"It takes a village to raise a child," they say, quite accurately. What they don't say, however, is that it takes a village to care for an exhausted, emotional, healing postpartum woman. (Because, once again, no one really cares about the physical or emotional wellbeing of women.) But despite the lack of an adage, there are some lovely individuals who, professionally or personally, will help a new mom during this difficult time. In turn, they shall become people postpartum moms fall in love with, generally platonically but who knows where all those hormones are going to lead you.
Hopefully, if you've just had a baby (congrats!) you have a good support network to help you out and your list will be far longer than the people I'm presenting here. Because, trust me, the bigger your support system the better. Sometimes new parents get a little cagey about help, though. They get nervous thinking that people are judging them or that they need to prove (to themselves and everyone else) that they can do this on their own. Don't be that person.
Seriously, no judgment if you lean this way, because I was absolutely that person for a little while. But get as much help as you can and don't worry about "what that says about you" or what other people might think. In the end, all it says about you is that you're a smart cookie who recognizes that it takes a village. Helping each other is exactly how humans evolved to be the species that conquered the world.
Here are just some of the people you can and should welcome into your postpartum life... to eventually love on a deeper and more profound level.
The Inventor Of Mesh Underwear
You will wonder how you've existed until now. You will weep at the idea that you will one day have to stop wearing them though, if you're smart, you will have stocked up on as many as you could get your hands on at the hospital.
No specially designed postpartum butt-and-crotch-wear can ever beat the comfortable breathability of standard-issue mesh hospital panties. Every single day, as you pull them up over your probably still puffy postpartum belly, you will whisper to the universe, "Thank you, mesh underwear inventor. I love you. I love you so much. You get me."
Amazon Delivery Person
Because you may have registered for a literal boatload of baby stuff, but there will inevitably be something you need that you don't have (and, even more inevitably, a closet full of crap you absolutely don't need or don't need yet). But are you going to leave your apartment to get any of those things? With a newborn? And a pad the size of a phone book still wedged between your thighs? I don't think so!
We live in the future now, and here in the future we order everything we need with Prime. As such, the delivery person is going to become well known to you and your household. You will begin to forget (in your postpartum chaos) that this is their job that they are paid to do. You will be so grateful it will begin to feel personal. Every time they arrive, holding yet another box of essential items, your gaze will become delightfully hazy and Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet" theme will play in the back of your mind.
Food Delivery Person
Cooking? You have neither the time nor the energy for that. But you do need to eat. (If you're breastfeeding, you have to eat more than you thought humanly possible at any other point in your life.) Delivery options are your friend. Your assorted collection of menus will become well-worn. The people there may even learn your order, which is half embarrassing and half endearing. When the food arrives, you will cherish and honor the person who brings it to you and, yes, they may likely develop a fondness for you as well.
Your Cell Phone
Your cell phone is basically your closest friend in the first few postpartum months. After all, you're going to be trapped under a baby a lot of the time and it will provide you with your only real connection to the outside world, which you will miss (only slightly less than you miss sleep).
So, like, is your phone technically a person? No, but any port in a storm, right? And your baby, no matter how sweet and adorable, is a damn hurricane.
Whoever Takes The Baby & Lets You Nap
The loved one who comes over to hold your finicky baby for a few hours so you can take a guilt-free nap? You want to kiss that person on the mouth in friendship. Sleep becomes a hot commodity to a new parent, and very quickly. You look at your child-free friends who can sleep until literally whenever they want in a mixture of wistful envy and jealous loathing... and that jealous loathing can only be ameliorated if they come watch your baby so you can steal some sleep of your own.
The Person Who Gave You The One Item That Quiets Your Child
This item is different for everyone, because babies are particular. Maybe it's your baby carrier, or the Rock and Play. Maybe it's the nursing pillow that gets your baby in the perfect position to latch pain free. Perhaps it's that super comfortable robe you haven't taken off literally all month. Whatever it is, you will love it and therefore whoever got it for you.
The Friend Who Made You A Freezer Meal
Can't talk. Eating.
Jesse Pinkman From 'Breaking Bad'
Or Poussey Washington from Orange Is The New Black. Or Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones. Or Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead. Or Joan Harris from Mad Men. Because your first postpartum month you're going to be watching a whole lot of TV (remember: you're trapped under a baby and there's very little you're going to be able to do).
I don't know what you'll watch, but you will find a show. In fact, you'll probably find more than one. As such, you will develop a deep crush on at least one fictional character, but also perhaps on all the fictional characters because, again, you never know what will happen amid all those postpartum hormones.
You guys are going to be indispensable to one another in this time. You will be a team. You will rely on each other as you have never relied on one another before. In a best case scenario, they will rise to the occasion and you will fall even more deeply in love. Of course, you may wind up getting resentful of a partner not quite pulling their weight (or, honestly, getting frustrated as you figure out your new life together, which is normal and happens even under great circumstances), in which case a Very Serious Talk is necessary.
But no, really, this period can be an important and wonderful one in your relationship with communication and work!
Maybe you're someone who instantly adored your baby the moment you find out they were living inside of you. Maybe the moment you locked eyes you were in love. Or maybe you're like me who, the first time I looked at my first baby I was like, "Yes, I love and adore you but I don't really know you, do I?" That kind of love often takes time, and you may find you discover it in that first postpartum month. (Sometimes it might take longer, and that's OK too! Don't worry.)
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.