Coping Postpartum


In some cultures women spend 40 days postpartum in their bedroom nursing their babies and being waited on by their mothers or other female friends or relatives. In oilfield world you get four days before you husband returns to work and five days before your family has to go back to their own town. At least that’s how it has been for this oilfield family and I know that I’m not the only oilfield wife who has been through the system shocking experience of being left to her own devices so soon postpartum. To be sure, it’s a difficult thing to deal with and it’s not all that healthy, but as oilfield wives we suck it up and keep going, just like we do with everything else. However, the following is a list of a few things that I have found have made the experience easier for me. Maybe, if you find yourself in the same situation, they will give you an idea on how to find your own resources to make your postpartum experience smoother.

Hire Help– This is something I really should have done sooner. This can take many forms from hiring a postpartum doula who is trained specifically in the care of postpartum women and babies to hiring the neighbor kid to come in and help with chores around the house. For us, we were lucky enough to be able to hire a friend of the family, who has helped us out around the house for several years, and have her come in for a few hours a day a few times a week. Without her I’d never get anything done.

Grocery Delivery– We are very lucky here to have a grocery store that delivers, but even if you don’t have local grocery delivery available there are several online companies from whom you can order your groceries and have them delivered. This is such a valuable service since managing to get out with a newborn and head to the grocery store soon after giving birth is not going to be something most women look forward to doing.

Freezer Meals– Even better than having your groceries delivered is having food already in the house. I know I’ve talked about freezer meals in previous posts, but they’re worth mentioning again because they are so worth the time and effort! I still have enough food to feed me and my 5 year old for the next several weeks just because I took a couple days while still pregnant to put meals together.

Disposable Dishes– Since we are so well stocked with food we need something to eat it off of and for the time being paper plates and plastic bowls and utensils fit the bill quite well. I find that I can rarely get the dishwasher halfway loaded or unloaded before someone needs something so having a few less dishes to worry about makes it a bit easier to keep the kitchen semi-clean. It’s not exactly environmentally friendly, but I am telling myself that since we are using cloth diapers it all sort of balances out for now.

Netflix– I have no idea how many hours I’ve logged in my rocking chair nursing my new baby, but those hours have been made more entertaining by indulging in some serious TV watching. (Am I the only on on the planet who didn’t know that Twin Peaks was actually a parody?) I’m normally not much of a TV watcher, but I’ve found that it was invaluable when nursing my first baby and this time around has been no different.

ABC Mouse– With everything going on I still have not ordered our homeschool curriculum for the fall and I likely won’t for at least two more weeks and even then it will take more time to write out lesson plans. The way it looks we won’t be starting school until the beginning of September. (School always used to start after Labor Day, right?!)  In the meantime I’ve got my son set up on the learning website ABC Mouse. It’s not the hands on type of learning that I prefer to do with him, but it keeps him busy since right now I can’t give him as much attention as he and I would like. It’s also good to know he’s doing something that will help him learn as opposed to just watching cartoons all day.

While nothing can replace having someone there to care for you postpartum or having your husband home to help out, maybe these few tricks will make the coping easier. However, no matter what you do, be sure you take it easy on yourself.

What tips or tricks have you used for coping without your husband or nearby family postpartum? Please leave me a comment and let me know because I could use all the help I can get!




About chelsea

Chelsea is mama to 4 year old Will and partner to her oilfield man and best friend of 16 years, Jacob. She splits her time between the family’s camper in the North Dakota Oil Patch and a small urban homestead in Kentucky. Chelsea writes about the family’s camper adventures at She is a batik artist and loves teaching others about the art of batik at She can also be found working on her other sites and In her moments of spare time she enjoys knitting, sewing and gardening.

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