There was a time not long ago that when a simple baby shower was organized and arranged only by close female family members and friends. It was only done for first-time moms and not for every pregnancy because the idea, after all, was to help a new mom set up for the baby. While a baby shower today can still be an intimate affair, only a few still do it in their living room. In many instances, it rivals grand baptism and birthday parties, making it a costly affair, which is why another celebration trend related to pregnancy may have been gaining traction lately: the postpartum party.
It's no secret that postpartum recovery can be a steep challenge for moms who gave birth. Even with the recent enactment of the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Act, it's still not enough. Apart from time, new moms will need — and appreciate — more help caring for a newborn and having pockets of time to heal after childbirth.
The idea of a postpartum party first surfaced late last year. Bust Magazine writer Marissa Mendez Marthaller asked: "What if we took all the energy, time, and money that goes into prenatal fanfare and instead put it toward helping new parents when they need it most: during the emotional and physical recovery of the first six weeks after giving birth?"
Marissa describes her ideal postpartum party as a time when close family members and best friends sign up and take turns to help the new mom throughout the six-week postpartum period. During that month and a half, a new mom's uterus shrinks back to its pre-pregnant size, and a CS incision wound heals. And as a mom recovers, the party "guests" can help by bringing meals, tidying up the house, or babysitting so the new mom can have an hour off to shower or have peaceful and quiet me-time.
You can also opt for a "sip and see" theme for a post-birth party, which can save you from getting untimely visits. (This party theme was initially imagined as one where guests "sip" refreshments as they "see" or visit the baby.) You gather groups of friends in batches and on your own terms with a postpartum gift registry that lists the type of help you need.
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Your guests can chip in to help pay for postpartum help, such as a lactation consultant, a postpartum doula, or a night nurse (and cleaning service!). Your friends can arrange for you to go out and have fun without having to worry about the baby.
You can and should definitely ask help when you need it. The beauty of a postpartum party is you can plan it to cater to your needs. If you gave your birth plan much thought, put in the same effort into crafting your postpartum care plan. Here's a simple guide:
Identify what you'll need and in what aspects you'll need help after giving birth. Do you need help with preparing food, washing baby clothes, or attending to an older child? This is your postpartum "gift registry."
Make a "guest list" of close family and friends who are willing to help. "Invite" them and ask if you could count on them during the first six weeks, and then add them to your call list in your postpartum care plan.
Set up and share an online calendar (Google has one!) with your guests and ask them to put in what kind of help they can offer and when during the six weeks. It will help keep guests at home to one or two and prevent overcrowding.
If you opt for a postpartum sip-and-see party, ask your best friend to help you with simple preparations and then set a time and date, say, twice or thrice spread throughout the six weeks, to hold your welcome party.
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If you still want the baby shower, then go for it. But the postpartum party can make a big difference in warding off postpartum blues and keeping your sanity after a significant life-changing event. As they say, "it takes a village," so let your village know you need help and let them.