Postpartum

The 6-Week Postpartum Check-Up: How to Maximize Your Postpartum Care

How to prepare for your postpartum exam. Do you need to go to your 6 week check up? How to know when you need more checkups after giving birth.

C is for Check-Up: The 6 week Postpartum Check Up at

Transcript from video:
Oh, hey, it’s time for another blog on the taboo ABCs of postpartum. C is for checkup, and we’re going to be talking about that usually only one postpartum checkup you get which is usually a 6 week check up (sometimes between 4-8 weeks). Now, for the record, I don’t think one checkup is sufficient at all. But we are going to talk about how to maximize that checkup. Also we discuss what to talk to your provider about and how to be your own best advocate.

If you’re new here, my name is Chelsea Skaggs. I am a postpartum coach and the founder of Postpartum Together. And we are freaking committed to making sure that the postpartum narrative changes so that women are more educated, normalized, supported and empowered in the postpartum season.

Now, reminder, postpartum is not just a few weeks. Postpartum is the year ish after baby. And postpartum is not just related to depression, postpartum is a season we all go through regardless of a diagnosis or not. So postpartum is the season after baby full of transitions that we all go through as birthing humans.

Related: Where do we learn about postpartum?

We Believe Women Deserve More Check Ups After Baby

A whole other tangent is that one postpartum checkup is not enough. The ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) recommend comprehensive follow-ups after having a baby. One appointment is not comprehensive follow up. However, we still have this issue of insurance and providers and the communication and honoring the postpartum season. We know that postpartum is a time that is often just kind of disregarded and pushed under the rug, and we’re not given full on comprehensive support. So we’re going to talk today about how to make that one 6 week check up appointment the best it possibly can be. We also discuss if and when you need to how to advocate for more appointments and more care for yourself.

Now, usually, this appointment happens between four and eight weeks. If you had a belly birth, you might have an earlier appointment. Depending on circumstances, it’s probably going to be somewhere between four and eight weeks. At this point, you’re still healing in a lot of ways. You are still living in a lot of a fog. This is kind of a survival mode.

I know from my own experience, and from some of my clients that when we go to that appointment, it’s hard to even know where to start what to ask. Chances are your provider is going to ask some questions, checking on you, but they may not address all the things that you actually need them to address in that appointment. It’s important that you come in proactively knowing what you need answers to and what you need checked on so that you can feel confident to leave that appointment and continue healing and continue growing as a new mom.

What to ask at your Postpartum 6-Week Check Up

So the first thing is that physical healing, right, they’re likely going to check your whether it’s a belly incision, whether it’s in the vaginal tearing and repair that is happening in that area. No matter how you gave birth, there is recovery, they’re probably going to check how your bleeding is- is it down to very minimal or has it stopped at this point? They’re going to check if everything is healing- scars are healing, how is that doing? If you’re still experiencing pain, this is a good time to bring that up like hey, I’m still feeling this way. Is there something that I should be concerned about? Do you know something I can do about it?

Related: Postpartum Plan Checklist

While we’re talking about physical healing, I want you to bring up your pelvic floor. This doesn’t always come up in appointments from a lot of my clients, we actually have to go out and self advocate for this. You carry the baby, right in this vicinity, resting on your pelvis. And regardless of if you gave vaginal or belly birth, you had a baby resting on your pelvis, affecting your organs, affecting the tissue in the muscle and everything that makes up your pelvic floor.

Asking about the Pelvic Floor at your 6-week checkup

In some countries, pelvic floor therapy is standard care for everyone after baby. Here in the US, we often have to either have a big problem we bring up or we have to advocate.
Hey, I know my body went through a lot of stress, I think that pelvic floor therapy would be beneficial for me.
Chances are, it would be beneficial for you. But we know that especially if you’re feeling:
-Bearing down weight called prolapse.
-Experiencing pain & incontinence.
-Once you’re ready to start having sex again, if that is painful and uncomfortable.
These are good times to talk about pelvic floor therapy.

Be that bridge, again, be your own best self advocate.

Related: What is the pelvic floor?

Ask about Mental Health at your Postpartum Check Up

Now, also at this appointment, you’re likely going to get a mental health screening, this is for postpartum depression. I’m going to tell you right now, it has some language in it that can be suggestive, and in my opinion, a little tricky. Some questions are like, I feel sad for no good reason. And you’re like, well, I don’t know everything in my life just changed. Is that a good reason? Or is that not a good reason? I don’t know who’s the judge of whether this is a good reason.

If you’re feeling off, don’t feel ashamed of how you need to answer those questions. And don’t feel like there’s not room to press into it more and ask your provider to talk more with you about your mental health.  Depression is not just feeling sad, it can be rage or other experiences.

It doesn’t have to be: “I can’t get out of bed.” It sometimes is, and that’s worth addressing, too. But know that in motherhood, you’re going to feel off, you’re going to feel different. But if you’re just really feeling like your day to day is compromised, bring that up. Don’t let that screening be where it stops. I passed screenings in situations where I likely needed more support. That phrasing like “for no good reason” really threw me off. Like my whole life just changed, and my vagina is falling apart, and I haven’t slept like that feels like a good reason. So talk more about that.

Mental Health and Birth Trauma

If you experienced birth trauma, it is important to consider how that could have impact you. It could impact your bond and your relationship with your baby, your relationship with your body, your confidence as a mom. So these are all important things to bring up in the 6 week check up. If you feel like you would benefit from therapy that’s okay, too. There’s no shame in that. Ask your provider if they have a maternal health therapists that they would recommend. Maybe it’s someone in the network.

Related: Postpartum Anxiety Story

Sex & Exercise After the 6-Week Check Up

I want you to make sure that you are talking about more than just your reengagement.  We think of this six weeks as like, check mark, you can have sex and exercise now. But you guys, it’s not that simple. You don’t have to start your same intense workouts right after baby and you don’t have to get back to sex in the same way right after baby. So don’t look at this as just like this green light means go full force, I’m healed. You are not healed at six weeks.

It takes intention and it takes getting back into things. So ask your provider, “What would be an appropriate way to get back into exercise? What would be an appropriate way to move back towards intimacy. Again, we want this to be a positive experience for you. Do not be afraid to ask more questions and go a little bit deeper. Your provider is probably going to also talk to you about family planning. Go into it knowing-what do you want? Know that you have a say and you can ask those questions about what are what are the risks, what are the benefits and find the best solution for you.

Purpose of the Postpartum 6-Week Check Up

I want you to feel like this checkup is about you and that you are worthy of the time and the space that it takes and that it is not rushed, that it is not blown off. If you need more appointments, make another appointment. Tell them that you need their support.

A lot of people think that postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar, like all of these things happen in the first few weeks. And that’s not always the case, it can have an onset at three or six or nine months.

And then your pelvic floor- if you are three months out, and you start to have sex again and it’s really painful, you need to talk to them about getting that pelvic floor therapy. If, you’re having incontinence, which means that you’re not holding your fluids in- peeing, pooping, farting without control, you can schedule that appointment and continue to talk about those things.

Be Your Own Best Advocate: Prepare for Postpartum and Maximize the 6 Week Check up

Don’t feel like your postpartum care has to be limited. We have to be our own best advocates. And that comes from understanding what to bring to the table advocating for our own best needs, and really using that time.

So I hope that this helps you to be more prepared for your postpartum checkup. Whether it’s coming up in a day a week, or you’re you know, just right now expecting or thinking about conceiving, know that this is a space where you deserve time, you deserve attention, and you deserve to have the resources and support.

Again, I am Chelsea Skaggs and the founder of Postpartum Together if you are pregnant girl, get my postpartum planning ecourse that is going to walk you through all the things you need to have prepared for an empowered and supported postpartum and life after baby. If you are you know already postpartum, Maybe you want to grab the postpartum sex Back in the Sack eCourse where we talk about the mental, the emotional, and the physical implications of intimacy again after baby. Maybe you need some extra support, some guidance, some tips, resources and empowerment, check out our postpartum together small groups.

Birth, Postpartum

C-Section Massage: Healing After Your Belly Birth

C-Section Scars and Why We Call it Belly Birth

Here at Postpartum Together, we have chosen to refer to vaginal birth and belly birth. Your C-Section Scar is a testament of your beautiful belly birth. Cesarean is a common name for the operation of birthing via incision in the abdomen and uterus. But, we find that referring to this as a c-section dilutes the majesty of any and all birthing. By saying “Belly Birth” we honor that you DID birth a child and you DID do a miraculous thing and celebrate it as it is- a birth.

Disclaimer: (I am not a medical provider. I am a mom, a researcher, a coach. My goal is to help you have the information so you can seek your medical provider if needed.) Disclaimer #2 This post may include affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission on sales made through links on this page.


csection scar massage taking care of your cesarean scar

What Happens After Belly Birth?

Following a belly birth, most women are instructed on how to watch for infection. We You are taught to ease back into activity, and what to do in those early days. However, many women have shared that they were not instructed to perform c-section scar massages on their belly incisions. I attended a postpartum class with Julie of Strong Body Strong Mama and noticed as she instructed a new mom who had delivered via belly birth on how to massage her scar. From that point, I did some research of my own. I talked with my own clients and audience, and have learned that many women are not instructed on how to care for their scar after birth.

Why Do you Need to Massage Your C-Section Scar?

Scars heal by new scar tissue developing and replacing the tissue that was there. When this new tissue develops, it does not grow in the same direction as the original. This means it needs to be retrained and moved to better align. Another issue that can happen with tissue regrowth is adhesions (scar tissue binding to the organs). These issues can cause problems and pain for moms months or years following birth. Some problems women may experience include, but are not limited to:

  • Back Pain

  • Limited mobility

  • Frequent urination

  • Painful Intercourse

RELATED: Sex After Baby: Am I Ready?

When and How to Massage Your C-Section Scar

You should wait until your doctor is able to confirm that your belly scar is healing properly before starting to massage. Oftentimes women get this clearance at their postpartum follow up appointment.

You will see in the video below, you want to start gently with your scar. Start around the scar and then make your way towards the incision scar as you are more comfortable. Massage it a few minutes each day. Your scar has a skin, muscle and organ layer and you will learn different levels of massage and techniques to work each level and help your tissue move freely in all directions.

As you watch below, will see different techniques in the video to show you how to massage and how to lift and roll your scar. Listen to how Sarah of Pelvic Floor and More explains each step, when and how to use the technique and tips for taking care of your scar after a belly birth.

RELATED: Constipation After Birth

Postpartum Recovery: C-Section Scars & The Pelvic Floor

When it comes to postpartum recovery, no matter how you birthed, women often are unsure of how to take care of their bodies. With so much attention on the baby, many women feel like there aren’t enough resources and checkups on her (I will ALWAYS say the one 6-week-check up is NOT enough!) Thankfully,there are resources available to you like Strong Body Strong Mama and Pelvic Floor and More. If there are other topics regarding postpartum that no one prepared you for or go unspoken, comment below or send me an email so we can get it on the blog!

Birth, Postpartum

Cramping After Birth? Here’s How to Handle Postpartum Involution

For a majority of your life, you’ve anticipated cramps. Menstrual cycle cramps you learned about in junior high health class and have experienced for years. In pregnancy, you’re prepared to have braxton hicks cramps and eventually the labor pains. Now that the baby is here, are you in the clear? Cramping after birth can be surprising.

One thing you may not know is that afterbirth cramps are also normal. If you’re like most women you’re wondering “why didn’t anyone tell me I’d have cramps after giving birth!” Whether you’re currently pregnant or finding this article because you’re experiencing afterbirth pains, I’m here to say yes, it sucks and yes, it will get better!

(Skip to the end if you’re just wondering what you can do to ease this pain!)

You can also listen to me open up about all things postpartum with Mama J on this episode of “January’s Podcast”

why am i having cramps still after i had my baby

This post may contain affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission from any purchases made from links on this page.

Why Do I Still Have Cramping After Birth?

Cramps after giving birth are called involution. This is the process of your uterus returning to normal size and is often marked by short, sharp pains. Throughout your pregnancy, your uterus grows around 25X its’ normal size. These cramps after giving birth are helping the uterus to shrink back down. While the process usually takes around 6 weeks, you likely won’t feel these pains for that long. As the days pass, the cramping will reduce and then subside.

Related: Delivering the Placenta

Why Do I Cramp More When Breastfeeding?

Involution (uterine cramps) are caused by the release of the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is released during breastfeeding which means the cramping is likely stronger during a nursing session. When you start breastfeeding, the oxytocin is released which triggers the uterine cramping. It’s definitely amazing how our bodies work like that (but that doesn’t make the pain any more enjoyable!)

breastfeeding makes me cramp after having my baby

The Cramping Is Usually Worse in Subsequent Pregnancies

Some of my clients shared that they didn’t notice these cramps much with their first, but they were surprised how strong they were with their second or third child (or beyond!) Most people agree that the afterbirth cramping increases with each postpartum and this is thought to be because of the uterine muscle tone. After the first, the uterine muscles are likely still strong and able to contract more efficiently. In each subsequent postpartum, it takes more effort for the uterine muscles to contract and, therefore, you may have more noticeable cramping.

How Do I Get Rid of Cramping After Birth?!

I wish I could tell you there is a magic pill you could take while doing a magic yoga move and chanting a magic phrase. If I told you that, though, I’d be lying.

When it comes to afterbirth cramping, there are ways to alleviate the pain, though.

  • Pain Relievers (Medicine): Whether you’re at the hospital or at home, you likely have access to OTC pain relief. Check with your provider on dosage if you are breastfeeding.

  • After Ease (Liquid Drops): If you prefer to avoid medication but still want relief, try a liquid drop like After Ease. After ease can be added to your water and is created for postpartum moms to find relief from cramping

  • Heating Pad: Whether it’s the break and heat pad from the hospital, a favorite heating pad from home, or a homemade rice sock, finding a way to put heat on the painful area can help minimize the pain you’re experiencing

  • Deep breathing: Remember that breathing practice you did for birth? It can come in handy again as you breathe through the cramping afterpains. Purposeful, focused breathing!

  • Pee/empty bladder: Don’t avoid urinating!

    RELATED: The First Pee After Birth

  • Belly binding: Belly Binding is a technique that includes wrapping the abdomen with cloth to provide support for healing. Some believe this helps the uterus contract and the pressure can be helpful in alleviating afterbirth pains

No Part of Postpartum Needs to Be Taboo: Even Cramping After Birth

If no one told you about after birth cramping, it can be shocking to realize that even after birth you may still feel contractions. Here at Postpartum Together we believe that NO PART of postpartum should be taboo and we are here to talk about it!

Want a safe space to talk about ALL THE THINGS life after baby? Need a judgement free community? Do you want to learn about the changes that have happened in you- mentally, physically, relationally, identity and more?

Postpartum Together has a number of small groups to help you navigate your transitions after birth. Get the details and secure your spot here.

motherhood, Postpartum

Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression? How to Figure Out What You Are Experiencing

How Long do The Baby Blues Last?

How do I know if my wife has depression or the baby blues

So you’ve recently had a baby and the emotions are setting in. Naturally, you’re feeling a lot of things and you might be wondering: “Am I experiencing the baby blues or postpartum depression?”Your life has changed drastically in a short amount of time and your body is also reacting. During pregnancy, your progesterone levels increase up to 200x their baseline levels and when you deliver your placenta, that progesterone is leaving the body causing a steep drop. Sounds a little bit like a roller coaster, right? So if you’re emotionally feeling like a roller coaster, this is probably why and you are not the only one.

How can you tell if what you are experiencing is a “natural” part of the transition of baby from inside to outside of your body and the drastic change in hormones that brings? How can you tell if you need to seek outside help or if this will subside on its own?

What Contributes to Postpartum Mental Wellness?

As mentioned above, there are natural swings in hormone levels when you are pregnant, during birth and after. Your body is changing along with the needs of a growing baby and the transition from inside the body to outside the body. Additionally, starting the process of breast milk production causes hormone fluctuation whether you decide to breastfeed or not. Late in pregnancy, many women struggle to sleep and when the baby arrives, many women experience ongoing sleep deprivation. This lack of sleep can make it harder for hormone levels and emotional responses to return to a baseline level as the brain and body do not experience restorative rest. This means it can take weeks and even months to stabilize.

RELATED: How long is postpartum?

What is Baby Blues?

-Typically within first 1-2 weeks after birth

-Sadness

-Crying

-Irritability

-Trouble Sleeping

-Can see feelings objectively

With baby blues, women can identify that this is temporary and marked by things like lack of sleep, big transitions and hormone shifts. The mom with baby blues recognizes that this is difficult, but knows it will pass and can see things objectively. She feels these things but does not feel that they are all-consuming.

Related: What are the Baby Blues (Zulily contribution)

chart shows difference between postpartum depression and baby blues

What is Postpartum Depression?

-Hopelessness

-Helplessness

-Ongoing crying

-Brain fog

-Rage

-Lack of interest in people or things

-Withdraw

-Difficulty bonding

-Intrusive thoughts (thoughts of harm to self or baby)

The mom who is experiencing postpartum depression will see symptoms beyond the first two weeks. Symptoms may onset after delivery to up to 1 year postpartum. This mom might feel that there is no end to the negative emotions. She feels withdrawn and not interested in people or things she was previously interested in. She may not be able to “find” or recognize herself in the midst of all of the emotions. This mom may have rage she cannot control. In some cases, this mom believes the baby would be better off without her and she struggles with intrusive thoughts of harm.

RELATED: Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Stories

PPD Risk Factors

While there are no guarantees about who will and who will not experience PPD, there are some risk factors that increase your likelihood.

Women who:

-Have a history of mental health disorders

-With a mother/father/grandparent/sibling with a history of a mental health disorder

-Pregnancy, birth, or postpartum medical complications-Mothers with baby in the NICU

-Mothers of baby with colic or medical complexity

-Women with little family/friend/community support

If you are pregnant and know that you are at risk for PPD, Burd Therapy’s Preventing PPD course may be the tool you need.

Everyone Deserves Postpartum Support

Whether you are struggling with baby blues, postpartum depression, or just going through the transition into motherhood, you deserve support and there is no shame in not having it “all together.” No one really has it all together, even if it appears that way on the outside. If you believe you may be struggling with PPD, contact your provider- either your OB or your Primary Care Provider, and tell her how you’re feeling. If possible, find a therapist  who can provide you with a safe space to talk about your transition and feelings. Share your experience with those who are close to you and care about you- many people want to be helpful and supportive and there is no reward for doing it all yourself.

Whether it is medication, therapy, a holistic approach to navigating this new stage, know that help is available and help doesn’t make you weak. As a medication-taking, therapy- going, yoga loving mom who loses her mind without these tools and resources… you’re in good company and no one wins a trophy for not needing help.

RELATED: Postpartum Resources for any mom

Postpartum

Your Pelvic Floor After Having a Baby

WHAT IS THE PELVIC FLOOR?


pelvic model

If you would have asked me 4 years ago what the pelvic floor is, I probably would have told you it’s the back room in a club where shady dancing happens. After my first child, I remember peeing myself a little when I was working out, and honestly, I just thought that was my forever because #motherhood.

During my second pregnancy, I started working with a trainer who specialized in pregnancy and postpartum and she started teaching me about the muscles that hold everything together. Little did I know, it is so much more than kegels.

According to the Continence Foundation of Australia, “The floor of the pelvis is made up of layers of muscle and other tissues. These layers stretch like a hammock from the tailbone at the back, to the pubic bone in front. A woman’s pelvic floor muscles support her bladder, womb (uterus) and bowel (colon). The urine tube (front passage), the vagina and the back passage all pass through the pelvic floor muscles. Your pelvic floor muscles help you to control your bladder and bowel. They also help sexual function. It is vital to keep your pelvic floor muscles strong.”

RELATED: Back in the Sack:Guide to Postpartum Sex

Supporting my bladder, womb and bowel?
Helping sexual function?
Sounds like an important part of the body.

It’s kind of a disgrace that we don’t really learn about this in sex ed. Or anatomy. Or the OB office or… anywhere unless we actively seek it out.

BODY CHANGES IN PREGNANCY AND BIRTH

During pregnancy and childbirth, a baby is bearing down on your pelvis which impacts the tissue and muscles. Whether you deliver vaginally or have a cesarean birth, you experience a change. This function is also closely tied to your abdomen which often experiences separation during pregnancy and postpartum, adding to issues such as incontinence. As you carry and deliver a baby, there are a number of shifts- these shifts cause the muscles and tissue to adapt through the changes.

RELATED: Where We Learn About Postpartum

woman prepares pelvic floor by kegels

WHEN DO YOU NEED PELVIC FLOOR THERAPY?

If you’re experiencing painful sex, a heavy weight feeling in your pelvic area, or are experiencing urinary or bowel incontinence, it’s a good idea to seek out physical or occupational therapy. If you’re feeling out of touch with your body after giving birth, you may benefit from pelvic floor PT. Many professionals recommend that all mothers get some level of PT after giving birth, regardless of red flags, because of all of the changes and impact on that area during pregnancy and childbirth. In countries such as France, this therapy is standard care after birth for every mother. While many women are thinking about weight loss and outward appearance after baby, there is much more and by actually addressing the internal, you set yourself up for a stronger, connected body.

ARE KEGELS ENOUGH TO FIX MY PELVIC FLOOR?

The pelvic floor is so much more than kegels. I’ve been doing kegels for as long as I can remember and when I went to PT, she told me I needed to RELAX my pelvic muscles. Everything was holding tension and not being able to relax my floor muscles was contributing to painful sex and bladder issues. Come to find out, I hold stress in my shoulders, hips and my pelvic floor. Kegels can be a great part of strengthening and healing IF that is what you need. Seeing a pelvic floor therapist allows them to examine your muscles and tissue and give you insight as to what will help it best function.

After seeing my therapist for 3 months, I “graduated” with exercises to do at home and then started using the Perefit Kegel exerciser to gamify my exercises- it helps you to both contract and relax the muscles and helps you to build endurance. And honestly, kegels are more fun when you’re collecting stars.

Are you looking for a virtual way to learn about proper postpartum exercise? Check out the 6 week course from Strong Body Strong Mama Fourth Trimester Restore (and tell her Chelsea sent you!)

WHAT DO THEY DO IN PELVIC FLOOR THERAPY?

Does the idea of having someone “evaluate” and help you “repair” that whole area, “down there” feel a little intimidating? I know. But let’s face it, if you’ve given birth you’ve already had someone else “down there” so giving it attention to improve its function doesn’t have to be scary.

There are different approaches to pelvic floor therapy. To get an accurate understanding of your function and needs, your therapist will most likely want to do an internal exam. (If you’re uncomfortable with this, there are ways to talk about your pain/function and provide ideas without an internal exam, however your assessment may not be as accurate and therefore your treatment may not be as effective.)

BIOFEEDBACK

Some pelvic floor therapists use biofeedback to gauge your function. With biofeedback, sensors and a computer monitor are used to show muscle activity and allows you to see what areas need attention.

DRY NEEDLING

Dry needling is a method of relieving tension that involves inserting a thin needle into the muscle tissue.

MANUAL MANIPULATION

Similar to dry needling, manual manipulation targets the release of muscle tissue but the therapist will use hands or another tool as opposed to needles.

STRENGTHENING EXERCISES

Your therapist will teach you exercises you can do in your therapy as well as at home to exercise your pelvic floor. This may emphasize contraction strengthening and endurance or relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles (or a combination.) While I highly recommend seeing a therapist who can help you with an individualized plan, you can also find resources online. Please find exercises from someone specifically trained in prenatal and postpartum care such as Strong Body Strong Mama.

CHAT WITH A PELVIC FLOOR EXPERT

Sarah from Pelvic Floor and More answers questions just like yours so that moms can understand their pelvic floor and be empowered to take care of it- from understanding to advocacy to practice. Listen in and learn- because you deserve to!

ARE YOU CURRENTLY PREGNANT AND NEED TO MAKE YOUR POSTPARTUM PLAN SO THAT YOU’RE PREPARED FOR THINGS LIKE THE PELVIC FLOOR AND MORE? GRAB MY FREE POSTPARTUM PLAN CHECKLIST TO GET YOU READY!


pelvic floor after baby pinterest.png

RELATED: What You Shouldn’t Say to New Moms

Providing free content is a priority at Postpartum Together. This page may contain affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, we may receive a commission for your purchase. Don’t worry, we only promote things we believe in because we love you!

Postpartum

Postpartum Resources to Support You in Life After Birth

HELP FOR EVERY POSTPARTUM WOMAN

Have you ever felt alone in your postpartum experience?
Ever wondered if anyone else feels the way you do?
Have you felt not like yourself?
Do you find yourself wishing you could just know that someone sees and understand you?
Are you wondering if there are postpartum resources that can help you in this season?

I get it, this season can fell lonely AF. But truth is, you’re not alone. There are resources to support you, whatever your postpartum needs are.

Medical Disclaimer: All information, content, and material on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.

Providing free content is a priority at Postpartum Together. This page may contain affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, we may receive a commission for your purchase. Don’t worry, we only promote things we believe in because we love you!

postpartum family help.jpg

Being a New Mom is Hard

It can be a struggle to find helpful postpartum resources. The American society seems to be obsessed with how quickly things can “return to normal” and make it look like transitions and changes are minimal with the addition of a new baby and a family dynamic shift. With quick google searches, you can find all the info about the baby, but all too often it feels like mom is overlooked.

We have resources, apps, classes, and more for pregnancy. We have childbirth classes and ways to practice breathing and visualization during labor and birth. These are great, but what about the hours, days, weeks, months, and years after birth? The postpartum stage is still elusive and unsupported in many ways.

Through conversations and surveys with hundreds of women, the sentiment is the same: Postpartum feels lonely, competitive, and confusing. Women are suffering in many ways because they don’t feel safe to have “imperfect” experiences. Women are suffering because there is growing pressure and not enough support.

RELATED: Where We Learn about Postpartum

FEELING ALONE AFTER BABY?

Momma- I want you to know you aren’t alone. Ever. No matter how it might feel. I want you to know the tears you cry aren’t shameful and the confusion you’re experiencing is okay. I want you to know that even in a society that fills your screen with images that look blissful and perfect, that isn’t the truth. You are already enough. It’s okay if you need more support- honestly, we all do, it’s just that it takes strength and bravery to step out and ask for it. You are strong and can reach out for help.

After my first baby, I didn’t know where to look for resources. I didn’t know where I could turn for a look at honest motherhood and postpartum. (This is why I’m so committed to keeping things real on my own Instagram– not curated beautiful squares.) Personally, I thought I had to fight like hell to have it all “put together” and I was so tired and worn from it.

I don’t want you to be that mom striving for an image that doesn’t bring peace and joy. I don’t want you to be wondering if there is something wrong with you. Never do I want you to feel alone in any struggle. This is why I’m sharing the resources I think EVERY postpartum woman needs to know about- resources for body image, mental health, emotional transitions, and more. Chances are, one (or more) of these resources can bring light to your life, and I want that for you, momma friend!

If we have missed a resource you know of, please let us know so we can add it to the list! We want this to be a comprehensive list that points mommas in the direction they need!

COURSES: PREPARING FOR POSTPARTUM

Preventing Postpartum Depression Course

Abby is a licensed psychotherapist and has been a maternal health professional for over 20 years. Through her work, she saw a need and knew that she had to do more to help. That is why the Prevent Postpartum Depression course was born.

Prevent Postpartum Depression is an online, self-paced course that was designed to help you prepare for a happy and healthy Fourth Trimester. In the course, you will learn the skills and strategies to prevent anxiety and depression during pregnancy and postpartum, in the fourth trimester and beyond.

Navigating Postpartum: An Essential Guide to Mom’s 4th Trimester & Beyond

After taking this program, you’ll have a better understanding of everything you physically, mentally, and emotionally experience during your own postpartum, and a peer support group to help you through every step so that you can navigate the way you’re feeling (whether it’s day 1 or year 1).

DAILY MINDFULNESS APP FOR MOMS

The Kite App

app for new moms -min.png

This app allows you to choose an area you want to focus on regarding mom life and gives you small, daily prompts, and tasks that are manageable during your busy day. Go at your own pace as you focus on topics such as sleep, stress management, relationships, mum guilt, and coping with the juggle- to name just a few.

You may have seen I have recently partnered with Kite to work on developing support kites specifically for postpartum mental health and for fathers. I am currently working on securing partnerships and funding- if you know corporations that may be interested in this, please let me know! 

POSTPARTUM EMPOWERMENT/SUPPORT GROUP COACHING

Postpartum Together

This group is not clinical or medical, but coach-led and created for the mom who wants a space to discuss the parts of postpartum that often go undiscussed and leave us feeling alone. The group addresses physical, mental, emotional, relational, and personal identity transitions in postpartum. This is the space for you to grow through this season of transitions.

Postpartum to Powerful

Group and individual sessions offered. Alternative and holistic approaches to Long Term Healing, Support, and Transformation Programs for Mothers who have experienced PMADs.

Postpartum Resources for Body Image

4th Trimester Bodies Project

This is a real-life look at the bodies of mothers. This project is aimed at normalizing the changed body and restoring pride in what a woman does through the process of pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

Girls Gone Strong

Girls Gone Strong emphasizes the necessary rest and recovery after childbirth. Their approach is nurturing to the new mom and includes taking the time needed instead of rushing back into exercise and diet. They speak to combat society pressures of the “bounce back” and give ways to reconnect with your body.

love my baby but i feel alone as a mom

Postpartum Resources for Maternal Mental Health

DARE Response App

This app was created with techniques and practices to help you overcome anxiety and panic attacks. The format is easy to follow, the guided practices are calming and empowering, and having it as an app on your phone means you can stop and recenter no matter where you are.

The Bloom Foundation

Located in New Jersey, the Bloom Foundation provides in-person support, however, there are amazing resources on their site anyone can benefit from. Their blog and survivor stories are incredibly insightful and normalizing and they have free downloadables to help you navigate your journey.

The Motherhood Center/Scary Mommy Collaboration

Sometimes we need to see other stories to realize we aren’t alone and we aren’t doing it wrong. This is a beautiful collaboration between a center in New York and Scary Mommy. These stories bring to light what we so often leave as taboo.

2020 Mom

A leader in closing gaps in maternal mental health care through education, advocacy, and collaboration. You can find resources, events to be involved in, advocacy opportunities, and more through this site.

Cherished Mom

Cherished Mom works to promote awareness and education for perinatal mental health and the importance of self-care to new moms, families, healthcare professionals, and the community. They provide free self-care boxes to new moms after they view a series of educational videos surrounding perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

Motherhood Sessions Podcast

This podcast from Dr. Alexandra Sacks, lets you “sit-in” on a therapy session. The conversation exchange between patient and doctor is extremely insightful.

Motherhood Understood

Real talk about postpartum- specifically related to postpartum mental health. Motherhood Understood is a commitment to women’s stories and destigmatizing mental health.

Postpartum Support International

PSI provides resources, directs you to where you can find help locally, and is a leading training agency for postpartum mental health. They have a helpline you can call and be connected to helpful resources. They also provide online support meetings.

Perinatal Psychiatry Programs

If you’re experiencing mental health symptoms and need intensive treatment, there are inpatient and outpatient programs across the country to serve your needs.

If you or someone you know is in crisis or thinking of suicide, get help quickly.

  • Call your doctor.

  • Contact 911 for emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room.

  • Call the toll-free 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889).

Are you currently pregnant and wondering how to prepare for postpartum? I took some of the work of your plate. Grab this Free Postpartum Plan Checklist to make sure you have your bases covered.

postpartum resources pinterest.png

RELATED: Postpartum Together Small Groups

Postpartum

Why We Need to Stop Postpartum Weight Loss Comments

MY POSTPARTUM JOURNEY IS MEASURED BY MORE THAN A SCALE

postpartum weight loss journey

“Wow- you’ve lost xx pounds. Way to go. You look great!”

Aside from giving me my stats and some small talk, this was what my nurse said to me at my postpartum checkup. I should be thrilled, right? Well actually, not. I have done nothing to focus on my postpartum weight loss weight loss and physical change in these 6 weeks (aside from pumping out milk every 3 hours so that my breasts don’t explode and sometimes skipping meals because I physically don’t have the hands to make something while juggling my toddler and newborn.) There are a lot of things, though, that I have worked really hard on… tears and intentionality… and really would feel great if you (she) could see those things.

There’s So much More than Postpartum Weight Loss

All of the struggles and tears and the joys and laughter are all too often quickly deduced to how our physical appearance is 6 weeks later:
-Surviving a NICU stay and learning more medical terms than I know possible
-Transitioning back to home and helping a 2-year-old adjust to a new sibling
-Waking all throughout the night and sometimes still finding a way to shower
Pumping milk and then feeding it to my baby to navigate through feeding issues
-Talking myself through hormonal surges and emotional breakdowns
-Making it to the store a couple of times with two kids in tow…

THESE are the things I am proud of. THESE are the things I’ve put mental and emotional and physical energy into. All of THESE are the victories of postpartum that I long to have recognized and celebrated. My weight? It’s another number created by mostly uncontrollable factors that doesn’t define much at all about my “success.”

Good Intentions: Bad Execution

The intentions of my nurse? They were most likely great- to compliment me. Make me feel good about myself. But at the moment and afterward, it just didn’t sit well with me.

This seems to be one of those societal norms that we follow because we don’t know what else to say, but by just following we continue to perpetuate. We continue to tell women, subliminally, that their postpartum “success” is measured by how quickly the scale changes.

We speak a message that through all the rough patches of being a mom, the way our body does or does not “bounce back” is a factor worth more focus than others. It seems people do it without even thinking- we make comments on how a new mom looks. You’ve most likely done it. I’ve done it. I will probably unintentionally do it again, but let’s recognize it. Let’s make a mental note to do better next time. Let’s think of ways together to shift the norm and give mothers more empowerment through things that are more important than stepping on a scale or getting back into “pre-pregnancy” jeans. Moms, we are SO MUCH MORE than that.

RELATED: Fourth Trimester Restore (eCourse for reconnecting with your postpartum body) mention Chelsea

postpartum weight loss journey

Making a Change to the Postpartum Narrative

Not sure where to start on complimenting and empowering a new mom and shifting the language we default to? Want to say something more meaningful than postpartum weight loss? I’m about to drop some ideas (crowdsourced from other new moms) below. After you read them, comment with your own additions on what has made you feel awesome as a postpartum woman. Let’s share even more ideas to give ourselves and others the tools to be apart of the shift in what it really means to be postpartum, to be a mom.

Things You CAN Say to New Moms

 “You’re doing a great job with this transition!”
“I can tell you’re a great mom!”
“I saw you patiently work with your child- that takes a lot of work! Good job!”
“Wow- you’ve made a lot of sacrifices for your kids. That’s inspiring!” (Could be that mom has to go dairy-free for breastfeeding, pump often, forgo activities for children’s health, sacrifice work or other outside things, go to work when it feels tough, etc. etc. etc.)
“Your body is nurturing a human!
“Wow! You were made for this!”
”You’re really rolling with the punches with stride.”
“You really prepared yourself for all of these transitions!”
“Look at you juggling kids and still getting ____ done. You’re a rockstar!”
“I know you’re forfeiting a lot of sleep these days- thanks for taking care of that baby!”

RELATED: Things You Need to Stop Saying to New Moms

There are hundreds of other phrases out there that we can add, but hopefully, this start will help you to think about how we can collectively honor women in this season without deducing her down to her postpartum body.

Tell us Your Ideas

Don’t forget to leave your ideas in the comments and share this with anyone you know who comes in contact with a new mom (okay, that’s probably everyone.)

Photo of the first time I went shopping postpartum. I bought jeans in a larger size than ever and it didn’t change a thing about me or my ability to be a mother to these two sweet babes.

don’t fit into my pants after having a baby

Want to be purposeful and prepared in postpartum? Grab this FREE Postpartum Planning Checklist and get started!