Skip the baby shower: Why some moms need postpartum parties after birth
There’s nothing wrong with showering a mom-to-be with a small party, but some experts say postpartum parties may be more beneficial.
A postpartum party is exactly what it sounds like — a get-together (or two) post-birth to help parents cope with a new child. And while they don’t need to replace baby showers necessarily, some say it could be a good gesture, especially if women are going through postpartum depression.
“I don’t think we have to get rid of baby showers as they can be really helpful to welcome a new baby and a wonderful celebration, but this idea of emphasizing a new mother’s experience is an extremely beneficial one,” said Parenting coach Julie Romanowski. “Recognizing that they are both different events for two very different reasons, is important to note.”
And with the birth of a child, the conversation around postpartum depression is often left out of the conversation, she adds.
“The main benefit [of these parties] would be that it is a clear acknowledgement of a very important time in a women’s life that can have many challenges and be quite difficult to handle,” she explained. “The celebration of this time helps spark a positive tone to the new mom that she is not alone, people want to help and there is visible action to those who say they ‘support’ you.”
Throwing a party
A postpartum party can be a gathering of close friends or a single visit where parents have “visitation hours” for people to drop in. Sometimes these parties can extend over a two-month period, ABC notes, allowing friends and family members to offer services for mom and child.
“If you’re the one hosting the two-month-long soiree, reach out to potential visitors and let them know what you truly need (food, cleaning, babysitting, etc.) over the next few weeks of recovery. If you’re the party-planning friend, consult the new mom on who her network of people are that she looks to for mental support,” the site notes.
Postpartum party gift ideas can include bringing meals for the new parents, making a care package or even offering time to clean their home.
“Some may just want help, some may want a huge bash and others may just want to be surrounded by love. Keep the conversation open and make flexible options the main theme,” Romanowski said.
‘It’s not just about parties and fun’
Behind all the fun, it’s important to remember why new moms may need help post-birth to begin with.
“It’s not just about parties and fun,” she continued. “The serious component and struggle is usually kept quiet but it is in these particular areas that support is needed… good old-fashioned ‘emotional’ support.”
And not all new moms will be open about it either, Romanowski said, so it’s important to give them space. In time, if a mom agrees to a postpartum party, it can help her cope.
“It’s hard to be vulnerable and open up to people that things are hard or challenging, so this idea allows it to be more ‘normalized’ and not such a taboo thing. I think this idea is great for parents all the time,” she continued. “Parenting struggles are not just during the newborn/infant times. They can last many, many years and support is needed on an on-going basis.”
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