By Jennifer Votrain

The holiday season is a perfect time to remember the things we are thankful for and give thanks to the people we cherish.

For new parents, the topic of thankfulness can become an entirely new and completely basic idea. Overwhelming feelings of love compounded by utter exhaustion turn us into the most loving of zombies, and can make the tiniest of good deeds hugely gratifying in the blur that is new parenthood.

“The biggest thing I remember is that there was just no transition. You hit the ground diapering.”
~Paul Reiser

postpartum doula care
Photo by Benji Aird

New parents, this one’s for you!

10 things to be thankful for: New parent edition

1. A hot meal. Preferably home cooked, preferably by someone other than you. On that topic…

2. A freezer full of prepared meals. In the chaos of childbirth preparation, parents can forget what a necessity good food is after bringing home baby. Stocking your freezer with delicious meals prior to the birth helps alleviate the temptation to eat junk food and saves you money on take out.

3. A warm shower. At least once every day and free from interruption.

4. At least one stretch of sleep that exceeds two hours. The idea of a “solid 8” goes right out the window with a new baby. Anything more than two consecutive hours is a huge win for tired parents.

5. An ear to listen. This new parent thing can be overwhelming, and that’s without the hormonal fluctuations! It’s so nice to have someone to vent to, whether you need to scream or have a good cry. Non-judgmental ears only, please and thank you!

6. Someone to entertain older siblings. The one person in your home who doesn’t need recovery time after the birth of a new baby is the big brother or sister. Having a partner or other hired help to ensure that older siblings get plenty of activity and exercise has two huge benefits: 1) quiet time for mom and baby to rest and bond and 2) a happy child who has an outlet for all that energy.

7. Binge-watching TV. There aren’t many times in your adult life where you’re encouraged to binge watch your favorite shows, but I’ll tell you right now – this is it! Take advantage!

8. Free arms!Even the most dedicated attachment parents love a little freedom of movement. Getting a sleeping baby down without waking him is a huge accomplishment for a new parent! Yes, you may do a happy dance now.

9. A supportive friend, family member, or hired helper. The realization of “it takes a village” is glaringly obvious to a new parent. This is the time to call in those favors or set aside a budget for help – commonly in the form of a postpartum doula. Embracing the idea that you don’t have to do this parenting stuff alone can be a huge weight off your shoulders. You’ve birthed a baby, for goodness sake! Take your time to recover, and let someone else handle the rest.

10. Your sweet baby. I mean, how can we talk about being a thankful new parent without mentioning the star of the show? Your little human, an absolute testament to the miracle of life… so incredibly small, yet so incredibly demanding of your time and energy. And you know what? Even through the haze of exhaustion, even through stitches and tears and hours of hard labor, you’d do it over and over again if it meant feeling the amazing power of this kind of love forever.

Welcome to parenthood.

Jennifer Votrain
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