Welcome to earthside, a practical and gentle guide to help you prepare for your new baby.

You can use this guide however you wish, you can follow it in the way it was written, just by scrolling down, watching the videos and making a postnatal plan as you go or if you’d prefer you can dip in and out of the separate parts by clicking on the buttons at the bottom, the choice is yours.

We’re going to start literally the moment your baby is earthside. You’ve just given birth and you’re holding your baby for the first time, whether this is straight away or a little while after, this is still your magical moment that you meet your sweet babe.

The first few hours with your baby will hopefully be some of the most magical moments of your life, meeting your little person for the first time and touching them and smelling them and breathing them in, all that gorgeous life altering good stuff...but there’s also likely to be a lot of other stuff going on as well which you might not be expecting.

Depending on how and where you’re giving birth, you may need stitches or you may be in theatre and even at very straightforward births, the placenta needs to come away and those precious early minutes can feel busier than you might expect.

Now expect is a big part of the reason I’m writing this all down for you. Expectations have a huge impact on us as mothers.

You may be planning to use hypnobirthing and have a water birth or you may be planning an elective c birth...but however you want to birth, it’s likely you’ll have a good idea of what it might look like in your head which is really wonderful and having a strong vision can help you bring your baby here on your terms. And sometimes birth does go just as we’d hoped but more commonly because of so many factors which can alter the birth space let alone what baby wants to do, it doesn’t and those expectations can leave you feeling really disappointed.

What you thought was going to happen, didn’t and now you’re living with an unsettled feeling about your birth.

I want you to know that YOU DID AMAZING. Whatever happened...you brought your beautiful baby earthside and that is birth. If you had a beautiful calm experience I’m so so happy for you and if you didn’t I’m so sorry things didn’t work out as you hoped. But I want you to give yourself a massive break and know there is no other version of your birth. Whatever you think about that might have happened, or could have happened, you did your best. At that moment, at that time, with what you knew then, you absolutely did your best because you’re a Mum and that’s what we do.

And I am a huge believer that baby’s choose their births...you can think I’m mad but I feel this deeply. You’re a team and babies come the way they need to come for reasons we don’t yet know so please, you don’t need to forgive yourself for anything. You did it and you’re incredible.

If you are dealing with feelings of trauma from your birth please seek help. It took me far too long to seek support following my first birth but there is lots of help out there. You can start off by going and chatting to your GP or a trusted midwife and they can signpost you on. There is also a couple of great websites for further info:

www.makebirthbetter.org

www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk

So however you’re coming into motherhood, this course is to support you in all the changes that are coming and to help you gently through them.

I hope you will find lots of practical tips to help you put together a postnatal plan and feel more prepared to meet your baby and of course lots of doula love as always

Jen

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