Accepting help in the early days of motherhood is okay
Taking care of your newborn is incredibly hard work. Add on top of that taking care of any other children, yourself and your partner and it is more than even superwoman can manage on her own.
Accepting help from others can sometimes be challenging, especially for those of us who like to do things on our own. Having a baby with someone can also make you incredibly dependent – emotionally, financially, and logistically – on them, and that is often an uncomfortable position to be in. However, help from other people, if it comes from a place of love and caring, can be an incredible blessing throughout the first few months of your baby’s life (and in the years to come).
Friends and Family
You can definitely call upon friends and family to help you out during this time. While you are busy holding and feeding your baby, they can cook for you, do the dishes, look after any older siblings or clean the house. They can also hold the baby for you while you shower, nap or just have a few moments to yourself. Don’t feel bad about calling in a few favours – you can pay them back in a few months. Just about everyone is delighted to help out and be involved anyway.
While it’s great to have friends and family about, people can sometimes be less than helpful, even if they have the best of intentions. While that cute little 12-month-old outfit is nice, what you need right now is to use the toilet by yourself. During this time, it is okay to express specific needs. Ask people before they call round to bring you some food or nappies, or tell them that, once they get to your house, they will be called upon to wash the dishes or fetch things for you. This is not a time when you should have to worry about being nice. You don’t have to put up with friends who call round with a few cans while you try desperately to breastfeed your baby or put her to sleep. You can ask these friends – or get your partner to ask these friends – to leave. They can come back in a few months.
If you are part of a hospital’s Domino scheme, one of the midwives will do home visits with you throughout the first week postpartum. A public health nurse can also come to check in on you and your baby. If you feel like you would like some professional help with breastfeeding and infant care beyond that, you can contact a doula. Cuidiu is also an excellent resource for help with breastfeeding and support. You can ring their breastfeeding counsellors to get free advice at any time.
How did you cope in the early days of motherhood? Did you accept help or try to be super mom? Let us know in the comments.