We have our VERY FIRST GUEST POST, YA’LL. Today’s knowledge is being dropped by Morgan, resident mom to us new moms because she had a kid first AND THEN another one *scary ghost hands to face emoji* She’s the wise old soul that shows up at your house with pizza and alcohol to listen to how it’s really going. (She did that! For me!) I told her she could write about whatever she wanted because her well of advice is vast and deep, and she chose to address your dear, sweet partner. Maybe passive aggressively send your partner the link to this if it resonates with you!
Hello to the partner who did not physically birth the baby yourself; this one’s for you.
I want to start by acknowledging that your life has completely changed. Your experiences that come with this baby are difficult. Your feelings on this change are valid. But I also want you to know that the birthing person is experiencing those feelings and navigating those changes on hormonal steroids.
You both now serve at the pleasure of the baby. Mom is Chief of Staff and you’re a staff member. Because you’re probably a millennial, you want me to get to the “list.” I will cut off the 16 paragraph intro to the “best-chili-you’ve-ever-had!!” recipe here and get to it.
- Don’t make your partner ask for what she needs. Get used to looking for what she or the baby needs and just doing it.
That’s it. That’s the list.
To drive it home, here are a few suggestions:
- Is there a dirty bottle or pump parts somewhere? Clean them as this is now your JOB.
- Does baby need a diaper change? You’re on it.
- Is mom’s water bottle full? We become a dog in Pavlov’s experiment when it comes to nursing and needing our hospital-issued water bottle.
- Speaking of nursing the baby – is it taking an hour each time? Can you clean a bathroom or massage mom’s shoulders while they work that latch? If baby is bottle fed, can you do this feeding? (You can!)
- Did someone drop off a gift for baby yesterday? Write the thank you note and put it in the mail.
- Do you have a plan for dinner tonight? Start thawing the enchiladas your coworkers sent over BEFORE it’s 6 p.m. and everyone is starving.
But she won’t let me help!
Help anyway. There is a strong narrative out there that partners don’t always know how to help moms during this transition. Or baby only wants mom. Help anyway.
To be clear, mom may have legitimate postpartum anxiety. She may overbear, not allowing another to handle baby’s needs. Whether anecdotally in my own and friends’ experiences or scientifically speaking, postpartum syndromes are real and serious. The hormonal plummet that occurs in those first weeks is the subject of much research and has given rise to some amazing Instagram communities. Research shows 80% of mothers have some form of the baby blues (which in my opinion is an incredibly diminutive term). PPD and PPA are prevalent and warrant attention and conversation. In fact, it’s likely mom may need your help identifying and working through these conditions. But that’s an entirely different blog post. And if the above rings true, it’s all the more reason to start honing your ability to read the room. Take the initiative because you truly have the ability to make things a little easier on the people you love during this time.
Bonus Tip: Do not suggest that baby is hungry every time he fusses. Especially if his saint of a mother just got done feeding him 10 minutes ago.