18 months ago, we welcomed our precious (and extraordinarily handsome) baby boy into the world. We instantly loved him more than we could have ever imagined we would, but as brand-new parents, we knew nothing about caring for a helpless infant. We barely knew which end was up! When it was time to take him home, I felt like I was being pushed out of a nest and expected to fly when I didn’t even have wings. In short, I was terrified. I managed to get through the first and hardest weeks of motherhood, and I attribute that to one thing alone. Community.
The outpouring of care and support we felt was beautiful and overwhelming. I struggled emotionally postpartum, and it was so important to my mental health to know that I wasn’t alone. Knowing how much that meant to me, I now make it my mission to do the same for my friends and family when they are welcoming a new baby into their lives. Here are some practical ways to show a new mother that you care.
Food: As a stay-at-home mom with only one child, I feel that I have more time in this season of my life than I will in some other seasons, and I like to use this time to make home cooked meals for friends and family as baby gifts. But in busier seasons, I might buy a frozen casserole at a farm market, or even just a loaf of homemade bread. It doesn’t have to be fancy. My sister brought me energy balls for a healthy snack to have on hand, and they were the perfect thing for the insatiable hunger that came with breastfeeding.
Groceries: Ask if you can do a grocery run. You can combine it with your own trip to the grocery store, so she doesn’t have to venture out with a tiny baby. Even in the age of grocery pickup, I found this helpful. I didn’t have to get myself and the baby ready to go out and make the half hour drive to the nearest grocery store.
Cleaning: I realize this is a pretty big commitment, especially if you have children of your own, but if you can find childcare and spare a morning to clean a few rooms of her house, she will be so grateful. My wonderful mom and sisters made a schedule to come once a week to clean my house, and I returned the favor when my sister and sister-in-law had babies of their own a few months later.
Clothing for the baby: Few things make me happier than picking out an adorable outfit for the tiniest of humans. In my community, someone is always having a baby, so I take advantage of clothing on sale and keep a stash on hand in case I need a last-minute baby gift.
Gift cards: If you’re uncomfortable picking out clothing for them or just too busy to take the time, gift cards are also wonderful. Babies aren’t cheap! That money will come in handy for diapers, clothing, or one of a billion other things that new babies require.
Last but not least, encourage her. If this is the only thing you wind up doing for her, it will be okay. Tell her you’re praying for her and her baby. Tell her she is strong. Tell her she’s doing a good job. She probably doesn’t know.
I hope this helps you help the new mothers around you. And if you’re the new mother, maybe casually mention this blog post to your friends and family...? May you be blessed with all the love and support you need, mama.