Now that Samuel is four months old, I look back at my first month postpartum and realize that “surviving” really is what I was doing. Coming home from the hospital in a new mom daze, I had this tiny human that was depending on me for everything. I had been around babies before, but not 24/7. There was no handing this baby back over to someone else when he cried.
Juan and I were very lucky to both have six weeks paternity/maternity leave and we were able to get through that crazy first month together. Having a newborn felt isolating enough, so I can’t imagine what it would have been like if Juan hadn’t been there with me. We also had our families (his flew over from Spain!) there to take some of the load off of us, but there was only so much that they could help with. When it came to Samuel waking up approximately 32 times at night, that was all us. Also, I was pretty hesitant to bring baby out in public for the first month postpartum or so. We did it, but every time we went to a restaurant or on a walk with him, I was a ball of anxiety. Because of all of this, Juan and I spent a lot of time sitting at home on the couch, just the two of us and Samuel.
We avoided going completely insane (although there were moments of near crazy) by practicing the age old art of Netflix and Chill. And note, in this case, it was a very, very literal definition of the saying. We found lots of series to binge during the day and I had ones that just I would watch during Samuel’s middle of the night feedings.
La casa de papel / Money Heist
This is the series I miss the most from those newborn days. Luckily, the second season had just been released on Netflix when we started watching it, so we had a good number of episodes to watch. It was so good that we watched both seasons within a few days. This Spanish series (you can watch with subtitles!) is about a group of misfits who come together under the guidance of a man called “The Professor” to rob the Royal Mint of Spain. It’s Prison Break meets Ocean’s 11, with all of the charm and cheesiness of a Spanish TV series.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Samuel decided to make his arrival into this world at a very convenient time. The third season of this series came out just shortly after he was born. Juan and I had watched the first season last year, so it was like seeing old friends when we were able to turn this show on again. It’s such a dark comedy and Neil Patrick Harris (and all of the other guest stars) are so fun to watch. We laughed so much at this show (although I’m sure some of that was our lack of sleep).
This show could not have come at a better time. In this Australian series, the main character, Audrey, is struggling through being a new mom. I could relate to every single thing that happened to her. One of my favorite moments was when Audrey was trying to get her daughter to sleep and her husband comes over to say hi to the baby. Audrey snaps, “Don’t make eye contact! You’ll overstimulate!” That was me, every single night (and basically still is). When Samuel wakes up during the night, all he wants to do is coo and talk. When he does this, I look like a madwoman, trying to look anywhere but down, to avoid locking eyes with him. This show makes you feel so much better about everything.
Sometimes you need a show that you can zone in and out of and not miss anything. For example, Lost would not be one of those shows. If you miss even a second of Lost, you’re screwed and won’t understand anything else in the show ever again (granted, you won’t understand anything else in the show even if you do see every second of it…). Chef’s Table was a show I could have on in the background, get distracted by something, then turn my attention back to. Each episode features a different world-class chef and documents his or her rise to the culinary top.
The series were always great for during the day, but within a few weeks, I couldn’t watch them overnight any longer. If I turned the TV on at 2am while I was feeding Samuel, the the light woke up him and it was much harder to get him back to sleep. As soon as this started happening, I switched over to listening to podcasts to keep myself awake while feeding him.
Babes and Babies
Out of the minds of three former contestants on The Bachelor, Babes and Babies is still my favorite podcast to listen to. Just like The Letdown, this podcast is so relatable if you are a new mom. Two of the three hosts have their own little ones and the third is a certified doula. Because of this, their stories are based off of their own, real life experiences. They also bring guest hosts onto the show to talk about their own areas of maternal expertise. After listening to many, many episodes of Babes and Babies, I’ve bonded with the hosts. Now when I see them on TV, I tell Juan, “Look! My friends!” He usually just gives me a blank stare.
Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell may be couple goals, but this show is podcast goals. Dax hosts the show out of an armchair in his guesthouse. He brings tons of A-list celebrities on (Ellen, Zach Braff, Jimmy Kimmel, Ashton Kutcher, Anna Faris, Adam Scott…) to hang out and chat. You almost feel like you’re eavesdropping on friends, but in the best way possible.
Let me know if you watch/listen to any of these recommendations (first month postpartum or not) and what your thoughts are!