This blog is a collaboration of real Mommy’s Bliss moms and dads based on our real experiences as parents who’ve been there.
Postpartum – Blissful. Ever-changing. Exhausting. It’s what binds all new moms together and it’s easier when you realize you’re not alone. From those who came before us and to those who’ll come next, the universal consensus is, this is amazing, and challenging, and it’s always ok to ask for help.
Baby has arrived! The wait is over. Blissful memories start now, right? Of course, but the real challenges often catch new moms off guard, and you may find that even with your best efforts, you have never needed an amazing support system more. The good news is…it’s mutual. Help is all around you and it’s good to have a postpartum plan in place before baby arrives and all best laid plans are lost in the sleepless, overwhelming, blissful first weeks. If you’re already a postpartum mom, it’s not too late to reach and put a plan in place. Let’s talk about this important step towards mom-designed peace of mind…
Postpartum - also, called “Matrescence”, a term coined by anthropologist, Dana Raphael in the 1970’s, postpartum describes the transition into motherhood much like the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Along with all the physical and psychological changes that come with the postpartum period comes a big need for help amidst so many changes. We typically consider the postpartum period to be the first year, but we truly are forever postpartum,” says Ashurina Ream, PsyD, PMH-C, a licensed clinical psychologist and perinatal mental health specialist. While this may sound daunting, it’s easier with a network, some expectations, and a tiny smile from your newborn bundle. Let’s tackle this challenging and blissful time together.
Every mom’s postpartum needs will be different. Some of you may need a big village while others may opt for a few people to lean on. Knowing what you need and who to lean on is priceless.
So first and foremost…don’t be shy to ask for help.
For starters, your postpartum network begins with your obstetric team…ob-gyn, midwife, nurses, or doulas - or specialists like lactation consultants, psychiatrists, social workers, or physical therapists. They’re all valuable resources and here to help with answers, tips, and visits.
Try to identify the areas where you think you’ll need help after baby is born. What tasks or activities are part of your daily routine now that may be a bit more challenging post-partum. Grocery shopping? Yard work? Cooking? Dog walking? Help with older children? A good chat session or walk? And…sleep!?
Make a list – even if something seems simple or insignificant, write it down.
Think of the people in your life who could best help with the tasks you’ve listed. Think partners, friends, family, neighbors or even co-workers. People likely don’t know what’s needed but are eager to help.
Think outside of just your inner circle. It’s important to throw out a large net including (see above) doulas, pediatricians, lactation consultants, support groups, nannies, mommy’s helpers or a housekeeper. A clean, organized household is invaluable when you are trying to acclimate to all the newness surrounding you.
If you’re on a budget, or don’t have family nearby, check your local next door or community job board for high school or college-aged helpers to run errands, walk the dog, or care for other children. Really anyone you trust can be part of your network because you design it.
Reach out to the support team you have in mind before baby arrives and ask them to help. As stated earlier, your village is likely yours for the asking and most friends or helpers just want to know what you need.
Prep. Prep. Prep. Think about the to-dos you can tackle now – while waiting for baby to arrive. Love to cook? Prepare some simple go-tos and freeze away. Take care of older children’s needs and appointments now, get your hair done, and, if possible, get pets to the vet if they’re due. Sneak as many naps as possible…stockpile rest.
If you’re not comfortable asking for help (it can feel hard) think about how you might respond if a friend or sister asked you. We know you’d do whatever it takes – and then some. It’s well worth it to reach out rather than feel overwhelmed and alone later.
Let’s hear more about what Mommy’s Bliss moms did to build their postpartum network. They’ve been there – and they can second the sentiment that help is well, really helpful. We see a theme…meal prep, fellow moms, partners, and of course, more food.
“I luckily didn’t have to ask for help. My Indian culture understands that help is a given. My mom came to help us out and my husband worked from home so I was never alone and could count on him to watch the baby if I needed to pump or shower. My parents stayed with us for three weeks and then my mother in-law took the next weeklong shift.
I couldn’t wait to help my fellow moms and the best advice a friend gave me was to tell me that the first 8 weeks are “miserably hard but will get better.” That helped set expectations for me so I knew it was all normal and the tough phase would pass.
I shared this insight and have also shared a list of things I did before my baby arrived. You got this!
- Stock up the freezer/fridge with meals.
- Say a big “yes” if anyone offers to bring food.
- Make sure your eyeglasses have the most current prescription as you won’t want to wear contacts for a while.
- Get your hair cut and colored before your due date.
- Schedule your newborn photo shoot (if that’s your plan) before you have your baby.
- Set up a Target/Amazon account with subscriptions like DoorDash, UberEats, and Instacart.
- Read about sleep training BEFORE the baby arrives. While you don’t need to sleep train right away, it’s important to learn baby’s cues so they don’t get overtired and cranky.
- -Get a night light for whatever room the baby is sleeping in.
Sindhu W. Mommy’s Bliss
“An exhausted Mommy’s Bliss mom (aka, me), hired a dog-walker, put together a feeding schedule with my husband to break up long nights, hired a local college-aged mommy’s helper to help with the older child and, reached out to my mom requesting a longer visit during those initial first few weeks. Mom said yes. And Mom-in-Law said yes too. Too much company proved to be an added stress, so I recommend spacing out the help so it’s helpful vs. stressful. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of mom friends. I found it easier to enlist one uber organized friend (we all have one) and honestly, before I could even blurt out my request, a meal train was organized. Meals were delivered by awesome families and the best part? They totally understood that I might not want company right now, so a series of delicious drop-offs ensued. So appreciated and oh-so helpful.”Jen L.
“My husband and I love to cook but we knew we’d be tired or unmotivated, so we cooked and froze to the tune of 100 breakfast burritos and breakfast sandwiches as well as lasagna, soup and other easy stuff. Friends sent homemade meals and DoorDash certificates which was very sweet as well. I still now make it a point to return the favor with easy-to-heat meals for my postpartum friends. I didn’t reach out to my family as much as I wished, in retrospect. I think it was all so new and we were caught up in finding our flow as a family, so I wasn’t sure where I needed support. If I ever have another baby, I will definitely reach out more and be bossier. Lol.
“Unfortunately, my husband and I lived a few hours from family, so it was just the two of us. Luckily, the first 2 months, he was home most days to help me, as I had an intense birth experience and was in quite a bit of pain and couldn’t move well for about a month. He did the housekeeping, cooking, cleaning, errands and of course, helped with the baby, but I did lack the emotional support I needed. It took about 8 weeks for me to physically feel ok to handle most daily responsibilities.”
“My wife and I rotated every other night to give the other a full night’s sleep. We also kept a strict schedule with our twins…if one woke up to eat, both ate. As they got older - even now - (just a little more lenient during summer ☺) we keep a schedule. This definitely helped with our personal sanity, provided a framework for the kids to thrive in, and more specifically, helped the boys manage through the challenges of autism. I love the idea of pre-making food. We did some of that but also leaned on Trader Joes (Trader Ming's is the best!)”
The theme is clear. Prepare for the unknown because it truly is. Prepping meals, thinking ahead, enlisting friends & family, getting your hair and nails done (yes, it matters), and basically checking as many “to-dos” off your list before the baby arrives will get you through. Your focus will become baby, baby, baby and everything else will fade away for a while. It’s all natural and remember, so many moms have been just where you are now. From all the mommies who’ve been through it, trust us when we say, the fog will lift, and your new postpartum life will come into blissful focus.
You’ve got this with a little (or a lot) of help from your friends.
This site is intended for informational purposes only and does not provide medical advice. Please consult your physician or other health-care professional.