A new baby is something to celebrate! A brand new life that God has created and entrusted to a family to care for and love. When Judah was a newborn I remember feeling happier than I had ever felt and at the same time helpless because this was such a big responsibility. New parent exhaustion is so real and the stress of caring for a helpless little person is seriously daunting. New moms tend to not know how to ask for help, it seems too intimidating of a request. After all, its your child, your responsibility. There is a pressure to feel like you have to have it all together. In addition, depending on the type of birth experience the mother has had, she may have an extensive healing time.
First of all, mamas, you do not have to have it all together. Especially not all the time. Being a mother is an amazing and difficult job.
Here are some ways you can bless a sister in your community who has just given birth…
Bring the family groceries. Whether you bring by some healthy frozen meals that can easily be popped in the oven, a week’s worth of groceries, or simply some easy to munch snacks she can have while breastfeeding, all of the above are good ideas! Get together with a couple of friends to create a list of who will bring food to the family and when so there is some organization. Create a drop off plan that way there are no unexpected deliveries during naptime. I really struggled the first few months to eat enough, between breastfeeding and Judah needing to be snuggled constantly I wasn’t getting enough nourishment OR sleep which is an awful combination. Thankfully one of those could be remedied. When my girlfriends at church found out they rallied and created a system, soon I had a freezer full of easy to heat up meals, a fridge full of coconut water for extra hydration, and Lara bars which were so easy to eat one handed while I nursed Judah.
Help around the house. If you have ever felt helpless as a mother who has just given birth, either because you are allowing your body heal from the miracle of birth or anxious over caring for a newborn along with your other children, asking for help can still seem so discouraging. Helping the family with some simple chores like laundry, dishes, or dusting can help lessen the burden of taking care of the home and allow them to bond with their new addition.I even had a friend offer to come over to hold Judah while I showered. With their permission, hiring a Handy cleaning person to come may also be a huge blessing.
Bring her a gift instead of the baby. Chances are they have enough onesies and pacifiers given to them by friends and family at their shower. I was given a few gifts for me after giving birth and it was really such a huge blessing to feel like I hadn’t been forgotten in all of the excitement over our sweet new arrival. Some great things that can be such a blessing to new moms are things like a bath bomb (I linked my favorite), essential oil infused epsom salts, a candle (another favorite), or a deliciously scented body wash. Sometimes taking a quick bath or shower (baths of course only after everything heals) at the end of the day while daddy watches the baby is the only time mama has to herself. Making that time sweeter with a good soap or even a nice lotion to use afterwards can make it feel like a true break from the hard work of being a mama. Another idea is bringing her a soft, cozy blanket to use while she’s snuggling that sweet baby all day. I know that in those first few weeks all I did was snuggle Judah and allow my body to heal, this time is so important for mama and baby because this is where bonding and healing from birth begin. Both mama and baby worked hard during labor and birth, it’s time for rest. You can bring your new mama friend a good book to read also while she holds her sleeping baby.
If you feel compelled to bring a gift for the baby, diapers and wipes! I repeat: diapers and wipes! It’s frightening how quickly you can go through these things.
Don’t assume they are ready for visitors. At the end of the day, the postpartum period can be so hard. Sleepless nights, ravenous hunger because of breastfeeding, and mama probably hasn’t showered in a few days. Even if you feel the pull to come and hold that sweet baby (even if only to give the mother a break) or do some housework to bless the family, sometimes outside presence can put a strain on the new flow within the household. Offer to help in any way you are able but be open to a soft “no”. Motherhood is hard and sometimes it takes some adjusting, which can be difficult if you feel there’s an audience. Kindly drop groceries at the door or send a card with your telephone number for the family to call when they are ready.
Be a friend. It sounds simple, but it’s so important. This may seem like I’m contradicting my last point, but it’s just a difference in personality or communication. Those early days can feel so lonely, especially after the husband goes back to work. Reaching out and being a voice of hope that there is a life beyond changing diapers and nursing a baby to sleep every two hours can be all a mom needs- whether she has just given birth or not. A community is so important. So rally around each other, mamas! There’s nothing like a village.
Being a mother and raising a baby takes a sweet community of friends lifting up each other in prayer and encouragement. I am so grateful for the village who surrounded me soon after I gave birth and up until now.