Written by Monica Mattuissi. Originally published in Family Foundations in 2022.
Recently, when praying the Rosary, I was meditating on the second joyful mystery of the Visitation, when Mary makes a journey to visit her cousin Elizabeth. I was struck by Mary’s eagerness to visit her pregnant cousin Elizabeth, as any woman who has been pregnant can attest that traveling while pregnant is not a fun experience. Thinking about how difficult this journey probably was for Mary, I wondered what inspired her to make the trek. Like many women expecting a child, Mary needed community and support. She was excited upon hearing her cousin was expecting and Mary also wanted to share her news with a relative who would share her joy. Mary wanted to prepare with someone who would understand what was happening and what to expect. Mary and Elizabeth both needed support and comfort.
Two thousand years later, life is not much different for women who are expecting a child. Women still need to share the joy, excitement, and apprehensions about bringing a new life into this world. Thoughts, questions, and fears like, “Am I doing this right?” and “Is this normal?” are common to a woman’s postpartum experience no matter how many children she has had. Each pregnancy is different. Many expecting mothers do not have an Elizabeth or community to go to for answers to their questions and fears. Couple to Couple League and Fertility Science Institute (FSI) offer classes, resources and coaching to be Elizabeth for those who need us.
God’s design for pregnancy and childbirth includes our need for physical and mental preparation for this new child to join our families. Couples have nine months to get ready for the postpartum period. In most situations in life, success is greater when we are prepared. Many couples take our postpartum classes or coaching sessions after the baby is born because they have an immediate need. Over the past year, we have seen an increase in couples reaching out during their pregnancy, so they better understand how to practice NFP in the next stage of their fertility journey. Stress is inevitable with the wonderous addition of a new life. Gaining knowledge about postpartum challenges, charting, and breastfeeding can help mom and dad face the stress with confidence.
Postpartum Place: A Visitation for Our Time
A few years ago, Melissa Gorley, one of our FSI coaches and longtime CCL teacher, created an online resource center that would help women face the uncertainties and questions of the postpartum period. That is how Postpartum Place was born. It is a website with videos, podcasts and other resources for the postpartum season. The resources are grouped into the areas of self-care, caring for baby, nutrition and wellness. It also covers topics of marital intimacy and NFP. It contains vetted resources from experts as well as practical advice from experienced moms.
Referrals to resources are also available for the special considerations of postpartum depression, adverse pre and post natal diagnoses, and marital struggles, recognizing that postpartum can be a time marked with both tension and difficulties. There is always the option to contact a FSI coach to discuss personalized postpartum charting and nutrition self-help or another topic within the content areas of Postpartum Place.
Melissa and her fellow FSI coaches wanted to make Postpartum Place a practical tool for new moms to find peace and preparation for the different aspects of postpartum life. The self-care area highlights St. Gianna Molla’s quote: “The secret to happiness is to live moment by moment and thank God for all that he in his goodness sends to us day after day.” Her words echo one of the practical tips given in the self-care section of Postpartum Place- try to practice gratitude daily, even by journaling in some form. In the baby care area, contact details for a free one-on-one class or consultation with a certified lactation consultant are provided. Review clips from CCL’s Self-Paced Postpartum Class, and a “Cheat Sheet” of the Postpartum Rules, are provided in conjunction with the area of NFP and Marital Intimacy. Each area of content contains a variety of material. Like Mary and Elizabeth, women today need community during and after pregnancy. CCL’s Postpartum class, FSI coaching and Postpartum Place can provide couples with support and abundant resources from the comfort of your home and at a time that is convenient for you.
For more information about FSI’s postpartum place, visit fertilityscienceinstitute.org/postpartum-place/
For CCL classes for postpartum, visit ccli.org/postpartum/
For postpartum coaching sessions, visit fertilityscienceinstitute.com/coaching
About the Author: Monica has previously worked in the CCL Office and now works on various projects with CCL. She is studying for her Masters in Mental Health Counseling at Divine Mercy University. Monica loves flowers, the saints, journaling, going on walks, ice cream, and spending time with family and friends.