I see you there, scrolling through Pinterest, Instagram and Google at 3am trying to find the answer to those pregnancy and postpartum questions. I have to ask… do you ever find what you’re looking for? Or do you end up MORE confused, unsure, and stressed (and now super awake at 3am)? We call that scrolling overwhelm.
I’ve been there, I get it.
The simultaneous information overload and total lack of support for pregnancy and parenting during a pandemic leaves many of us curling up in the corner wondering what the hell we are supposed to do. Naturally, we pick up our pocket computers (phones) and start to scroll…
Here’s the problem, as soon as you announce you’re pregnant, everyone has time to share an opinion, but no one has time to listen to what you actually want and need. No matter where you look, the internet says you’re doing it wrong or my personal favorite “Just trust your gut! You should just know!”
I call bullshit. It’s a HUGE ask for someone to trust their body when it may feel unsafe or foreign, which is often the case during pregnancy and postpartum.
So how do we get the support we need, tune out the noise, and stop scrolling overwhelm?
Pregnancy and postpartum ask us to make so many decisions from where to birth to how to feed our baby. The truth is, even with the most thought out plan, there are many unknowns that can bungle that plan. So rather than being hard-set on a specific plan, shift your focus to outcomes and feelings.
Most people would say: a healthy baby. But perhaps having an unmedicated birth is also important to you. I would challenge you to consider how to do you want to feel through your birth experience? Supported? Empowered? Calm? Connected? If you need medical intervention (they exist for a reason), how would you want that experience to go so it’s still in line with your values?
You might say: I want to breastfeed, sleep, connect with new parents, do XYZ activity I love, and lose the baby weight. Sure, but like birth, postpartum comes with its own set of challenges. So let’s get to the root of each of these and see if we can pull out the deep need or core value.
Baby is fed and thriving. You feel supported, rest and nourished. You feel connected to yourself, both physically and emotionally. Reframing these desires opens up more paths to get there.
Explaining and enforcing boundaries isn’t mean or coming from a place with a lack of love, it’s actually kind.
If someone starts to tell you about their traumatic birth experience and you don’t want to hear it, stop them. If you don’t want advice about sleep training or feeding from Great Aunt Millie, then say so. (Or if you’re more chicken shit like me, nod, smile, and tune them out.) Set clear expectations with friends and family and remember its okay to say NO. Some folks may understand and others may get pissed, but that’s their shit to work out.
Know people are operating from their own experience and values. It may align with yours and it may not. When in doubt, remind yourself “good for them, not for me.”
You can understand your core values and draw clear boundaries, but will still definitely need support when questions and tough situations inevitably arise. Know who you are going to reach out to when you have a question, shit gets hard (because it will), you need something, or you just want to talk. Please don’t rely on your medical provider to fulfill all these roles. They can’t, perhaps not because they are unwilling, but because the system is not built that way.
These are few examples: