Forget Baby Showers, We Should Start Throwing New Moms A Postpartum Party

By  | 
baby shower

Image: iStock / jacoblund

Baby showers are fun, right? Well, maybe fun isn’t the word to use. They’re usually awkward and the games are absolutely terrible. But, they are incredibly useful (when people stick to the registry). Showers help new moms-to-be get all the stuff they think they’ll need for the baby. Plus, at that point in their pregnancy, they need to be showered with love because they probably feel awful and are terrified! However, baby showers put the focus on the pregnancy and arrival of a new baby. The moms are sort of … secondary. We don’t think much about what happens AFTER the baby comes, and that’s when it gets really, incredibly hard. It’s a struggle. New moms don’t need 40 different swaddle blankets. They need help. They need support! So let’s ditch the showers, and throw a postpartum party instead.

Let’s focus less on the “to be” part, and more on the new mom part. A postpartum party is a great way to build a network of support for a new mom in those grueling first weeks.

Author Marisa Mendez Marthaller came up with the concept for an article in Bust Magazine. It’s not the weeks leading up to the arrival of a baby when moms need help. It’s the first six to eight weeks after the baby is born that is the hardest time. Mendez Marthaller says, “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?” Those first weeks break a lot of moms (us included). And oddly enough, it’s those first six weeks when most people stay away. And we get it! You don’t want to impose, or overstep their boundaries. But listen: new moms need help.

A postpartum party isn’t really a party necessarily. New moms don’t want to host a big group of people, LOL. And you don’t have to skip the baby shower altogether, either!

But what if, WHAT IF, we dedicated a little time at the baby shower preparing for what comes next. The people at the shower are, presumably, close to the mom-to-be. So maybe ask them to sign up for a few tasks during the first six weeks of postpartum. They can volunteer to come over and watch the baby while mama sleeps, or help with cleaning and laundry. A group of friend can form their own little Taskrabbit force, and sign up to run small errands for the new parents. You can create meal trains and childcare schedules, if the parents have other children. It’s all dependent on what the parents are comfortable with, and they get to decide what would be most helpful to them.

Parents can set their own boundaries and schedules, and a shared Google calendar can help the group keep track of who is doing what and when. Just think of the little things that still need to get done when you’re drowning in the new baby life. You still need groceries! You still need to clean or walk the dog! That’s part of what can contribute the overwhelming “overwhelmingness” of the postpartum period. Life doesn’t stop just because you had a baby. It continues, unabated, but significantly more difficult.

We love the idea of a postpartum party, and we wish it was thing when our babies were born. It does take a village, from that very first moment. Let’s not allow new moms flounder – let’s be their village from the minute their baby is born.