From a medical/physical perspective, the postpartum period lasts 6 weeks. From a social/psychological perspective, it’s the first year of motherhood.

In our culture, families tend to get a lot of “attention” the first week or two after a baby is born. Visitors, helpers, meals, etc. Then everyone gets back into their normal routine and mom is left with a baby all on her own, especially after her partner returns to work.  She may feel overwhelmed, isolated (it’s hard to get out when a baby is nursing every 2 hours) have a ton of questions about what’s normal. Her relationship with her partner has changed. Perhaps these days alone with a baby are not what she expected. She’s probably tired- maybe exhausted.  Maybe breastfeeding is going well- maybe not. She can barely fit in time for a meal, let alone a shower or nap. How will she figure out laundry, meals, grocery shopping or cleaning? How can she figure out this baby? How can she keep her sanity?

Postpartum/new mom support group to the rescue! This is the place for new mamas and babies to meet, have honest discussions about what new mothering is like, normalize the emotions during this period, setting up expectations for both moms and partners. This is the place for a good cry. Loving support and encouragement. Discussions about changing relationships, frustrations with family expectations, discovering your “new” self as a new mom.

I encourage new moms to come as early as they can manage it- ideally by week 3 or 4.  I hear often that moms don’t come because “they didn’t get a shower”, or “the baby might cry”, or “I haven’t mastered public breastfeeding yet”, or “I’ll come when things get easier”. This group is for moms well before all that works out! You are welcome in your pajamas or yoga pants, with or without a shower, with a fussy baby. Don’t worry about public breastfeeding- we’re all mamas. This is the space for non-judgemental support, information, and encouragement. You might even make some wonderful friends.

There are several groups in the Austin area. My resources page has local listings. Many are free! Find a group and come on out! If you are on the north side of town, come and see me, every Wednesday at noon at Thrive Chiropractic. https://www.facebook.com/newmamahappyhour/

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Does a doula really make a difference?
Families report having a postpartum doula improved breastfeeding outcomes, increased their confidence as parents, helped them get better sleep, and improved their emotions, including reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.