No new parent has it easy. The early days of caring for a newborn can be particularly brutal on all parties – the childcare is constant and you’re running on little sleep. But tough as it may be for both parents, these early days can be particularly tough for moms. So here are a few reasons why – and how – you might want to support your partner and give her the best gift of all, time!
She needs time to physically recover
If Baby was delivered vaginally, it’s estimated that your partner will start to feel better after six weeks, though for some moms this takes even longer. And if Baby was delivered via C-section, your partner may need up to 12 weeks to recover from this major abdominal surgery.
You can’t rush this recovery, but you can help mom’s healing along by giving her the time she needs to rest and take it easy – which may mean extra time for showering, going to the bathroom, taking a sitz bath (so that she can care for her body parts that may be a little worse for the wear following birth), or taking care of aching breasts.
And even though sleep may be very hard to come by for you both right now, she really needs to try and squeeze in as many extra ZZZs as she can so that her body can heal and recover. So do what you can to encourage your partner to get as much rest as possible, sleep when Baby sleeps, and maybe even carve out time for a nap here and there too.
She needs some downtime
Certainly, you’ve heard that being a parent is a full-time job, which isn’t quite a proper analogy (after all, where’s your paycheck?), but as a parent, you’re never really off the clock.
If you’ve already gone back to work, you’re now juggling work and being a parent – no easy task! And yet, once you’re back at work you might be surprised to feel – if you can dare to admit it – that as hard as it is to be away from Baby, it’s sort of nice to have a little break from constant baby care.
If your partner is still at home with Baby, then you can imagine how hard it might be for her to really always be on the clock. For many women, this constant state of “momming” can feel particularly tough once a partner is back to work and there’s even more on her plate. She might miss the extra help and the adult company. So it can mean a lot for mom to get a break – even just a little one, even just occasionally.
For some moms, this might be as simple as having dedicated time each morning to shower and dress or time in the evening to sneak away for thirty minutes and just have a breather. Other times it might mean mom running out to the grocery store baby-free or squeezing in a quick nap once you get home from work. Small as these breaks may be, know that your partner needs these. These little moments will make a big difference in helping her feel like she has a little bit of downtime.
She needs time to feel like herself again
Certainly, you’ll want to make time for mom to – at a minimum – take a break, enjoy some downtime, and squeeze in a nap. But when your partner is still home with Baby and even once she’s back to work herself, you’ll also want to help her carve out additional time that will allow her to feel more like herself again.
Sure, she’s a mom now, and that’s a priority, but maybe she’d also like time to engage in some favorite habits or hobbies that she loved before giving birth. This might mean that she heads out to that biweekly yoga class she loved or, if your family can’t quite swing that right now, that she’s able to do some YouTube yoga at home (uninterrupted, in a quiet room, alone and away from Baby). Or that she gets to meet friends for dinner or a coffee date once a month. Or maybe she can have the occasional full day off to do as she pleases – to catch a movie, run some errands, read a book at a local park, or grab lunch on her own.
Certainly, you should work with your family to find time to do the same for yourself – see friends, hit up the gym, grab a meal – but in these early days, especially if mom is still home from work or breastfeeding, it can be all the harder for her to carve out this time for herself. Help mom make this a priority – it will be a real gift!