The art of saying YES.
Yes to what? To help.
Recently I was talking with some friends about how difficult it is to say YES to help, particularly in the postpartum. Particularly for first time parents. I experienced this myself after my daughter was born. Offers of meals to be cooked, washing to be done, vacuuming. I turned the offers down politely then proceeded to do it all myself once my family and friends had left.
There were times when my mum sent a cooked meal with my dad when he came to visit. I was filled with such gratitude. I wouldn’t have to cook that night, and it made ALL the difference. When I really examined why I said no to help, it was for many reasons. I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone, it was ‘easier’ to say no than to explain where the vacuum was or how the washing machine worked. Or what meals could be cooked for me. I didn’t want to be annoying. I was thinking about how these people had either been working all day, or were busy with their own things to look after. I didn’t value the job that I was doing during these long days and nights.
But now, I know.
I know that the offers are genuine. The offers come from people who love us, and who want to express that love by making our lives just a little bit easier in the postpartum. Helping others with love and compassion in our hearts is what makes the world go around, and we should accept these offers of help with gratitude. As a new parent, we certainly aren’t inconveniencing anyone. We aren’t being annoying or rude. We aren’t being demanding. There is so much value in the work of a mother and parent – and we really need to honour that as a society.
What we are, is tired.
We may be feeling anxious, depressed, overwhelmed, even lonely. Full of love – yes – but exhausted to our bones. But you, sister, you don’t have to go it alone.
I invite you to say YES. Yes to offers of meals, you can even prepare recipe print outs for friends and family before postpartum so that it’s easy for them. Yes please to the dishes being washed, a cup of tea made for you. Yes to your washing being hung out – undies and all.
Let it happen and soak it all in, you won’t regret it.
If you think you can say yes to postpartum help, you might want to check out my postpartum doula services. If you are reading this and want to help out a friend or family member in the postpartum, you can read my blog on thoughtful gift ideas here.