Since a couple months prior to my due date with baby #4, I’ve been working with a beautiful doula named Tanya from Nourished Beginnings who I hired to help support me during my initial postpartum period. Even though I’ve had three babies before, I am learning so much from her about leaning in to the postpartum period as a beautiful transitional phase for both me as a mother and for baby. She has blessed me with weekly visits since giving birth, providing a range of helpful offerings from cooking to massage to guided meditation and oh my goodness what a gift it has been. She has been a huge support for helping me create a peaceful postpartum experience and I am so grateful.
As part of my postpartum time, based on the goals and intentions I had set out with Tanya before I went into labour, I wanted to surround myself with positive messages to focus on during my baby’s first few months of life. I knew I needed to unlearn some of the ideas that I feel I was surrounded by after having my first three babies… things like “bounce back as quickly as you can” and “this phase is so hard/boring/exhausting.” It’s amazing what reframing situations can do, even if they are still challenging, you can look at them in a new light and feel completely different. I didn’t want to focus on the negative aspects of postpartum… the discomfort after labour, the sleepless nights, the sometimes tricky part of getting breastfeeding established… I wanted to focus on a more positive view of this special time.
I saw a few different sets of postpartum cards available after I searched online and, while they were beautiful and inspiring, I thought it actually would be quite meaningful for me to create some cards of my own using images from my baby’s first week and messages that I personally was finding especially important to remember.
In this post, I will share the cards I made after about a week of giving birth to our lovely daughter and what they mean to me. At the end of the post you can download them if you’d like to print them out. You may also be inspired to create your own though, with messages and images that mean something special to you! I simply used the free version of the Canva app to make mine. If you are unfamiliar with photo editing, I encourage you to give it a try! It can be a very rewarding, creative exercise and, once you get the hang of it, it’s really not that difficult.
Here are my 10 messages for a peaceful postpartum experience:
I respect and trust my intuition to know what I and my baby need. In this photo you can see the corner of my “night time basket” where I keep a water bottle, basic nappy changing supplies, snacks, medicine, socks, and other little items that may make my time resting in bed more comfortable. I also have a little tray table where my husband often left me snacks or warm cups of teas on days he had off work. I am being more mindful of my needs and not just ignoring them like I have gotten into a habit of during previous postpartum periods (thinking I needed to sacrifice all my own personal needs in order to focus on the baby!). Trusting myself feels key to trusting that I know what my baby needs, as well.
Being present fosters connection and contentment. I took this photo right after I noticed my daughter’s umbilical cord had fallen off. I remember thinking that even though we are not physically connected anymore, we are very much emotionally connected with a bond no less real or important than an umbilical cord. Being present is a gift to her and myself, so I can enjoy this fleeting newborn stage and also be fully there for her both physically and mentally.
I am worthy of support and care from others. I took this photo after we were gifted an amazing meal from a friend. I usually feel guilty when I receive help or gifts from others, however I want to remember that I am worthy of being supported just like my friends are worthy when I support them. It has been such a blessing to receive so many meals and baked treats from friends. This is the first time I’ve “asked” for support in this way from my community of friends by setting up an online meal train (which Tanya organised!), and it has been a huge help.
It feels good to sleep and snuggle as much as I want to. Gone are the days when I am able to go for days on end without sleep. At almost 40 years old, I’m embracing any time I have to snuggle with my little girl and/or to have a nap! I need sleep to function properly and I am being sure to grab the opportunities when they present themselves… and refusing to feel guilty about it!
Caring for myself allows me to care for my baby. I’ve found that getting up when my daughter first wakes up around 5am (before the other kids are awake) allows me to prepare my meals for the day and sometimes to get a shower in before the day runs away from me. Even though I’m tired from a night of waking up every few hours, I know that putting in a 10 to 15 minute block of time for meal prep will allow me to function better throughout the day. I’ve loved having meals in single serve bowls in the fridge so I can just pop one in the microwave when needed, but obviously I have to prepare these every few days with fresh food. Putting in the extra effort to care for myself is definitely giving me more stamina for caring for my newborn because I feel well nourished and energised.
I honour my experience giving birth to and growing my baby. I found with all of my children, it took me a few days (and sometimes weeks) to process my birth experience and to “let go” of all the physical as well as emotional challenges of pregnancy. I made this card to remind myself to look for the positives in my experience and to allow myself whatever emotions I need to feel in order to process this amazing yet challenging time in my life.
I love and show gratitude to my amazing body. What an incredible thing it is to grow a baby, right?! From actually growing the baby in my uterus to now breastfeeding, I want to remember how grateful I am for my body and give it the love and care it deserves. In the photo you can see an electric heat pack I got to help with the cramps after giving birth, it was so helpful!
Everyday moments of joy and wonder warm my heart. That newborn smell, the tiny fingers, the warm little body that scrunches up and stretches out in the most adorable ways… I’m taking time to cherish and breathe in these moments as much as possible. Just appreciating the moment reminds me what a blessing each day is, even if I am exhausted and sore from being up all night breastfeeding.
I embrace both physical and emotional rest and relaxation. I took this photo after Tanya had made me a yummy tea and offered abhyanga massage, on my one week anniversary of giving birth. It was a great reminder to me how certain intentional experiences can slide me right into rest mode, which I was aiming to be in for the first few weeks after giving birth especially. Remembering to spend time in purposeful relaxation has helped me foster a more peaceful mindset.
I prioritise my needs to be hydrated and nourished. It is so important – not only for supplying breast milk but for boosting my own physical and mental energy – to be well nourished and well hydrated. It’s a very basic thing that goes a long way in nurturing health during any phase in life, how much more so after growing a baby and giving birth. Tanya has helped me learn about foods that are especially nourishing during the postpartum time, and it has felt so good to be eating in a way that actively supports my body to thrive right now.
Where do you put inspiration cards?
I decided to keep mine all together on a display board in my bedroom, because that’s where my change table, nursing chair, bassinet etc is so we spend a lot of time there and I can read them often. I’ve seen other people spread cards out around the house though. You can blue tac them onto the bathroom mirror, above the kitchen sink, near the light switch, or any place you’ll see them regularly.
Download My Inspiration Cards for a Peaceful Postpartum Experience
These images are the standard 6×4 photo size so they can be printed as photographs. Please do not use them for digital purposes. To share with a friend, please send the link to this post (do not download the pictures and send them to anyone). These images are for personal use only.
What messages would you add if you were making your own cards? Do you have any other postpartum advice to share?
You may also enjoy…