Six weeks was the first hurdle in my mind—the time that many people said would be the hardest, and the time I was told it would take to recover from the delivery, to be back to exercising, having sex, and, well, thinking about people other than Leo. So, we made it!
It took three visits to the lactation consultant, two breast pumps, a babywearing workshop, visits to a local nursing circle, a house full of products I'd never heard of before (muslim swaddling blankets, an absurd nursing pillow, bras galore, a baby gym...), and more help from our parents and friends than I'd ever anticipated. But we made it. We ditched the supplementer, so we can breastfeed anywhere, no equipment needed (well, I could use some sort of boob tent for privacy—and yes, I'm sure they sell one at my local baby store). And I'm back to making dinner, sort of, some of the time.
During this infinite 6 weeks, my best friend (not to be confused with My Brest Friend) was the kind of helpful you don't even know how to ask for. Steph brought over homemade veggie pizzas when we got back from the hospital and popped them in our oven. She held and admired the baby, called to check in then came over to see for herself whenever I sounded iffy, helped with laundry and bottle washing, fed us frequently, and listened sympathetically to the tales of breastfeeding frustrations and sleeplessness. All while perched on the brink of new parenthood herself.
Whenever I pointed out that a woman in her condition should be the one on the receiving end of the coddling, Steph would say "don't worry about it—you're in your six weeks." She was referring to what we learned at the workshop we attended together (yoga for labor and postpartum). The teacher, a Frenchwoman, had repeatedly stressed that during the first six weeks postpartum a woman should lie down as much as possible, and be waited on by others. Of course, this woman never met my baby. If I tried to lie down with Leo around he'd go ballistic. Only a constant can-can dance will please him. But still, Steph helped shoulder the burden of the rest of my responsibilities. She even did her share of the baby-soothing can-can, with modifications since her belly gets in the way.
Now I'm on the other side of the six weeks. And indeed, I do feel more able to handle the tasks of daily life—albeit just barely, and not gracefully (still not developing any recipes worth sharing). We got here just in time too, because Steph is now 37 weeks pregnant, so she could go into labor anytime. Once she brings her baby home, I fully intend to be there for her six weeks.