Most parents, and anyone who has ever known a parent or perhaps simply been in the proximity of one, would probably agree that the early days of parenthood are some of the most trying. In fact, I'd venture to guess most of us moms don’t consider our early postpartum days as our best days. However, hindsight is 20/20 and now that some time has passed since my son’s birth, I can see the perks involved. In fact, there are even times when your postpartum life feels like your best life. I know, I know; at first glance that previous sentence might seem like utter nonsense and I don't blame you. However, I promise, there's more to it than being sore and sleep-deprived and overwhelmed. No, really. I'm serious.
When my partner and I brought our newborn son home, we immediately found ourselves in some kind of alternate reality where time was a circle and breastfeeding, swaddles, and diapers were the only things we had the collective ability to think about. OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but really, the fact remains; it was overwhelmingly, exhaustingly difficult. No matter how much we read and researched and prepared, those postpartum moments were taxing.
Still, there are some redeemable aspects to postpartum life that, if they were to extend beyond that early newborn phase and the recovery period that directly follows giving birth, I wouldn’t exactly mind. (Except the squirt bottle and all that it represents. That can go away forever and always.) Stick with me, new moms who are currently wondering what in the ever-loving hell they were thinking. Here's what I mean:
People Bring You Gifts And Food
I’m not sure about you guys, but presents and food are pretty much always welcome in my world (unless we’re sworn enemies, in which case I’ll probably still accept your offering albeit warily). The kind of delicious treats people bring when you’re postpartum are the absolute best kinds. Casseroles? Yes, please.
So, You Have Many Visitors…
Perhaps it’s my inner 12-year-old child, but it makes me feel good when people want to hang out with me. Having a new baby did not erase this truth, and never mind the fact that they’re mostly coming to see the baby. I’m still in the room, so it counts.
...And Just As Many Excuses Not To Clean Before They Arrive...
Alas, the main catch with having a steady stream of visitors is accommodating those visitors. Thankfully, when you’re postpartum, you’re healing and you’re probably prioritizing your baby’s needs over things like vacuuming and dusting. Your visitors will understand and, to be honest, they probably won’t even notice (especially if the baby’s awake when they arrive)
...And, Sometimes, They’ll Even Help With Your Chores
Not all the time, but sometimes. A simple offer to load the dishwasher, or stay in the room with the baby so you can start a load of laundry, may not sound like much, but in those moments they’re momentous.
Your Life Revolves Around Snuggles
Well, by "snuggles," I mean "newborn care" but whatever; it clearly still counts. Along with the snuggles come constant feedings and diapers, and sleepless nights which are, um, not exactly perks (at least not in my book). However, the high ratio of snuggles comes close to balancing it all out.
You’re Allowed To Wear Elastic-Waisted Pants All The Time
I suppose you’re always allowed to wear elastic-waisted pants because really, who is going to stop you? You do you. The main difference is that, when you’re postpartum, there’s reason to champion it.
You Can Choose To Ignore Pretty Much Everything Else In The World
When my son came home, there was some sort of World Cup Soccer event happening (I think?). I don’t mean to sound flippant about it; I know some people were genuinely invested and that’s totally cool. However, I took no part in it, and was delightfully oblivious when well-meaning friends asked if I was staying in the loop. Nope, nope, and nope.
You Can Take Every Nap Possible Without Apologizing (Or At Least Rest On The Couch For Ten Minutes Without Feeling Guilty)
To be fair, these naps are desperate attempts to glean any minutes of sleep you possibly can, but the fact remains that you have more of a green light to indulge than almost any other time in your life (assuming the baby’s asleep or in the care of another person, which does tend to happen).
Everyone Likes Everyone Single One Of Your Social Media Posts (If That’s Your Thing)
Going back to my inner-12-year-old, it’s nice to be liked. Yes, even if “liked” comes in the form of tallied mouse clicks. Don't judge.
You Can Catch All The Sunrises Your Heart (And Your Baby) Desire
I have a very complicated relationship with mornings, which has admittedly changed a lot since my son was born. However, we can probably all agree that sunrises are beautiful and lovely and something worth pausing to appreciate. So, when my son arrived the gorgeous spring sunrises were a surprising perk. Granted, I was usually seeing them after being awake for two hours in one of those horrible cycles of attempting to breastfeed and changing a dirty diaper, but still. They were pretty.