I seem to have passed on from being a new mom to helping them. A little sad but life changes and what else can we do but help and encourage the new crop of moms by sharing our time and experience?
A few of my friends have recently become grandmothers and a couple of nieces, nephews and cousins are having new babies as well. This is all such a happy time but, and I remember it distinctly, exhausting for the new moms. It's not so long ago that it was me so I thought I would share what was most helpful to me.
- Bring a meal but be specific about when. The best phone calls I received were the ones that said, "I would like to bring you a meal, what day and time is free for you to receive it?"
Heaven. Those phone calls were, just heaven.
When I bring a meal to a new mom, or a sick friend, I also ask if they would like to receive it earlier in the day prepped to just warm up or hot at dinner time. I also bring the meal in entirely disposable or pass along containers. I keep a Rubbermaid container filled with some Gladware and thrift store dishes that I am happy to pass along and I tell the receipient to either toss it or pass it forward. I have even packed up the meal with some pretty paper napkins and plastic utensils to make the clean up even easier. There is no point in saving someone the trouble of cooking only to have them have to wash dishes.
If cooking isn't your superpower you can always bring take-out. Make it a nicer take-out rather than tacos or burgers so it can be a little more special. Most of the chain restaurants have take-away options.
- Run some errands. Call the new mom and tell her that you are going to be out for a while running errands, (even if you aren't) supermarket, drugstore, post office, etc.. and ask her if you can pick anything up for her. This is an especial blessing in bad weather. I remember sitting in the kitchen once praying that milk and bread would miraculously appear in my home so I would not have to pile a newborn and two toddlers into snowsuits to go to the grocery store. While you are out buy a package of diapers, even if she didn't mention it, and then grab some grocery store flowers. It will make her day, I promise.
- Give her some time. If this is her first baby come over to visit and then tell her to go take a nap or a long hot shower. Bring her some pretty bubble bath or body wash or a new pillowcase and just give her some time to refresh. The bonus is that you get to snuggle a new baby for a bit. If it's not her first baby then take the older children out for a fun outing and let mom have some peace with the newest member of the family. Take the kids to the park or a movie or even back to your house to bake cookies and for mom. The kids will love being treated to a special day and mom will ger some lovely snuggle time.
We live in a culture that, almost, punishes women for not bouncing back immediately from childbirth when anyone who has been through it knows how important it is to nurture new mothers and help them settle comfortably into their new roles. Be part of changing that nonsense and encourage the new moms in your life by showing them how much you care.