When I was pregnant with my daughter, like other moms, the baby registry was one of the most daunting tasks to complete. An entire industry profits on the fear and uncertainty of first time moms, who have anxiety about what they can expect and how they will manage motherhood. We are made to feel that the right product will make our transition to motherhood easier. We will rock motherhood, if we have that perfect stroller or the warmer to heat the wipes or the expensive nursery. What a scam!
Friends, who had their babies before I did, sent me their spreadsheets with products, links, reviews, costs, and their own research, a spreadsheet worthy of any company. There were pages and pages of products. The minimalist in me (read: clutter phobe) was selective but still ended up getting more than I needed.
There is a significant difference between what you think you need and what you get vs what you actually need and use once baby arrives. You also don't know what your baby will like or take to. For example, my daughter was not a fan of a swing we bought for her, which ended up taking up space and being a waste of time and money.
Our belief in the power of stuff is a response to our modern day existence, living in our nuclear families, away from wise elders, having been left to figure it all on our own, furiously googling in the middle of the night. Having stuff helps us feel control over an unpredictable situation. Truth is, after baby arrives, we realize how none of the stuff we have is going to give us the answers, answers to how to help calm baby or relieve gas or produce more milk to feed them.
I once did an exercise with a few of my classes, where I asked moms in their 4th trimester, what things would they take with them if they and their baby were on a deserted island. There was never a response that mentioned the latest gadget or tool to accompany them. What baby actually needs is very little- mom/milk supplier, some clothes, some blankets...and maybe coconut oil.
There are certainly items that make it easier or provide convenience, but what we really need our family and friends to gift us is Services. We need skilled people to help us in our motherhood journey by giving us a massage, or helping us with breastfeeding, curing our pelvic floor issues, helping us heal from childbirth, teaching us baby massage, providing us home cooked meals and more.
In a country where postpartum care and maternity leave are near absent, and we are living on our own, services are even more critical to support isolated mothers, where postpartum depression rates are high.
Our advice? Add Services to your registry along with things. Ask for gift certificates to providers. For moms of multiples, this is even more relevant, as you already have many of the things you might need.
Meet providers while you’re pregnant so you know who to call instead of figuring it out when baby arrives. Have a 4th trimester plan and dream team to turn to when those early days are rocking your world.
You’ll be so glad when your baby is fussy that you have a postpartum doula by your side instead of an $800 bassinet. After all, if a cardboard box for newborns is good enough for the Finnish, who have the lowest infant mortality rate, it has to be good enough for us.
There are a number of services that are built into postpartum care in other countries, such as 6 weeks of physical therapy in France for mom after delivery or daily massage in India for mom and baby for three months. There are many more practices we share in this segment of Mom Meets World that you might want to incorporate.
The top services you should consider, include:
If you are in the DC area and are interested in transitions to a service based registry (much like many honeymoon registries are doing), check out MommyHelper by Motherhood By Design.
Items and things won’t make you healthier or happier in your life as a mom, whereas holistic services can be the best way to prevent major illnesses and surgeries in you and baby, saving time, money, tears, sleepless nights and heartache. That, in itself, is worth the price.