Pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period are profound and transformative experiences. They are also deeply personal journeys that should be approached with individuality and empowerment. While traditions and practices passed down through generations can hold value, it's essential to recognize that you don't have to follow them blindly.
You’re probably not driving the same car, cooking the same food or wearing the same outfits as your mom did when she was your age. Your pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience doesn’t have to be the same as hers, either.
1. Prenatal Care:
Prenatal care has evolved significantly over the years, and new options are now available to expectant mothers. Traditional models of care involved routine visits to obstetricians, with limited opportunities for shared decision-making. However, modern prenatal care allows for more active participation and choices. You can now explore alternative options such as midwifery care, birthing centers, or home births.It's essential to educate yourself about the various choices available and select the model that aligns with your values, desires, and individual needs. And contrary to what your mom might think– You can fire your provider, or switch from an OB to a midwife if you aren’t feeling like your needs are being met. Moms of this generation are learning to expect more individualized care from their providers and are advocating for personal care.
2. Birth Preferences:
Your birth experience should be centered around your comfort and preferences. Your mom may have had a certain birth experience, but it doesn't mean you have to follow suit. Explore the possibilities of a birth plan that outlines your preferences for pain management, labor positions, interventions, and support systems. Collaborate with your healthcare provider to ensure your voice is heard and respected during the birthing process. If your mom wants to be part of the birth process (and if you want her present for it), it might be a good idea to have her come along to a prenatal visit so she knows what your goals and expectations are. If your mom is opinionated and more vocal than you’d like, have a serious conversation with her about how you’d like her to keep her opinions to herself as you and your partner navigate the birth process together.
3. Postpartum Support:
The postpartum period is a vulnerable time that requires ample support and care. Traditionally, new mothers often received help from family members, including their own mothers. However, in today's world, extended families may not always be readily available or able to provide the support needed. Consider alternative options such as hiring a postpartum doula, joining support groups, or seeking assistance from professional lactation consultants. Surrounding yourself with a supportive network tailored to your needs is crucial for your well-being during this transformative period (and you can find and register for all of the support professionals you want when you create a BeHerVillage registry). You might also find yourself in a position where you do have family and friends close by and readily available to help you navigate your postpartum experience, but you would prefer hiring support professionals– THAT’S OKAY TOO! This is your baby and postpartum experience, you get to make the final call on who is helping you navigate it.
4. Breastfeeding Choices:
Breastfeeding is a personal decision that should be made based on your comfort and circumstances. While breastfeeding may have been the norm in your family, it's important to remember that each mother's journey is unique. Whether you choose to breastfeed exclusively, supplement with formula, or opt for formula feeding, the key is to make an informed decision that works best for you and your baby. Seek guidance from trusted friends or family members, healthcare professionals and lactation consultants to ensure you have the necessary information and support to make the right choice for you and your baby.
5. Mental Health Support:
Recognizing and prioritizing mental health during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period is crucial. The cultural and societal expectations surrounding motherhood can often create unnecessary pressure and stress. Older generations might not have had the same access to the resources that are available today, so to them it might be hard to grasp the idea of going to therapy or a group and “airing out” struggles and worries. But, it's essential to prioritize your mental well-being and seek professional support if needed. Therapy, support groups, and online resources can provide a safe space to express your emotions, fears, and concerns without judgment.
Pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period are deeply personal experiences, and it's empowering to remember that you have choices. Just because something worked for your mom or previous generations doesn't mean it has to be the same for you. Embrace the diverse options available in pre and postnatal care and make decisions that align with your values, preferences, individual needs and budget. Consult with healthcare and support professionals, explore alternative models of care, and surround yourself with a network of friends and family that understands and respects your choices. Remember, this is your journey, and you have the power to create a path that feels right for you. Trust your instincts, listen to your body, and make decisions that prioritize your well-being and the well-being of your baby.
BeHerVillage is helping parents like you get the funds they need for the support they deserve! Are you having a baby and are looking for support? Create a registry for support today and get gifted funds directly into your bank account to pay for your support team. You deserve this.
Are you a birthworker who supports new moms? Use BeHerVillage to help your clients pay for your support. Create your free profile here and you can be the best baby shower gift a mom will ever get!