When I was making my postpartum plan, my mom insisted I needed AS MUCH care as the baby. I thought she was being dramatic and told her I could handle it. But she would not take no for an answer. After I had my swirl girl, she moved in for a month, and she and hubby watched me like a hawk while they cared for me.
My Postpartum Village
From little things like her taking me & my swollen feet for a pedicure, and hubby taking me shopping so I wouldn’t be so frustrated with my continually changing & aching body…to more significant things like her cooking every single meal, and hubby waking up with me at night so I wouldn’t feel alone when breastfeeding…they really supported me.
What I thought pre-baby was a lack of space ended up being a massive postpartum blessing. Mom urged me to take breaks from watching my swirl girl to sleep or do something I loved, and also encouraged hubby and me to spend time just us two. Hubby changed most diapers and held me no questions asked if I cried.
Having a baby is more than getting pregnant (which can be traumatic in itself). It’s losing 10 months of hormones in weeks, broken sleep, and having part of your identity shift with the realization that this babe is 100% DEPENDENT on you. It’s attempting to make a new normal while dealing with HUGE body changes like chunks of hair falling out to chaffed nipples to hobbling from labor tears, etc.
The friends who helped me out were those who did not overstay their welcome, who sent me gift cards for food, sent me texts every week checking in on me, who didn’t show up late if they were coming by, and who prayed.
My Postpartum Boundaries
I learned to set boundaries. When tired, I’d tell people and go upstairs. If someone upset me and I didn’t have the energy to say something without crying (baby blues is a real thing), hubby spoke for me. If I needed to breastfeed and didn’t want to in front of certain people, I asked them to go outside. I chose my baby and myself and fought the loud voice in my head that kept telling me I was difficult and selfish.
Counseling Can Be Highly Beneficial
I’ve also shared here before about the incredible healing that can come from counseling (I have a post on this). If you need someone to talk to, please look into counseling. Personally, I found excellent counseling through my church and felt spiritually guided as well as emotionally cared for.
I am thankful for my family, friends, church, and God, who exceptionally cared for me. I understand my privilege and blessings and strive to shower my new mom friends with the same care. If someone close to you just had a baby, please care for them. Yes, a baby is helpless and relies on mama. But mama needs people to rely on too.
Other Resources For New Moms
If you don’t have anyone near you to help you out postpartum, I recommend looking for postpartum care centers, online counseling, or joining online postnatal groups. These are all steadily increasing in popularity as more people understand the level of care new mommas need.
Allowed to seek help.