The Postpartum period is a time of significant adjustment for the entire family. Here are some things you can do to help your family transition into this new season.
Protect her from naysayers. Again. Now that the baby is here, some people will continue to offer unsolicited advice. Again, if this is advice that’s genuinely helpful for you to make informed decisions from them that’s great – we can all learn something new. If it’s someone being meddlesome and judgmental, that’s the last thing she needs right now. Make sure they and she know that you are behind the parenting decisions you’ve made.
Learn and watch for the signs of postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis, postpartum OCD, and posttraumatic stress disorder. No matter what kind of birth she had or the state of her emotions before birth, these conditions can wreak havoc on her mind and body if they develop. Don’t doubt her ability as a mother, just educate yourself and become aware of the signs of these conditions, and know the difference between these signs and baby blues or sleep deprivation. If you see something that raises concern, continue to support her by getting help.
Let her process her birth. It is therapeutic for her to talk about her birth if she wants to. If her birth was how she wanted, let her celebrate that and let her appreciate that powerful experience. If she experienced birth trauma, let her talk about it. It may be uncomfortable for you to relive, but if she can talk about it to someone who won’t make her feel inadequate or judged, she will be more likely to move past it in a healthy manner.
Enjoy this experience with her too! Let her know that you’re excited to be a parent with her.
Help manage visitors. The new mom may not be comfortable asking for help but if you see that your fridge is empty and neither one of you has the time or energy to get to the store and make dinner, ask someone who wants to visit to bring over a nutritious meal. If you see that she’s getting burned with so many people visiting, suggest a pause – no more visitors until the next day, for example. These are simple things that can make a big difference for her.