So, your baby has been born and you are getting discharged from the hospital today. You probably can’t wait to get settled in at home with your new baby and start acclimating to your new normal! You’re most likely feeling sore and more than a little tired, because-hello, you just had a baby and sleep has been hard to come by the last few days, between your new baby and the nurse rounds that always seem to happen when you finally manage to close your eyes. Luckily, you have so many friends and family members that offered to help you with errands and household chores during your recovery.
I bet you have gotten offers for laundry, meal prep, grocery shopping, maybe even dog walking! Your postpartum recovery is going to be so fantastic because your village is going to take care of you, right?
More often than not, what I observe with my postpartum friends, family and clients, is that when they get home from the hospital, ALL of those visitors that offered ALL of that help, come to your house, ask to hold your baby for ‘just a minute’, and then they sit down on the couch with your baby, and they stay there…FOREVER! They don’t do your dishes, or your laundry, or walk your fur baby-nope! They hog your baby, ask you ALL the questions about your delivery and then the next thing you know, you switch into hostess mode and start offering them snacks and beverages…wait, what?
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!
Here’s the thing, your friends and family did not come over to your house with the intention of hogging your baby and being entertained as your guest. But the combination of sweet baby snuggles and lack of direction leaves everyone waiting. They’re waiting for you to ask for help because they don’t want to offend you by just jumping in and doing your dishes (what if you think they’re judging you?). And you’re waiting for them to offer to help because it feels awkward and you don’t want them to think you only let them in the door because you’re out of clean plates. It is just awkward all around. But it shouldn’t be! If they offered to help you, they likely mean it!
The best way to overcome this is to have a plan. First step in the plan, know what you need done-keep a list handy of all the tasks that need done or that would help you the most. Step two, enlist partner, parent or even your postpartum doula to manage the help. They can set up a meal train, ask for help with errands or even create a sign-up genius. If you are someone that struggles to ask for help, social media can take the awkwardness out of it because you can put out a list of needs and let people jump in with what they are willing and able to do.
The important thing about this scenario is that you don’t have to do everything alone and you can, in fact, enjoy some pampering. And you deserve all of the cleaning, errand running and ready-to-go casseroles that people can bring you and you should not be afraid to reach out to those that have offered help and give them the opportunity to take care of you and your new family during those first few days or weeks.