Planning Pays Off - Putting the Pieces Together

Wrapping up with the final installment of Planning Pays Off - if you haven't already, please make sure you check out the complete series, starting here with the introduction to the fourth trimester. I've outlined a few areas where you can do some planning to make the most of your first days. The worksheets attached to each post help walk you through each topic in greater depth.

For those who are interested in learning more about how to prepare for your fourth trimester, you'll want to go check out the postpartum workshops I'll be offering at Root and Sprout this season, along with the amazing Amanda Hemm of Babysteps Postpartum Care. These classes are a steal, and you won't want to miss out. We'll touch on several of the Planning Pays Off topics, but in much greater detail, as well as ideas about how to prepare for your new life, new relationships, new learning. We'll cover newborn life - baby's first days, your first days, and what it all might look like.

Each time a baby is born, a new parent is born, too. It doesn't matter if it's your first baby or your fifth. Your life is transformed each and every time.

A few closing thoughts

- A little planning now goes a long way.

Any amount of planning you can do now takes something off your plate later. If you've followed along from the beginning, you'll have an idea of who you might expect/want to come visit during your first days, and you'll have a plan for managing company. You'll have brainstormed a list of meal ideas - either brought by guests, stashed in your freezer, or ingredients in the cupboard for an easy prep night. and you'll have a go-to shopping list for essentials. And you'll have a list of local resources at your fingertips, so if you find you need help, you've already got a place to start.

- Being a new parent can be equally amazing and overwhelming.

It's incredible that the range of human emotions can be so vast in one single instant. It's ok to be so in love with your baby and yet be overwhelmed by it all at the same moment. Reach out. Keep an open line of communication with your partner. Lean on your people. Surround yourself with those who will walk this journey with you. Hire a postpartum doula. Seek professional help if you need it. Postpartum mood disorders are real, and help is available. You owe it to yourself, to your baby, and to your family to get help to be the best version of you there is. You are never, ever alone.

- Believe in yourself.

This life is new for your baby, but it's also new for you. Honor the new you. Believe in the new you. You may not always know what you are doing, and that's ok. Do some research. Educate yourself. And trust your gut-feeling. You're a good, loving parent. You've got this.

Baby's hand gripping an adult hand in the foreground. Baby's blurred face is visible in the background.

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