This is probably very “millennial” of me, but I don’t know how on earth I would have gotten through the first few months of my son’s life without television. More specifically, streaming, always-available, binge-worthy television. I had a difficult, high-risk pregnancy, culminating in an even rougher birth experience and my son spending months in the NICU. So yes, TV was my escape from all the complications and stress. So when I say I’ve got a few recommendations for shows to watch during your fourth trimester, you should understand that I know what I’m talking about.
This list has been rounded up carefully, taking a few things into account. For one, I wanted to make sure it was diverse. That means the families (and non-families) on these shows aren’t all cis-gender, heterosexual, and white. Some of these shows include adopted families, or tackled the subject of child loss. Others include multiracial or all-Latinx casts. The actors on a few of these are transgender, others are queer, and that includes parents and kids on the shows. A few of these shows will make you laugh, others will make you cry, and the best will probably do both.
So, because the fourth trimester should be about self-care, as much relaxation as possible, and feeling all the new-mom feels that are definitely bombarding your body, here's a list of shows to help you adapt to your new life as a mom. Watch on, dear reader.
'One Day At A Time'
Starring Justina Machado (as Penelope Alvarez) and the legendary Rita Moreno (as Lydia, Penelope’s mother), this remake follows the life of a recently-turned-single Latina mom raising her two kids while living with their grandmother. What you get is a sitcom filled with latina feminist lessons and plenty of laughs with just a few tears in between. As a new mom, you’ll want to take a few notes on Penelope’s parenting style.
New moms want to watch Broad City because sometimes you need to escape your life of drool and diapers. Few comedies on air right now are quite as hilarious as the adventures of Abbi and Ilana. It’ll transport you to simpler times (at least, until the baby cries).
'This Is Us'
This Is Us is easily one of the most popular shows out there, and it’s no wonder. The highly complex story of a couple and their adult children touches on everything from adoption and child loss to race and body image. Once you start, you won’t want to stop, but I’m warning you: keep a box of tissues handy (especially considering the postpartum hormones).
Every new mom can use the ego boost that is watching Shameless. There is little chance that you are doing a worse parenting job than Frank or Monica. Plus you’ve got great eye candy with Emmy Rossum, Jeremy Allen White, Steve Howey, and Isidora Goreshter on the cast. (Hey, whatever. Sometimes us moms just need something nice to look at.)
'I Love Lucy'
More specifically the seasons when Lucy is pregnant and becomes a new mom herself. Lucille Ball was a goddess amongst comedians and she approached her role as mom on the show with grace and hilarity. Learn a few parenting lessons from this queen of comedy and laugh yourself to good health as well.
Several babies have been conceived and been born through the double-digits seasons of this Shonda original. Plus Grey’s Anatomy has great bingeing potential, since the stories change so much every season. Fast forward to all your favorite moments (there’s plenty of fodder for laughs and tears through all 13 seasons).
'Grounded For Life'
This little-known family sitcom from the 2000s is perfect for the parents who don’t really feel like being parents (but you know, do it anyway and y’all know who you are). Claudia and Sean Finnerty manage to navigate parenthood while still maintaining their social, professional, and sex lives. The show is chock-full-of-laughs that honestly were pretty groundbreaking for the times, too.
'Sons of Anarchy'
Much like Shameless, you’ll watch this and thank your lucky stars your family is nowhere near as dysfunctional as the Tellers. There are some difficult scenes for moms (Jax’s son is in the NICU during season 1, for example) and then some violent-as-all-hell scenes (at least one person gets whacked every episode).
Plus, creator Kurt Sutter recently bashed on internet troll and nazi Milo Yiannopoulos, so that certainly doesn’t hurt.
Another often over-looked family drama that new moms will want to look to for lessons on parenting older kids. It stars Stef and Lena, a lesbian couple who are raising a number of children (Stef’s biological son, their adopted twins, and a foster daughter), and tackling many issues not normally covered on other shows. It’s like a guide for navigating the ups and downs of millennial parenting and, well, it’s awesome.
The quintessential mother-daughter show had to be on this list, of course. Despite how you might feel about the reboot (and believe me, we all have our feelings), you can’t deny the charm of Stars Hollow and its inhabitants. Whether it’s losing yourself in the town’s quirky celebrations, fan-girling over old school Melissa McCarthy, debating the merits of Rory’s boyfriends, or reliving some of your younger years, you’ll certainly appreciate this show in a whole new light after having a baby of your own.