loneliness, new mom, postpartum

Be Brave: Ask For Help

I remember it like it was yesterday: my youngest was just a few weeks old. We were in the thick of it. Still getting to know each other, figuring out nursing through a haze of sleepless nights and painful latch. She wouldn’t sleep unless she was attached to me. My husband worked in Boston and was away from home over 14 hours a day. That meant I was alone and without help for over 14 hours a day.

We had no help.

Me and this tiny, angry creature I didn’t understand, and still didn’t quite feel belonged to me. Suffering from Postpartum Depression I didn’t want to admit was there, I was afraid to leave the house. We stayed home, together but alone, all day long. Help could have meant someone to help us figure out how to get out of the house or even suggest a call to the doctor about the depression.

We had no help.

Friends didn’t come by much. Most of my friends were like me, fresh out of college. Only they were off pursing graduate degrees or “taking some time off” or starting their career. People weren’t having babies yet. It was more comfortable for everyone to pretend that it wasn’t happening. I still feel this loneliness palpably as I write this post, years later. Help could have meant someone to talk to.

We had no help.

I didn’t know what I was doing. A lifelong student, I didn’t know how to take care of a home, let alone a home and a baby! I felt like I was drowning. The place was a mess, cleaning was out of the question when you couldn’t put the kid down! Dishes piled up all day long, although I didn’t often have time to feed myself. It’s hard to eat when you’re “stuck” holding that little baby, lest she wake up. Help could have meant someone to hold her so I could eat a few bites or even take a shower.

We had no help.

And you know what the worst part is? We could have! All I would have had to do is ask! When people came over or checked in to see how we were doing, they always asked if I needed them to pick anything up, or told me to let them know if I needed anything. And I always said NO! New moms are supposed to have it all together right? When someone asks how we’re doing, we’re supposed to smile and say “I’m well, thank you”. Well I am calling BS on that! I’m saying that the brave thing to do would have been to ASK FOR HELP.

Ask that friend to hold your baby so you can take a shower. Tell your visitor to bring you take out for lunch. Let your mother in law fold your laundry or your dad cook you dinner! Or even better, hire that postpartum doula! Needing help is not something that new moms should be ashamed of or feel like they have to hide! Asking for help during the postpartum period is brave, wise, and just plain smart!

At Portsmouth Birth Services, we are so proud and honored to be able to support new parents during the postpartum period. If you are planning for a smooth transition to becoming a parent, we would be honored to take this journey by your side! The best part is, once you hire us, you don’t even have to ASK. We’ll be there to help every step of the way, and that is something that is invaluable.

Who helped during your postpartum period? If you’re currently pregnant or TTC, who do you hope will be there to help?