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You are not just having a baby, you are signing up for an immersive retreat.

I have prenatal meetings with all of my birth and postpartum clients. One of the first questions I ask is "Have you ever been to a work retreat or some sort of emotional/spiritual retreat (think yoga, meditation, etc)?". I go on to explain that this is what having a baby is like. At every retreat, there are a few common elements. It is immersive: you are doing this one specific thing for a dedicated amount of time. It pushes you; there are exercises or conditions that push beyond what you experience in your everyday life. You are there to learn and grow; the retreat has a purpose of teaching new things about the subject matter, yourself, the challenges you have, and helps develop new tools and strengths. Having a baby does all of these things and if you can look at the experience as if it is a retreat, you will be able to better accept, transition, learn and grow during your postpartum time.

Almost anyone who is expecting is told "having a baby is hard", "you wont get any sleep", and "you have no idea how much life is going to change". All of this is true but what if we could change our perspective and create a purpose and positive spin on these experiences by creating a postpartum retreat experience?

Instead of "having a baby is hard", what if we said "This is a huge challenge that requires support and learning."? We then get to set ourselves up with the who and what we need to meet the challenges and learn what is needed to navigate. This can look like making a postpartum plan that includes professionals: postpartum doula, therapist, meal service, dog walker, cleaner etc, and/or community support: friends and family. Being intentional about each person that you bring into your postpartum circle and what they will be responsible for will make everything go more smoothly.

Instead of "you wont get any sleep", what if we said "Getting sleep requires some adjustment and planning.". Many people have a hard time sleeping when the baby sleeps during the day because we are accustomed to sleep happening during specific hours and we consider daytime to be productivity time. The more we can let go of being productive and the more we can embrace sleep and rest as moving us towards a healthier experience for parents and baby, the easier it is to relax and nap around the clock. If we have a partner or someone else helping with baby, taking some time to plan out each 24 hour period so everyone gets time without baby to sleep soundly will mean everyone is way more rested than you would expect with a baby.

Instead of "you have no idea how much life is going to change", what if we said "This the the specific way my life changed after having a baby and this is what helped me make that transition."? We used to live in physically close communities where, from a young age, we witnessed pregnancy, birth and postpartum on a regular basis. By the time we were birthing and raising our own babies, we had a great understanding of the experience and how people changed during it. We now live more or less in our own bubble where we are rarely given an inside look into this experience before we are expecting our own children. As a society, we need to be more explicit and direct about what happens in the days and weeks after a baby is born both physically and emotionally. How our relationships change, how our viewpoints on core elements of our life shifts and how scary, exciting, sad, and intense those shifts can be.

I try to be as clear and real as possible with sharing my experience having three children as well as the shared experience of previous clients. I emphasize to expecting families that just because some elements are unpleasant or unexpected, it doesn't mean they have to be negative. If we can view each moment, change, and challenge as being an opportunity for learning and growth, we can shift our experience to be a more positive and helpful one.

Want to prepare for your postpartum retreat? Sign up here for a postpartum prep course.

Want to stay at our on sight Postpartum Retreat in Woodstock, NY? Click here to learn more.


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