A baby is born, and all attention goes to them. People come to the hospital to see the baby. People ask for pictures of the baby. People who weren’t involved in the pregnancy or have even met the baby see pictures online and comment “Look at my baby! Auntie loves you!” Moms are hardly the focus of the event even though they just went through something incredibly difficult and life changing. Moms are even less of a center of the attention after they get home from the hospital. We at The Mother’s Nest recognize this and want all moms to know we see you and are here for you. If your friend has recently had a baby, and by recently we mean at all, hear are a few ways that you can help her still feel seen and important.
- Take her food and play with her kids
So often life gets in the way and it can be dinner time before a mom realizes she hasn’t had anything to drink or eat all day and tells herself she still doesn’t have time. Don’t just take food and drop it off. Allow her time to eat it while it’s warm.
- Clean for her
You don’t have to hire a cleaning crew. Just fold the laundry that she has been staring at for days feeling the overwhelming pressure to get done but not being able to find the energy or strength to do it. Put a load of dishes in the dish washer. Vacuum for her. Anything to show her you are on her team to get things done and to take some anxiety of things not being done off her shoulders.
- Talk to her
Talk to her about things other than her baby. Ask about her. If she tells you she is “fine” when she is clearly not, tell her it is okay to not be okay and that she is loved and supported. Tell her she is brave and strong for talking about hard things.
- Listen to her
Justify her feelings if she confides in you. Don’t tell her she just needs a nap or a shower. She probably would love either of those, but her feelings are still completely valid. Let her be heard.
Tell her she is a good mom.
Odds are good, she is comparing herself to everyone else just like every other human being on the planet. With this comparison comes self-doubt and judgement. Tell her she is a good mom, but also tell her how. “You are a good mom because your baby is warm, and fed, and changed. You are exactly the mom your baby needs.”
- Check on her more than once
Show her she isn’t as alone in the world as she thinks. Ask how she is, even if it’s only over the phone or through a text. Tell her what she needs to hear where she is having a hard day. Show her you are there for her no matter what or when.
Support her in decisions to seek help.
Tell her she is making a good choice when she reaches out for help. Watch her baby so she can see a doctor or go to therapy. Offer to drive her there and stay with her during the appointment is she wants you to. Be on her team no matter what.
Remember! These needs don't go away as baby leaves the newborn stage. Keep up with these things throughout the first year.