The moment I pushed my son into the world, I realized one glaringly large difference between pregnancy life and postpartum life: it used to be about me, but it sure as you-know-what isn't about me anymore. All of a sudden, everyone focused on my baby (I can't blame them because OMG he was the most precious thing in the entire world). So, before too long, I realized I had to care for myself in order to care for my baby. The things I did for myself immediately after leaving the hospital were just as much for me as they were for the betterment of my newborn baby, too. Just like I needed to take care of myself when I was pregnant in order to grow my son, I needed to take care of myself in order to raise my son.
Sadly, this lesson — while obvious almost immediately — took a while for me to truly learn and understand. I wanted to stay up all night and day, be responsible for every feeding and every diaper change, and truly show I was a "good mother" by completing every single parenting task under the sun. Yeah, that's not healthy. It demeaned my partner, it kept me from sleeping, and it made it impossible to make an attempt at anything resembling self-care. So, after two nights in the hospital of keeping myself awake and exhausting myself to no end, I went home and realized my hospital routine just wasn't going to fly. I needed to put myself first if I was going to be able to care for my son the way he deserved to be cared for.
Enter the first glorious day home from the hospital. I was finally able to relax, care for myself, get some rest, and spend some quality time with my son that was more comforting than exhausting. I was quick to let my partner parent (you know, because that's his job, too) and I asked and accepted help. You guys, it was amazing. So, with that in mind and because us moms need to hear more stories of mothers putting themselves at the top of their priority list, here's everything I did for myself immediately after I came home from the hospital.
I Ordered Everything And Anything I Wanted To Eat
I make zero apologies for eating absolutely everything and anything I wanted to eat the moment I was home from the hospital, whether it was "healthy" or not.
My mother flew in from Alaska to Seattle after my son was born, and the only thing I wanted to eat was her special chicken, rice, and broccoli casserole. It was damn delicious.
I Had A Beer
Yep, you heard right, my friend. I drank one cold, glorious beer. I was breastfeeding at the time, mind you, but you can have a drink here or there and still safely breastfeed your babe. So I put my sore legs up, laid back, had my newborn baby take a nap on my chest, and I had the most delicious beer I have ever had in my entire life.
I Watched Whatever I Wanted To Watch
This is going to be a little sad for a second, so I apologize.
My son was born two days before Robin Williams passed away. I was sad, in that I grew up watching and admiring Williams and his work. My partner, who is also a fan, wasn't that bummed by comparison. He wanted to watch The Office, our go-to show for everything in our lives. I, however, needed to do some mourning, so I wanted to watch The Birdcage. Woman who just gave birth trumps everyone and everything else, so we watched Robin Williams movies for the entire first day I was home with my baby.
I Took A Shower...
One long, ridiculously hot, glorious shower. I walked out of that bathroom surrounded in a cloud of steam, my skin red, and my body finally feeling clean and relaxed. It was like taking a tiny mini-vacation to a spa.
...And Put On Makeup
Call me shallow. Call me vain. Call me whatever you damn well please, but putting on a full face of makeup was an easy and cheap way of taking a little part of my pre-baby self back. So much had changed in such a short amount of time, my body included, so putting something on my exhausted skin helped me feel like I could tackle this whole mom thing like a boss.
Sometimes it's a small gesture that seems inconsequential that can actually be the monumental reminder you need. You got this, you badass new-mama, you.
I Took A Hundred (Easily) Pictures Of My Kid
Yeah, I have no shame. I told myself I wouldn't be "that mom," but I definitely became "that mom" when my son was pushed into the world. I took all the pictures — pictures of him laying down, laying on my chest, laying on my partner's chest, looking at me, smiling, pooping, breastfeeding, you freakin' name it — and I didn't care. I posted some, I kept most, and I looked through them all in the exhausted days that followed.
I Silently Thanked Whoever Invented Those Mesh Underwear
Whoever you are out there, thank you. You have single-handed saved my undercarriage, and dear lord in heaven you deserve all the awards.
(Also, if you could send me a few more of those, that would be super. Yes, I am two years postpartum and my son is now a toddler but, um, whatever. They're awesome.)
I Turned Off My Phone And Stayed Off My Computer
I was overwhelmed by all the kind wishes and phone calls and messages and posts. Honestly, it's a silly thing to complain about. The moment my son entered the world, I knew he was loved and supported by so many people (and so was I).
However, it is pretty, you know, overwhelming. I needed to get used to the whole "new mom" thing, so shutting off my phone and disconnecting form the world so I could relax and spend quality time with my now-family of three, was pivotal. Don't be afraid to turn off the world. I promise, the world will be there when you turn that switch back to "on."
I Took A Nap
An hour or two after I walked through the door with my newborn baby, I was napping with my newborn baby. And that moment, my dear friend, was the only time I was ever able to "sleep when the baby sleeps."