"Everything is going better than we ever could have hoped," Chris Sullivan tells PEOPLE of his son Bear's first weeks

By Mary Green and Jen Juneau
August 26, 2020 09:00 AM
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Chris Sullivan couldn't be happier over the arrival of his son.

The This Is Us star, 40, and his wife Rachel announced the arrival of their first child, Bear Maxwell, on July 30. They share the newborn's first photos in this week's issue of PEOPLE, and open up about how becoming parents has changed their lives and relationship, all for the better,

"Instantaneously, Bear's existence has taught me lessons about surrendering to the current moment and shown me where in my life I have selfish tendencies and self-centered tendencies," Sullivan says. "Bear constantly brings me back to the current moment, which is ... perfect in every way. And I think that's a good reminder."

"Something that excites me," the actor shares with PEOPLE, is thinking about how "someday" his son is going to do big things like "drive a car."

Chris (L) and Rachel Sullivan with son Bear
| Credit: Lauren Hurt/@laurenhurtphoto

"Yesterday, we were lying in bed, taking one of our many naps, and Rachel said, 'Our child is asleep in the next room.' That's an exciting idea," Sullivan adds. "It's going to be fun getting to know him."

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Chris Sullivan and son Bear
| Credit: Lauren Hurt/@laurenhurtphoto

While she has "nothing to compare it to" since Bear is the couple's first child, Rachel says their son is a "great baby" who is "very communicative," in that "he tells us what he needs and then when we give it to him, he is quiet again."

"He's a good guy. He likes dancing. Eats a lot, rests a lot," Sullivan chimes in. "He's kicked off at three-hours stretches [of sleep] between feeds, which is a good chunk of time, and it's slowly getting longer and hopefully we'll continue in that direction."

As the actor and his wife had been social distancing amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) global health crisis before Bear's arrival, "everything at our house already kind of felt surreal and like a time loop," he says.

"And now it just feels like a never-ending slumber party," Sullivan adds. "Every three hours, Rachel and I are getting up and checking in, and there's this little baby that needs tending to in one way or the other."

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The couple is thankful for the "amazing support" of their community both during the pregnancy and after Bear's arrival, with Rachel telling PEOPLE that their friends have "set up a meal train for us so we don't have to worry about cooking dinner."

"We've been really buoyed by love and support and all of those things," she adds. "I think that's just so important when you're going through anything, but especially this. So that's something that has been really amazing to have. I wish that for anyone who's going through this, just to have such a supportive community."

"We have been so blessed at every stage of this process," Sullivan says. "Everything is going better than we ever could have hoped. I just feel very lucky for that. Rachel is recovering very well. Bear is as healthy as he could possibly be."

For more about Chris Sullivan's life as a new dad, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.