There’s no escaping it. The postpartum time period is hard. My postpartum adjustment this time around has been simultaneously challenging and lovely. Challenging are the moments when all three of our children need something and there are only two sets of adult hands to help. Challenging are the middle of the night wake-ups when I’m on my own to feed and change the baby’s diapers. And challenging is the baby’s struggle to learn to breastfeed and my tired back and shoulders from his need to be held almost constantly by me. Lovely are the moments of sibling bonding, the recent baby smiles and coos, and the slow days spent together as a family of five. Most lovely, however, and perhaps what has created space for me to appreciate all the good, has been the troop of postpartum helpers, both family and friends, that have gotten us through this first six weeks. I truthfully don’t want to imagine what this transition might have been like without even one of them.
I am grateful for our friend who came over in the middle of the night to be with our children as we headed to the hospital for a minor issue after our baby was born at home.
I am grateful to my mom, who spent a week with us immediately after he was born. She cooked, cleaned, did laundry, fed me meals in bed, ran errands, helped take care of our children, and kept me company while I healed and nursed our newborn. She gave me a full week to cocoon with my baby in our upstairs postpartum nest. And I’m grateful she made space in her life to come back a couple of weeks later when my husband and I were still feeling overwhelmed.
I am grateful to my father-in-law who spent a week with us after my mom was here. He cooked, cleaned, ran errands and helped take care of our children.
I am grateful to my mother-in-law who spent a week with us. She cleaned, snuggled the baby when I needed a break, and played with the older kids.
I am grateful to my sister who took time off from work, and sacrificed a weekend with her daughter and husband to come take care of us. She treated us to her amazing cooking, cleaned up after every delicious meal, snuggled the baby, and even did my hair and helped me feel presentable for my photo shoot (5 weeks postpartum!) as a contributing writer to the new Seacoast Moms’ Blog.
I am grateful to my stepfather who came and cooked, cleaned, and played with my kids.
I am grateful to the many friends who brought meals and gifts. We have been gifted so much food (maybe we should keep having babies just for the free food!) and it’s allowed us so much more time to bond as a family and has nourished us wonderfully.
I am grateful to my friends and colleagues who freely offered their expertise to help us with breastfeeding.
I am grateful to a friend who, after bringing us one meal and some gifts for our kids, sent me a text that said, “How are you, mama? What are your top 3 needs right now?” When I responded that I most needed sleep, fun things for the older kids to do, and prepared food, she invited my kids over and sent them home with another dinner for us.
Mamas, it really does take a village. I am in awe of how many beautiful people stepped up to support us during this time. And I just love how each person’s unique skills and gifts helped us in different ways. I am infinitely grateful to each one of them and I know that, while there have still been some bumps and bruises, our baby, our older children, and my partner and I were able to experience this major transition with as much joy and peace as possible.