I wish I could say there are a ton of resources out there to support you postpartum, and that I’m farming them to supply you with the best ones here, but I’m not. Compared to birth and pregnancy information out there in the world, it is difficult (or at least it has been) to find equally as focused, comprehensive information that is devoted to postpartum healing. It’s usually a small section of the back of the book, or it focuses on breastfeeding and baby, or falls short in some other way. This is part of why I hear so much “nobody ever told me it would be like this” from new parents.
So in an effort to help you get the most out of what is available, I’m listing what I think is truly indispensable, plus a shameless plug for something I’ve created that fills some of the gap in postpartum education and resources.
This post contains affiliate links.
1. The Books
There are two books available that I believe are true treasures and will provide you with everything you need to know about what to expect and how to heal after birth. The first is “Natural Health After Birth: The Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness” by Aviva Romm. This book is intuitive, down-to-earth, and full of sage wisdom from a homebirth midwife and physician about every aspect of postpartum healing. Aviva really spells out some of the more nuanced changes that happen after your baby comes into your life, and, to be honest, this book transformed my expectations and was a treasure during those rough first weeks.
The second is a newer book and equally as valuable, called “The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother” by Heng Ou. This book covers a lot of what is discussed in Aviva’s book, but is presented in a completely different way. The book is gorgeous (for one), and is more like a cookbook with the added bonus of a postpartum education. It’s very sisterly in its approach, and the recipes are adaptable and, yes, extremely nourishing. Heng takes her experience coming from a family of traditional Chinese healers and infuses that guidance into this gem of a book. Bonus: This book makes a beautiful gift.
2. Support Groups
If you’re pregnant right now, chances are you may already be hooked up with a support group either online or in person. When I was getting ready to have my first, I was part of a Centering group through my midwife’s practice, as well as a “Due Date Club” in an online forum (like the one on Mothering.com). As a first time mama, these were HUGE in helping me feel less isolated and confused. I will say that involvement tapered off once baby arrived. If there’s one piece of advice I can give you, it’s to stick with it during those early weeks- you need that support you’ve developed perhaps even more once you’re actually trying to parent a baby and heal at the same time.
Another really important avenue of support are warm lines (like a hotline, but not designed for crisis situations). I haven’t ever personally used them, but always suggest to my clients to have a warm line number handy for those moments after birth where they feel like they’re slipping, or they’re hitting a rough patch. Postpartum is HARD! These resources exist for a reason, and you should never feel weird about using them. Check out the one at Postpartum International.
3. Comprehensive Planning
To be honest with you, the above resources were all I had available when I had my babies. I would love to be able to say that it was enough… but it wasn’t. I wished that I had someone that walked me through it all- every step of the first moments at home with baby, every herb that I should look into, all the belly-binding, placenta stuff, and “down-there” care. I wish I had someone tell me that talking to my family about needing help would be HARD, and give me tools on how to do it. Or someone that could give me the confidence to do all of these things myself.
I knew that some of this is what a postpartum doula did, but not only did I not have easy access to a bunch of choices for a postpartum doula, but I was concerned that as soon as they left, I’d just be on my own again. I wanted a toolkit, something I could open up and explore with pieces that all made sense and helped me do it my way, with me in charge. And of course there wasn’t anything like this available, so I got down and created it.
Bliss After Birth is the essential guide to creating a healing postpartum. It’s a 100% online course that delivers all of this and more through video lessons, worksheets, and special guidance from me. It hybridizes the top two resources- books and community- and provides a personalized approach to planning your recovery after birth.
Bliss After Birth is opening for enrollment soon... and to be the first to know about Early Bird Pricing and get in on everything I offer along the way, click here.
Now, I’d love to hear what resources you have discovered along your path- this post isn’t intended to be comprehensive, so I’m hoping that you’ll share your favorite helpful books, websites, and more in the comments below!