Why It’s Important to Accept Help Postpartum

Featured image: @shybut_chi

Dear Postpartum Mama,

Whether you just had your first baby or your fourth, can I just ask you to do something? Please accept help postpartum from your friends and family. And neighbors. Heck, if a distant acquaintance wants to drop off a meal, just smile and say thank you.

Accept help postpartum

Image: @bellebeastandbabies

Let me tell you why: you will be a better mama for it. And I know that’s what you want for the little life you just created. Your body just grew a human and then, one way or another, got that tiny human out. Do not, under any circumstances, underestimate what a miracle that is...or what a toll it took on your body.

If you just had your first baby, you literally don’t know what you don’t know. After I gave birth the first time, I could not believe how much I didn’t know...how many things no one talks about. I was physically exhausted but emotionally anxiety-ridden, so sleep was hard to come by. And our firstborn son was dubbed “colicky”, so the nights were...dark. Very, very dark. Even if you’ve read every parenting book written (and who has time for that?!), the feeling of a tiny life being fully dependent on YOU for survival can be utterly overwhelming.

Accept help postpartum

Image: @mackenziestorck

No matter where you find yourself after baby, it is so crucial to accept help postpartum. If you just had your second or third or fourth baby, let me tell you: you still need that support tribe. Although you might think you have a handle on this whole newborn thing now, every baby and every pregnancy is different. Maybe you’re suffering from postpartum depression now, but haven’t had that experience previously. Maybe feeding isn’t going the way you want it to, or the way it did last time. Maybe your newborn just doesn’t have the same temperament as your last baby. On top of that, you have toddlers, preschoolers, or even older children who still need your attention this time around. 

Just because you can handle everything on your own doesn’t mean you should. You need help. You need all the support you can get-- the simple next step is to accept help postpartum. All the meals, all the housekeeping, all the child care that your loved ones can possibly offer. Let someone else cuddle your little one while you shower or take a nap, and you’ll feel like a new woman. Let your bestie clean your house or tackle that laundry pile while you nurse your sweet babe.

Accept help postpartum

Image: @jemarqueshogue

You also need community. You need mamas coming alongside you, reminding you that you’ve got this. We simply were not built for the kind of isolation that so many of us live with. Don’t have a good support system yet? Please find one. Join a playgroup, a mommy and me class, or a church group. I get it – it's not easy. I’m an introvert, and notoriously suspicious of people who want to help me for no reason. I promise you: you’re worth it. And someday, not too long from now, you’ll remember how much these helpers saved your sanity, and you’ll do the same for another new mama, and you can share with her the importance of accepting help postpartum. And she will be blessed, too.

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