When I found out, at thirteen-days gestation, that I was pregnant with my daughter I immediately started planning her nursery. My husband and I decided we would wait until she was born for a gender reveal, so I knew I’d have to pick gender-neutral colors.
Much like the colors you find in Doulas of Berks County’s logo!
I’m sure in the back of my head, I knew that the nursery was probably the least important thing to focus on as a newly pregnant woman, but at the time it seemed to me it was the one thing over which I had complete control. I also knew I had plenty of resources to help me in the planning and implementation, as I was surrounded by friends and family who were excited for me and eager to help.
But, how does the saying go? The best laid plans go awry!
Fast forward 8 months and I found myself alone, stenciling yellow and green teddy bears around the border of the nursery. Sweating, in the heat of June, and 40lbs heavier, I remember thinking, how in the world did this happen? This was the one thing I had control over and here I was dropping the ball. What kind of mother was I going to be if I couldn’t even get this right? And if her nursery wasn’t perfect, how would I ever be able to bring my baby home?
When I think back to that feeling, I am reminded of a quote from Drew Barrymore’s book Wildflower.
" I brought you home. The first drive was cliché worthy, surreal and fun. And when I brought you into this perfect room I build for you, with your father, it was as if no one else in the world was there. It was just you and me. And my concern with keeping you alive. This did not go away for the first three months. I wanted to control everything. I was up for days on end, eating and sleeping were just difficult because I was concerned about your sleep training and getting your bottle down and making sure you burped and that your room was dark...and don't get me started on the temperature of the room...I would stand there at the thermostat and tinker all day. It became like a bad sketch in a comedy show that wasn't even funny but more a study in the decline of ones' sanity."
Now as I postpartum doula, I know that while having a picture-perfect nursery for your baby is wonderful, there were other more significant ways in which I could have been preparing. I never once thought about how I would cope with the sleep loss, initiate a good breastfeeding relationship or what I would do if my daughters umbilical stump didn’t look right. I struggled a lot after she was born and we brought her home. Much like Drew, I was feeling an overwhelming sense of fear of the unknown. And I wanted to do everything just right. Having a postpartum doula by my side would have provided me with the support, facts, comfort and understanding to help me through those first few weeks. And with a doulas breastfeeding support, maybe I would have spent less time worrying and enjoyed more moments feeling empowered as I rocked my sweet baby girl in her new, beautiful nursery.