexity of drop-off, but means they’re home all day!

All the other adults in our home work full time during the day, and although my husband and father-in-law both work from home (and can be around during lunchtimes and intermittent breaks), they obviously need that concentrated work time. Also, my husband is on contract and has no paid paternity leave. He will likely just take a week off after the baby is born.

I’ve basically had to piece this part together for the Monday-Friday 8-5. Here are my basic thoughts:

  • Since my husband works from home, he doesn’t need to start work until 8 am. He can get the kids through breakfast and ready for the day.
  • My father-in-law has a somewhat flexible schedule, so we’ve asked him to watch the kids for an hour or two right away in the morning. Our kids are usually happy playing in the playroom at this time of the day, so it will mostly involve making sure everyone is still breathing. This way, if I lose sleep overnight, I can at least sleep late and be as ready as I can be for the day.
  • My retired parents live an hour away from us, but we have enough space to host them overnight. We may ask them to stay with us Wednesday mornings through Thursday evenings for the first couple weeks.
  • My nesting party is at the end of July that will also involve putting together activity packs for the kids while I’m postpartum. So, when I must be up and out of bed with them, I’ll have easy and entertaining activities for them to do (aka, things that they don’t usually play with and don’t involve much adult energy). I hope to minimize TV time this way, though I’m not above that!
  • I also have postpartum doula support after my husband goes back to work (see next section), so I will have extra hands in the house to help out!

Still, this is the hardest part of our postpartum plan, even with all the support available to us!

#4: Mental + Emotional Health

Knowing myself, having these other 3 elements (house, meals, and kids) covered is a necessary safeguard for my mental health.

But, plan for the worst, hope for the best! I’ve also chosen to do our Twin Cities Chiro/Doula Marabou package (TC Chiro). If it can go wrong, it might and having experienced professional help is essential.

Although I’ll need very practical support from our doula – she is an expert in postpartum mental health. Having a doula care for your mental state is critical in our culture today. Too many women are left to process their birth experiences alone; left in their rooms to recover in isolation. Women need women! Too many women suffer from Perinatal Mood Disorders and there is really no way to know if you will be affected. Doulas are trained to identify red flags and guiding you to professional help if that is needed; but with a doula there, your chances are significantly reduced.

Other aspects to consider:

Visitors:

Visitation is not a guarantee; it is a privilege. If you are going to allow visitors, don’t hesitate to ask for help while they are there. If you would be required to entertain them, then they don’t have to see you or the baby while you’re recovering.

My plan for the first few weeks is to only invite our inner circle – those who know us well, and are willing to lend a hand instead of needing to be hosted.

Other visitors will be allowed depending on how I feel and after a call or text, and only after the 2-week mark.

Breastfeeding Support:

I nursed all my other babies, but this is a whole new baby! I hope breastfeeding goes well again, but if not, here are my resources:

  • My postpartum doula is a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) and can lead me through a few things during her visits. I can also give her a call if I feel something is pressing.
  • My birth center offers “Willow Café” twice a month, on the 2nd and 4th This is a postpartum support group led by an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) so I know I can ask questions there if we’re struggling.
  • Blooma offers a free open house lactation lounge every Wednesday. I can also drop in there!

Even though I’m approaching my 4th postpartum period, I’ve never planned so well before! This exercise was an eye-opening experience.

We’ve planned diligently and the rest is up to God. Support is worth planning for, but it may also come in ways you don’t foresee. Be open to help when it is offered and keep your chin up through the long nights and rough days. Labor is short compared to the marathon that is postpartum; so, keep the long game in view, mamas!

How does Marabou support women?

We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.

Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Or women are embittered by the journey of motherhood? We can change that by giving the gift of peace.

Tips for Prenatal Activity

Ah, pregnancy in all its glory. Growing at an exponential rate. Joint pain. Back pain (have you seen what happens to a pregnant woman’s spine?!). Fluid retention. Swelling. Lightning crotch (heard of that one?). Round ligament pain.

This is no walk in the park here, people.

I’m currently 33 weeks pregnant and hobbling around like an Oompa Loompa. I’ve been learning my lesson – pregnancy in your 30’s is NOT pregnancy in your 20’s.

This is why prenatal activity (after approval from your provider, of course) is not only permissible, it’s advised. Perhaps necessary! I had my babies when I was 25, 27, 29, and now I’m 31 (like my pattern?). I’m regretting that I haven’t stay more consistently active this pregnancy. Maybe I have good excuses – and it’s not like I’m a couch potato – but my lack of concentrated effort to boost my body has resulted in Oompa Loompa status.

It’s not pretty.

Why is prenatal exercise so crucial?

Well – lots of reasons! Your body is changing immensely. In order to avoid or minimize joint and back pain, it’s best to stay loose and strengthen the muscles that support your joints and bones. In past pregnancies, I minimized hip pain with squats and leg lifts. Trust me, building that strength makes a huge difference!

The other reason activity is so important: CHILDBIRTH! You’re essentially training for a marathon. IF you can build up your strength, you’ll have better endurance in labor and your body will be better able to do what it needs to do. This could also mean a better postpartum recovery. And who doesn’t want that?

A few tips:

  • I usually wait until my 2nd trimester (or my 3rd apparently! Pfft) when the pregnancy is established and I’ve had my first prenatal appointment.
  • Listen to your body! I don’t know about you, but I feel especially in-tune when I’m pregnant. I’m always getting feedback: This is great! or That does not feel good. Stop or slow down accordingly.
  • Allow your routine to feel good! I believe prenatal activity is as much about loosening, stretching, and nurturing your structure as it is about strengthening it.
  • Find things that are specifically prenatal. Prenatal yoga, prenatal circuits – things designed by professionals for the pregnant body. With these resources, you’ll be able to focus on the right areas to prepare you for labor and avoid the things you shouldn’t be doing. I love Laura Dutta’s prenatal yoga (see here), Erin O’Brien’s Prenatal Fitness Fix (see here), or anything from Sarah Beth Yoga (see here).
Get it, mama! 💪

How does Marabou support women?

We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.

Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Or women are embittered by the journey of motherhood? We can change that by giving the gift of peace.

What are Freezer Meals?

Freezer meals? Oh, yeah, that makes sense. They’re meals you – well – put in the freezer.

Ok, now go ahead and make one…

Stuck? So was I the first time I was preparing for postpartum with dinners to stock in my freezer. I thought I would just make a meal and then freeze it. This works for some meals, like soups, chilis, and stews.

But other meals involve a little more finesse. There is an art to preparing a meal up to the point of cooking but freezing it instead. This way, when you (1) pull it from the freezer, (2) thaw in the fridge, and then (3) bake or cook it, it’s like you just prepared it. With a dash of fresh herbs or cubed avocado, it tastes that fresh.

My personal freezer meal favorite has become a pan of enchiladas, which I deliver to nearly every postpartum mother within my sphere of influence. But It can be a freezer baggie of chopped veggies for a slow cooker recipe that you dump in your crockpot and then add a can of diced tomatoes and vegetable stock to. The idea is: having prepared foods in your freezer that you can access whenever you are in the trenches of postpartum or life’s general busy-ness. Oh, how simple life can be when there are meals in your freezer that aren’t overly processed but instead are made with fresh ingredients and a little TLC.

The beauty of freezer meals is that you can make them yourself in the last few weeks of pregnancy in preparation for postpartum, you can make them for a friend for her nesting party (see here), or you can bring one over when you visit a mother after birth. I LOVE doing this because Meal Trains – as amazing as they are – can overwhelm a family with too much food! What a wonderful problem.

But with a freezer meal, things can be more flexible and according to the family’s needs. Meals can be left in a cooler placed outside their home (if they are not receiving visitors at that time) or thrown straight into their freezer in the case that their kitchen is overloaded. They can pull it out at their convenience. You won’t be stepping on any meal-planning or scheduling toes, and they get to decide when to enjoy the meal you’ve prepared.

A cooler left on the front stoop can mean a family doesn't have to entertain guests when they're not up for it!

Don’t waste your time inventing something new; Pinterest has all the freezer meal gurus already working hard to take the guesswork out of good freezer meal recipes!

Here are some of the ones I used when learning the territory:

23 Make Ahead Meals via Buzzfeed

Molly Yeh’s Baby Meal Prep Guide

12 Healthy Freezer Meals from Pinch of Yum

The Gift of Freezer Meals from Take Them A Meal

Marabou’s Bean & Cheese Enchiladas

Marabou’s Parmesan Corn Chowder

A few tips when bringing freezer meals to a growing family:

  • Use disposable! This takes the burden away from the recipients, who would otherwise have to wash and coordinate the return of your dish. I use disposable cake pans and aluminum foil for enchiladas, washed out deli containers from the grocery store for soups, and put muffins in gallon-sized baggies (they hold 16 perfectly!).
  • Always always always bring a copy of the recipe or instructions! Getting your freezer meal to the table should not be a riddle. When I bring my enchiladas, I tape an index card to the top with instructions. It’s simple but still necessary for the uninitiated [(1) thaw overnight (2) bake at 400°F for 15 minutes]. Some are a little more involved and should definitely have the full recipe included. Your prerogative.
  • If you have extra ingredients to bring that don’t go in the freezer (e.g., a can of tomatoes and chicken stock to add to the crockpot along with your chopped veggies), bring them along and put them somewhere safe in the family’s pantry where they can easily find it. If you’re on the receiving end of freezer meals (you lucky duck!), you might put a small bin in your pantry for these extra items so they don’t accidentally get used and are reserved for your freezer meals.
  • Bring a meal AND baked goods, if you can! Meals are great, but postpartum moms also snack all day, especially if they’re breastfeeding. Baked goods are the perfect way to enjoy a healthy, grab-and-go, one-handed snack. Try our mom muffins!

How does Marabou support women?

We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.

Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Or women are embittered by the journey of motherhood? We can change that by giving the gift of peace.

A New Take on Well Care After Birth

I recently read Jennifer Margulis’ The Business of Baby and was fascinated by her chapter on the American postpartum experience. Typically, a postpartum mother has one check up at 6 weeks. Her baby, on the other hand, has well visits at 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months. At these visits, mom and baby meet with a pediatrician or family practitioner. The baby is weighed and measured; questions are discussed; immunizations are administered; and recommendations for sleep, introducing solids, and milestones are given. I used to jokingly call these my “mom tests.” I passed if my baby didn’t have a hint of diaper rash, was sleeping well, and had met his milestones. I often dreaded these visits for fear of “failure.”

In her book, Margulis highlights a new kind of well visit in which moms with the same aged babies meet in a group with two professionals, one of which is a health care provider, and the other typically some form of therapist or counselor. This is a well-baby and well-mom model. Moms can raise questions, give each other advice and tips, and the licensed professionals can be there for back up and individual check ups with baby.

Here’s an excerpt:

Laura Wise, a family practice doctor based in Oakland, California, understands [mothers’] concerns. She thinks the biggest downside to well-baby care – which is a problem of medical care in America in general – is that it is too fragmented. Wise believes in order for checkups during the first year of a baby’s life to really promote a baby’s health and well-being, the mother’s health needs to be considered as well. “The mom and baby in the first year of life are so inextricably linked in their well-being,” Wise tells me in a phone interview as she leaves her office on the way to the gym. “If the mom is depressed, it impacts the baby. If the baby is colicky and doesn’t sleep well at night, it has a huge impact on the mom.”

Wise herself was isolated as a new mom. When her daughter was born in Petaluma, California nine years ago, Wise knew very few other first-time moms. None of her med school friends had had children yet, and she found it lonely to be home all day with the baby without family in the same town or a community of friends. Despite being a medical doctor, she felt unmoored. “I didn’t know what I was doing,” she admits. “I got postpartum depression. I had doctors and could get medication, but I didn’t have any support.”

Then, in 2006, six weeks after her second child was born, a colleague who was going out on maternity leave asked Wise to run a group for her. In this model of group care, pairs of moms and babies come together for a two-hour appointment facilitated by two people, one of whom is a health care provider, usually a pediatrician, family doctor, or a nurse practitioner. Well-woman care (including family planning, mental health, and achieving weight goals) is combined with well-baby care (including safety, immunizations, and developmental assessments). Unlike in the traditional medical model, the group appointments always start on time, patients have a full two hours with the provider (who is there the whole time, although she does the physical exams on each baby in a space apart), and moms learn as much from each other as from the health professionals guiding the group.

When parents bring concerns – a three-month-old baby who has stopped pooping frequently, for instance – they hear from other parents who are experiencing the same issue, and often learn that it’s not actually a cause for concern. The group wisdom also gives women a chance to try less invasive alternatives to clear up medical problems, Wise says. In one of her Spanish-speaking groups a baby had eczema and another mom suggested trying a gentle moisturizing soap. If Wise had been alone with the patient, she might have written a prescription for a topical steroid cream. But the next month the mom came back with a rash-free kid.

“What I wouldn’t give to be receiving care that way,” said a mom of a two-month-old baby in Silver Spring, Maryland, who goes to the same church as Sharon Rising, CenteringParenting’s founder. Laura Wise agrees. “Having a group of moms at the same stage would have been so helpful to me,” she admits. “If my doctor had taken the time to understand my background, and what I brought to mothering, it would have made a huge difference to my daughter’s well-being. I was not outwardly high risk but if you knew me, you would know that I had a lot of risks for postpartum depression. There was so much that I didn’t know. It’s kind of intense. If someone had just given me a Moby wrap, and said, ‘Just put your baby in here and walk around and you’ll have a much better day.’ That’s what happens in a parenting group, someone gets a good carrier and they share it with someone else. It’s transformative.”

First started in 2006, there are now thirteen health centers in the United States where women and their babies can receive CenteringParenting postnatal care. In one randomized controlled study with ninety-seven mom and baby pairs, participants had better attendance, recalled getting more education and advice, and generally reported higher satisfaction than with traditional care. Lead research on this study, Ada Fenick, a pediatrician with more than fifteen years of experience who teaches pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine, says almost twice as many of her medical students requested to receive training to do group well-baby care this year than last. “These residents are learning a lot from the moms in their group, and about how to talk to people. I think it’s wonderful,” Fenick says. “And the parents are getting a lot out of it. For me it’s very exciting. You’ve got the moms teaching each other; every now and then you look over at the doctor, who’s nodding, because that’s just what she would have said.”

Despite the positive results, in the Oakland area, Wise has found it challenging to get her colleagues to embrace group care. “We are trained to take care of people in the exam room, and we are trained to be or act like experts,” Wise explains. “The idea of a facilitated group, which can be chaotic and draws on the knowledge of the people in it, is uncomfortable for health care providers who haven’t been trained in that way.” But, Wise believes, it’s a battle worth fighting. The biggest difference between this kind of well-baby care and a more traditional model is that it changes our current pediatric paradigm by embracing “the radical idea that patients have more knowledge about their health than anyone else.”

***

You can respect the education and knowledge that a health care provider brings to the table, however, group wisdom, especially growth into motherhood, is incredibly valuable. Moms supporting moms as they are simultaneously supported by a practitioner. What do you think about this model of care?

How does Marabou support women?

We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.

Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Or women are embittered by the journey of motherhood? We can change that by giving the gift of peace.