I remember how I felt the first time I saw the positive pregnancy test. Joy, trepidation, excitement, terror, love, anxiety, surprise, overwhelm, and optimism, all washing over me in one crazy tidal wave, engulfing me in feelings.

Wrapped up in all of my feelings, I began to envision the experiences of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. They say that you become a parent as soon as you become pregnant, but that your partner becomes a parent the first time they lay eyes on the baby. And so I envisioned a bonded, safe, empowering birth–one that would connect me to my partner and connect my partner to our baby, starting our journey together as a family wrapped in love and joy. I imagined that bonding carrying over into our early weeks and months of parenthood, a blissful time of getting to know our new baby together, focusing on nothing but the awe of this brand new life we’ve created for ourselves. 

I suspect that many of us imagine this type of future when we find out we are pregnant, and that most of us do precious little to prepare the groundwork for that future to come to fruition. I certainly read lots of books about pregnancy, and a handful about parenting, but I was missing one crucial element that was necessary to achieve my vision…


You see, what most people don’t tell you about having a new baby is that life continues to happen around you. Time doesn’t stand still for 12 weeks so that you can hold your baby and establish a routine, set the stage for healthy sleep, develop a bond, figure out breastfeeding or get the right formula/bottle combination, and nurture your relationships with life partners, friends, and family.

Oh no. 

Life accelerates after baby. For the first few days, visitors drop by with food, hold the baby, bring a baby gift, share a cup of tea. But then. The visitors cease. The dishes accumulate. The laundry sits in the washer a few days and has to be run again. You are trying to figure out how to get your baby to consume enough calories to grow and all of a sudden you realize it has been four days since you got a shower, let alone put on makeup. You enter survival mode, living from one moment to the next, forgetting to put on your own oxygen mask first. And all of a sudden, your 12 weeks are up, you’re back to work, your nanny or daycare starts, and you realize that the only time in your life you will have this newborn is over.

It doesn’t have to be this way! Yes, it’s true, you only get one shot at this pregnancy, labor, and postpartum thing. But you can prepare for it! Often the misery in birth and postpartum is the huge gap between what you are envisioning and the resources you have to get there. So plan for it! Download our postpartum planning printable here.

Use our printable as a guide to make a plan and locate the BEST resources available before you are in crisis mode. You get ONE shot. Your family, your feelings, your vision…YOU deserve professional support.



About Kate Herzel

Kate Herzel is the co-owner of Heartland Doulas alongside Stacy Ash, and together with their combined 20 years of experience and 7 doulas, they help people have really amazing birth and postpartum experiences. In her spare time, Kate enjoys cooking with her kids, brewing beer with her husband, and entertaining for her friends.