Labor, delivery and postpartum are comparable to the apocalypse and I therefore affectionately describe this season of life as The Baby Apocalypse. In this post I will walk you, dear reader, through everything you need to know about how to survive the baby apocalypse. Let’s get started!
How to Survive “The Baby Apocalypse”
Well meaning people often say that “having a baby changes everything”. Well… they’re being too kind. A baby changes everything in the same way that an apocalypse changes the world we call home.
What many people don’t realize is that once you become a parent, the old you is gone. It has died. And in its place is a whole new person navigating a whole new world.
Everything will change. Your priorities. How you spend your time. Relationships. How you feel. How you see the future.
the complete final destruction of the world, especially as described in the biblical book of Revelation.
an event involving destruction or damage on an awesome or catastrophic scale.“a stock market apocalypse”
Get Your Head in the Game
The first ones to die in the apocalypse are the chronically unprepared and those unwilling to survive. Get your head out of the sand, put your big girl panties on and get ready to do what needs to be done.
If you find yourself saying things like…
“Women have been giving birth since forever, how hard could it be?” or
“We hope to have an unmedicated birth, but we’re just going to wing it.” or
“I was a great babysitter when I was a young adult. I will be a great parent.”
… you are living in the land of denial.
The baby apocalypse is coming, and time is running out. Get your head in the game and let’s get to work.
A great first step to becoming prepared for the baby apocalypse is to take a quality, out of hospital childbirth class. After that, hire a baby apocalypse advocate, aka doula, to walk you through the entire ordeal.
The next ones to die in the apocalypse are those frozen by fear. I’m not saying fear in and of itself is bad, but if fear is not motivating you to activate your resources and solve potential problems, but instead has you standing still, something needs to change.
When it comes to labor, delivery and postpartum what are you MOST afraid of? Spend some time digging into these questions. If left alone, these fears fester, grow bigger and can even impede the labor process.
And don’t worry, you’re not alone. Everyone has fears about birth and becoming a parent. I sure did! It is possible to give birth without fear. Trust me on this.
Pack a Go Bag
If you need to “bug out” and head to the hospital (or wherever) in a moment’s notice, particularly in the middle of the night, you will need a “but out bag”, a “72 hour kit” or more commonly known as a hospital bag for birth. Here are some suggestions for what to pack:
- A towel or waterproof pad (in case your water breaks while in the car… it happens!)
- Contraction Master APP
- A pillow with a colored pillowcase (so you know whose is whose)
- ID (driver’s license), credit card and all insurance information
- Cellphone and charger
For more ideas check out my post about what to pack in a hospital bag for birth.
If you knew you would have to fight a swarm of zombies in say, 9 months from now, do you think you would avoid the gym? Nope. There would likely be a line out the door and you would be highly motivated to move the body, building strength and endurance. It takes strength and endurance to fight zombies!
The same goes for childbirth and postpartum. Women need to be strong and be able to cope through the strains of pregnancy and the ordeal of childbirth.
In my experience, the mamas that stay fit throughout everything tend to have more endurance in labor and experience better postpartum recoveries. Talk with your care provider to develop a “fit mama plan” to keep your body healthy and strong. You can do it!
Here’s where preparing for the baby apocalypse gets fun. It’s time to go shopping!
The thing is, once baby comes it’ll be time to hunker down at home. Since it is more complicated and exhausting to go shopping with a new baby and it’s impossible to know when you’ll be able to regularly leave the house to pick up things at the store, it’s best to stock-up on everything before baby comes.
Confession: I have this irrational fear of running out of laundry detergent (and other soaps for that matter). This fear becomes worse when I am pregnant. Starting in early pregnancy I repeatedly snag good deals on laundry detergent so that by the time the baby apocalypse arrives I’m good on laundry detergent for oh… say the next year. I’m not exaggerating.
Having plenty of inexpensively bought laundry detergent on hand makes me feel less apprehensive about the upcoming baby apocalypse. We may be eaten by zombies but our postpartum clothes will be clean, darnit!
Soaps and Cleaners
Along with laundry detergent, make sure to stock-up on other soaps and cleaners.
- Hand soap
- Dish soap
- Dishwasher detergent
- All purpose cleaners
- Other miscellaneous cleaners you use regularly
Also, consider stockpiling toiletries.
- Bar soap
- Shower gel
Don’t forget the paper goods! Disposable everything after baby comes makes life so much simpler.
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Paper plates (don’t forget plastic cutlery!)
Vitamins, Medicines and Prescriptions
Finally, buy whatever vitamins, medicines and/or prescriptions regularly used by you and your family. It’s so much simpler to have everything on hand.
While you’re purchasing snacks for labor, considering stockpiling other non-perishable foods and snacks to be eaten during the baby apocalypse.
Especially if breastfeeding, you will likely be hungry ALL THE TIME and simple, one handed snacks are so helpful. Here are some ideas.
Another important part of the baby apocalypse is to have a game plan for postpartum meals. Some parents have a huge support system and receive homemade meals day after day for the first six weeks. Some parents eat takeout from their favorite restaurants. Other parents stock the freezer with ready to go meals. And some parents do a mixture of all three.
I suggest making a plan for food to come from all three places – friends and family, takeout and freezer meals.
If you are curious about freezer cooking for the baby apocalypse check out the following posts:
- Postpartum Freezer Meals for New Moms
- More Freezer Meals for New Moms
- Top 12 Freezer Meals for New Moms
- Easy Freezer Smoothie Packs
- Energy Bites for Pregnancy and Postpartum (these freeze amazingly well)
- The Best Broccoli Chicken and Rice Casserole for New Moms
Another way to prepare for the baby apocalypse is to become more self-reliant. Many women, especially first time moms, have unhealthy expectations of their care provider. They expect their doctor or midwife to save them from their experience.
Here’s the scenario:
A first time mom labors at home for a few hours. Her contractions become regular, strong and are about 4-5 minutes apart. Between contractions she seems like her normal self and can carry on a conversation, but during contractions all of her attention is required to maintain her deep slow breathing, which is working for her. Since it seems difficult, and obvious that she’s in labor, she heads to the hospital to have a baby.
In triage she receives a vaginal exam and is told she’s 3, maybe 4 cm dilated. Because of the intensity of the contractions that she is feeling, she is shocked that she is not further along. She quickly jumps ahead in her mind and thinks that if birth is this intense at 3 to 4 cm, there’s no way she can do this all the way to 10 cm. And then be expected to push out a baby! She begins to panic and looks for a way out, someone to save her.
When a women finds herself in this situation, instead of looking to herself and her resources, she looks for someone (likely her nurse or other care provider) to save her from her experience.
What she has failed to realize that there is no way to save her – no matter what ends up happening. This is something she has to do – whether a natural birth, medicated or a cesarean.
Check out my post 7 Mistakes First Time Moms Make Before and During Labor for more details and solutions on becoming self-reliant before the baby apocalypse strikes.
Another way to become more self-reliant is to take a breastfeeding class. Check this one out!
Choose Your Team
Yes, it’s important to learn self-reliance, but at the same time, if you’ve ever watched any post-apocalyptic films you see that nobody survives by themselves. To survive the baby apocalypse you will need to cherry pick the people who will battle with you through everything – labor, delivery and postpartum.
Choose your birth team as if your life
For example, did you know that the biggest risk factor for a cesarean birth may in fact actually be based on where you give birth rather than you? Choose a care provider that has privileges in the hospital that makes most sense for you and your birth.
A fun exercise to learn and practice prenatally is the B.R.A.I.N. acronym. Use this as a test to determine the strength and quality of the relationship between you and your care provider. Pay attention to any red flags during this experiment. If necessary, change care providers. You and your baby’s (first and only) birth are worth it!
Shoot Aunt Sally
Just for a moment, imagine that it’s the big day. You’ve given birth, labor and delivery are behind you, and baby makes three. You are home alone with this new little person who has forever altered your entire world.
Welcome to the baby apocalypse.
At this point many parents’ well-meaning friends and family members descend upon this post-apocalyptic home to “help out”. This is typically a good thing, but sometimes it’s not. Sometimes Aunt Sally has become bitten, infected and therefore needs to be killed.
In a post apocalyptic setting the strong abled individuals take turns keeping watch all hours of the day. They keep the rest of the group safe while they do what needs to be done – rest, eat, drink, heal, etc. The gatekeeper’s job is to protect the healthy and innocent no matter the cost – even if it means shooting someone in their group that previously has been healthy but has now been infected. It may become necessary to shoot Aunt Sally to keep the rest of the group safe and healthy.
Of course, nobody wants to shoot Aunt Sally. We love Aunt Sally! The best way to avoid having to shoot Aunt Sally is to first discuss with your partner ahead of time postpartum expectations and potential stressors. Brainstorm all possible solutions and come up with a “postpartum adjustment plan”.
If Aunt Sally isn’t on the list of approved helpers, pregnancy is the time to discuss these expectations with her and possibly assign her a more helpful task or role. Establishing boundaries with friends and family ahead of time is much simpler than tackling these problems during the baby apocalypse. Consider this prenatal boundary setting a “target practice” of sorts.
However, if Aunt Sally shows up during the baby apocalypse and won’t take no for an answer, the appointed “gatekeeper” needs to shoot to kill.
Get a Baby Carrier
There are many baby gadgets and gismos that make life with baby simpler. And then there’s baby gear that is absolutely not necessary. But one piece of baby gear is mandatory during the baby apocalypse – a baby carrier.
With a baby carrier, not only will your hands be free to accomplish daily tasks, but babies, especially little babies, love it.
My favorite baby carrier for the first three months is a wrap. Yes, there’s a little bit of a learning curve to getting it on, but once you do it a few times, it’s rather quite simple.
Babies love it because it’s comfortable on their bodies, they feel safe and warm, but best of all a wrap distributes the weight evenly on mom’s body so that it’s comfortable for her as well.
TIP: Choose a wrap that looks good on you, not necessarily a gender specific color. Think of baby carriers as an accessory for mom, not baby.
Own Your Battle Scars
In a post-apocalyiptic community nobody bats an eye at the one eyed/legged/armed man, and yet there’s this strange double standard for women who have given birth. Ladies, you have been through an ordeal. It is unreasonable to expect your body to “bounce back”. Nobody goes through the apocalypse or birth unscathed. You will be forever changed. Skin and scars may shrink and fade, but you’ll never be the old you. That person is gone.
And I say OWN IT. Own your battle scars because as they are a badge of honor. It is an honorable thing to be the giver and bearer of new life. It’s an incredible miracle and a humbling venture.
Stop trying to “bounce back” but instead just keep it real. You are a different person with a different body. What an honor! Own your battle scars because you are a birth warrior!
(Below is a picture of my postpartum belly not long after I gave birth. You can still see my belly henna!)
Find Other Survivors
Finally, on this list of how to survive the baby apocalypse the final task is to venture out and find other survivors. This is an important task for many reasons.
- Isolation is desolation. Nothing good happens when people isolate themselves from others, especially during the baby apocalypse.
- Part of the journey to becoming a parents is to learn how to ask for help. You can only ask for help if you leave the bunker.
- Often when on our own we believe the lie that we are a terrible parent and doing it “all wrong”. With access to a community of other survivors you’ll find that other parents feel the same way. It’s so encouraging to know you’re not alone!
Some activités to consider are a breastfeeding support group, mommy and baby yoga, hanging out with your fellow childbirth class parents and story time at the library. Poll some seasoned mothers in your area to find out more options.
How to Survive “The Baby Apocalypse”
Labor, delivery and postpartum are comparable to the apocalypse. I affectionately describe this season of life as the baby apocalypse. Just to recap, here are ways to rock the baby apocalypse like a boss.
- Get Your Head in the Game
- Eliminate Fear
- Pack a Go Bag
- Get Fit
- Stockpile Rations
- Become Self-Reliant
- Choose Your Team
- Shoot Aunt Sally
- Get a Baby Carrier
- Own Your Battle Scars
- Find Other Survivors
If you read this entire post you are well on your baby to not only surviving, but thriving in the baby apocalypse. You got this mamas!