There is sometimes a loneliness that goes with motherhood. Until I became a mother I really didn’t understand this. I didn’t understand the shift that I would experience going from a coupled adult to a mother. Now I know. I am still surprised though at the moments when motherhood feels most lonely.
This past weekend I set about sharing my postpartum plans with my partner and parents. The conversations were great opportunities to discuss our expectations, reflect on what worked last time and problem-solve some sticky areas. As the time for postpartum planning winds down I find myself feeling nervous and excited about what the postpartum period will bring, and I am trying to settle into this waiting period with peace and anticipation.
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.
Today I want to talk about why it’s so challenging to leave the house, why it’s still important to get help now, and how you can get postpartum help, even without leaving the house. I know that you will leave the house again, and that things may be hard right now.
A theme that is central to becoming a parent is how to negotiate your relationship with your own parents. Especially in the early weeks after a baby is born it is often the grandparents who are providing the most support to the new parents. New parents need this support. It is so challenging to care for a newborn, recover from birth, and adjust to life as a parent. Grandparents can ease the transition immensely.