As soon as I delivered my baby, I realized I wasn’t as self-sufficient (or a superwoman) as I had imagined myself to be! In the initial few days after my delivery, I didn’t even know how to handle my newborn - how to clean her, to swaddle her, to feed her. I was at a total loss. All my good intentions of taking solo care of my baby flew right out of the window. I realized I needed help, and desperately so. Once I accepted this fact, and accepted that there was no shame in seeking help, it was much better for me (as well as the people around me).
And then I started asking my family to help me with things after delivery - without any shame.
I. Baby Minding
This was the first and the foremost need of mine. After waking up at odd hours in the night to feed and change the baby, I realized I felt exhausted during the day. And sleeping when the baby sleeps didn’t work for me. So, I decided to hand over the baby to my parents in law or other members in law who were more than willing to take care of the baby while I took the much needed nap.
I even expressed my milk and explained them how to feed the baby in case the baby was hungry. I also put a stack of clothes and nappies if baby needed changing (which she always did). This is how I caught up on my sleep or took out time to read books - and trust me, it really made a world of difference.
II. Cooking Interesting Foods
The whole 9 months of my pregnancy, I didn’t eat much, thanks to the morning sickness that stayed with me all the way to the labour room. So, after delivery, when my appetite came back with a gusto, I wanted to eat a variety of things. Of course, being in the confinement for the first 30 days, I got a very limited choice of foods (that too bland and unappealing). Hence, I would ask my hubby dearest to sneak in some spicy vada pavs, bhel and achaar.
Once the restriction on food was lifted, of course, I would ask my mother in law to make my favourite foods like chole bature, pav bhaji, pani puri, etc. and my mom to send me (in Rajasthani marwaris, the delivery and post-delivery care happens at the in laws’ place) roasted and spiced talmakhanas, musk melon seeds, fried mathris, etc. Ah, it was all so yum!
III. Shopping For My Baby
I had shopped a lot for the baby and myself even before the baby arrived. But, that was not enough. One main reason for this is that I had chosen to keep my baby diaper-free in the first 30 days. That meant extra nappies, blankets and baby wipes. I felt no shame in asking my family to get the refill from time to time.
Also, after the delivery I decided to express my milk. I requested my mother in law to buy an electric breast pump for me.
IV. Accompanying Me
I had delivered my baby in Ahmedabad where my in laws stay. The plan was to recuperate post delivery in my laws’ place and then come back to Mumbai. But after a few weeks, I realized that it would not be easy to manage my house all alone with a newborn. So I asked my mother in law to accompany me to Mumbai and stay with us for a few weeks till I was used to handling the baby and the home on my own.
She stayed with us and helped me arrange the baby’s cupboards and the various paraphernalia that we had got for the baby, namely laundry basket, baby gym, bathing chair, etc. She really helped me take care of the baby while I ran various errands and got a grip on things.
I will be totally honest: I would not have survived the initial months without my family’s help. I don't think there is any shame in this; our family is here to help us through difficult times and the baby is an important part of their world too. :)
How about you? What were the things that you asked your family to help you with after delivery?
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