My dh always says "poop out a baby" instead of have a baby and it annoys me because he's just playing at being a guys guy when he says that and he's actually way more in touch with the reality than that. Your thread title made me laugh though.
I'll tell you how my first recovery was like in case that helps anyone. It was in the middle. Lots lots lots to adjust to and to get used to. But I was at home and relaxed and well taken care of.
The first couple of days we were utterly exhausted: laboring all night, unexpected hospital stay, D&C, anemia, baby crying all night for first two nights because my milk wasn't in yet, getting a fever and crazy engorgement when my milk came in. Plus I had post-partum bleeding for 6 weeks and had to get the hang of breastfeeding. Like everyone says. We were in a haze and in retrospect totally disoriented.
I was also IN LOVE with my family (dh & ds) and definitely loved it that we had so much time to just be together, alone, to cuddle and cry over how much we loved this tiny thing. I'm a private person and if we would have had a lot of guests, I would have really craved that alone time.
Dh was off work for 2 weeks and he did everything house related - laundry, cleaning, cooking, dishes. But baby slept a lot so we both had lots of time for resting and other things too. Dh did a lot of building in his shop and renovating too. We napped. I sewed. I surfed the net. I read. It wasn't debilitating and horribly difficult but we were consciously in vacation mode (relaxing and not getting up to much, certainly not our normal schedule).
For two weeks we didn't have to make any dinners between the food train we set up and what I had pre-frozen. That helped so so much.
We were also riding the baby high though and wanted everyone to meet our son. We had about 1 visitor a day and they were usually part of our food train so they came for about an hour (nice short happy visit) and they would bring us dinner so we didn't have to cook. And then they would leave.
It was the perfect balance of help, visits and alone time.
Both of our families live far away. Dh's parents came out when ds was a week old and only stayed the weekend. Our place was tiny and they did stay with us but they did everything short of our laundry. They were not a problem in any way. My parents didn't come until ds was 6 weeks old and they stayed with my sister. I didn't mind the ILs coming so soon after the birth but the ONLY reason that worked was that the visit was short and they did all the cooking and dishes and didn't expect any kind of hosting!!
Having a baby IS a big adjustment and your body DOES have to heal. But, it's true, it's not catastrophic. Especially if you plan and have support. It could be very, very difficult though if you don't have good support and you are getting pressure and unwanted visits from family/friends.
The need to hole up with your new little family and just bond is a very primal one I think. It should not be underestimated.