If you know ahead of time that you are going to birth by having a C-section, you can use this time to prepare emotionally, physically, and logistically. When you come home from the hospital you will not only be mastering the art of new parenting, but you’ll also be recovering from surgery. Here are some things you can ask your well-meaning family and friends to help out with so you can get started on the right foot.
- Ask them to share their experience. If you’ve had a friend or family member who has had a C-section, ask them what it was like so you can get the insider perspective. Be smart with who you ask though—the person who complains about everything is not the one to go to. Ask someone who is even-keel and who you trust to give it to you straight. Keep in mind, however, that everyone’s experience is unique.
- Include them in the preparations. If you know your C-section is next Friday, make it a girls’ weekend ahead of time to get massages, manis and pedis, and have time to just enjoy together. This is one of the benefits of knowing exactly when your baby will be born—the ability to prepare!
- Use them for childcare. If you’ve got little ones at home (including pets!), tap into your network so you can have some familiar faces with your kids and pets on the day you go into the hospital. Having someone you know and trust keeping things running at home can relieve so much stress during your hospital stay, which averages 3 to 4 days for C-section mamas.
- Tell them what to expect in the hospital. Most hospitals won’t allow visitors immediately after having a C-section. And some surgeries get delayed if Labor and Delivery is busy. Let your support team know it might be awhile before they get to meet your new baby—and it may even best for them to stay home until you call them.
- Let them know you need to recover. When they do come to visit in the hospital, ask them to keep it brief. This is because not only do you need to get to know your new baby, but you also need to heal from your surgery.
- Ask them to get your house ready. While you are in the hospital, ask your friends and family to stock your fridge and freezer (and get an ongoing meal train going for a few weeks or longer!), run the laundry, and clean the house. You might be embarrassed to ask, but those who love you want to help, and this is an amazing way to do it!
- Let them help you at home once you are discharged. If visitors want to stop by, keep a running list of things they can pitch in with (this is a great way to answer the, “So what can I do to help?” question everyone has for you). Have them watch the baby while you get a shower or nap, or fold your laundry while you nurse. Let them do the heavy lifting and driving you around while you are not yet able to.
- Don’t be shy about not answering the door. Post a sign that everyone in the house is resting so friends who decided to stop by don’t wake you all up with the doorbell. It is perfectly fine to be this direct – again, you are recovering and doing the new parenting thing all at once.
- Don’t let them guilt you. Sadly, some people still think delivering by C-section is the “easy” way out of having a baby. This could not be farther from the truth. If someone close to you starts bragging about their unmedicated vaginal delivery, don’t be shy about telling them that you definitely earned your stripes the day you had a C-section.
- Knowing you are going to have a C-section means you have a chance to get help lined up.
- Family and friends can make great babysitters, pet sitters, housecleaners and chauffeurs!
- Let your support team know that you might need to keep visits brief to allow for your recovery.