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How to prepare for birth and the period that comes after?

In this blog bost Evelina shares some of the insights she gained during her own journey into motherhood. In her beautiful shop BLOOM, I had a coffee and conversation with her in which she openly talked about her own experience of becoming a mum, while living in Stavanger.

Evelina was born in Romania, and she and her husband had already lived in various places around the world before new job opportunities brought them to Stavanger. When she was pregnant, Evelina didn’t speak Norwegian, was unfamiliar with the local maternity system and had only a couple of friends and family was far away. And on top of that, there was the Covid pandemic.

Becoming a parent is already a big life changer, that often comes with joys and challenges and those kinds of circumstances can make it extra hard. To support other women in a similar situation, Evelina is happy to share her most important lessons learned.

Document yourself

For Evelina the most important topics to inform yourself about when you are pregnant are Birth, Breastfeeding and Baby sleep. She really expected that she would give birth to her baby naturally, and she had not given serious thought to the possibility of a cesarean birth. She believes it would have helped her if she was better prepared for that, as now she feels somehow that her body has failed. The emotion still shows on her face when she is telling me this, more than 3 years after her daughter was born. It’s good to know your dream scenario for birth, but it is so important to also inform yourself about other scenarios, so you have realistic expectations.

Evelina also recommends expecting parents to find out how things work within the country and system you expect to give birth in. It really is not the same to give birth in for example Romania, The UK or Norway, so make sure you prepare yourself within the context of the local system.

For Evelina and her family, it turned out that co-sleeping worked best. She was very pleased that she had gathered information about this in advance, so she knew how to do this safely. ‘Probably you will end up co-sleeping at one point or another anyways, whether it is incidentally or structurally. You might not have the energy to find out about the do’s and don’ts at the moment you find yourself taking your baby with you in the bed.’ A good source of baby sleep information can be found here.  

Evelina was positively surprised about the great deal of support she received for breastfeeding. She had heard stories from Romania where babies were given formula straight after birth by the people working on the maternity ward. She was very pleased that she didn’t need to ‘fight’ for her right to breastfeed her baby but received help and encouragement instead. Here advice to new mothers is: 'If you feel that you need more help afterwards feel free to ask for a good lactation consultant from La Leche Ligue for example, that will guide you through your breastfeeding journey.  There is a lot of help here in Stavanger, both in the hospital and after you have gone home. So make sure you get that help if you feel you need it’. When I ask her if she had a satisfying feeding journey herself, she answers me with a big smile, that she has breastfed her daughter for 2 years and 9 months. Wow!

Food prepping

‘Okay, this is something that probably everyone knows, but I didn’t’, Evelina says laughing. ‘We did not think of it, but when the baby was born we realised it would have really been a good idea to have prepared and frozen meals.’ She really recommends doing some serious meal prepping while pregnant. Fill your freezer with loads of meals, so you have one thing less to worry about.

Build your network

Evelina thinks back to her maternity period as quite a lonely period. As a new mum, your world becomes so small. You are busy with your baby full time, and sometimes it feels a bit as if time stands still. But for the people around you, life goes on like normal. People go to their job, your friends continue their life as before, while you are spending your days with your baby. She recommends to new moms to go out with friends, go for walks if they feel like and talk to family and friends far away. A game changer for Evelina was when she met Andreea at the helsestasjon. Both originating from Romania, and with babies of the same age, they were an instant match. ‘You really need some peers around you, to go through this phase of life together’.

Filter all the advice you receive

She experienced how one receives a lot of (unasked) advice as a new parent. Her advice is to really filter what you take at heart. It helped Evelina to document herself. Also, discussing things with her life partner played a big role. On topics that felt important to them, they would read books or do a course. For example, they followed an on-line course in Romania about Baby-Led-Weaning. They decided that this was their preferred method of introducing solids to their daughter, and the knowledge they gained made them less sensitive to opinions from others.

Find something NOT baby related

As a last piece of advice, Evelina recommends finding some interesting books and podcasts to read and listen to during your maternity period that are not baby-related. Your whole world suddenly turns around your baby, and it is so pleasant to also get some other interesting input. Audio books are also great to listen to, as it might be hard to find the time to sit down with a book. This also helps to remember some things to talk about with your partner, other than talking about the baby all the time.

About Evelina

Evelina has a background in geology and has been working in the oil industry for about ten years. Now she is, together with her friend Andreaa that she met at the helsestasjon, owner of BLOOM concept store. Both online and in-store at Pedersgata they sell goods with a soul. Core values are sustainability, conscious living, slow fashion, and community building.

Through BLOOM they empower women-centered producers and artists by giving them space on their shelves. So we all can bloom!

Every woman has her own way to prepare for birth. What is yours? Topics like birth (physiological and cesarean), breastfeeding, the hospital setting in Stavanger and your options and choices are thoroughly covered in the birth preparation course of NatalWisdom. This course includes a Postpartum workbook full of ideas on how you can prepare for the first 6 weeks after birth. And yes that also includes the tip to fill up your freezer!



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