Being a new mom is a scary, wonderful, mysterious world. It’s love, fear, panic, and happiness all rolled up into one cute, little swaddle blanket. If your friend just had a baby, she’s probably going to need your help in various ways. Here is my opinion on the 3 most helpful things you can do for a new mom.
1) Ask What Would Be Helpful
Whether it’s a meal, a nap, or a coffee date, ask your new Mama friend what she needs. Not everyone has the same motherhood experience, so don’t assume that all moms need help with the same things. Always ask the new mom what she needs. If her reply is “I don’t know,” offer her a few suggestions based on your own time, talent, and treasure. Here are some ideas:
- Make/Buy and drop off a meal.
- Organize a meal calendar for friends to sign up for and drop off meals. (I like SignupGenius)
- Babysit so she can nap or have a few minutes to herself.
- Help with school and activity drop off/pickup of older kids.
- Pick up a couple of items at the grocery store if you are going any way.
- Bring coffee or meet up for coffee outside of the house.
- Pick up Dry Cleaning.
- Encourage, support, and love that Mama.
2) Be a Good Listener
Sometimes all a new mom needs is someone to bounce her thoughts and feelings off of. Be a good listener and sounding board for your mommy friend to talk to. Try not to interject too much advice (unless you are asked, of course), but remember, there are different options and opinions everywhere.
The more you listen and validate her feelings, the more at ease she will feel in her new role as a mom. Whether it’s her first or fifth child, every mom needs to feel supported, loved, and listened to. Don’t be judgy or abrupt.
Instead of giving your opinion and focusing on what to say next, focus on her words, feelings and emotions. She will be very grateful.
3) Watch for Trouble Signs
If you notice that your friend has withdrawn, become increasingly sad, depressed, or has anxiety that is debilitating, you may want to sit down with her to talk about the Baby Blues and Postpartum Mood Disorders. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, please bring your concerns to the attention of her partner, husband, best friend, Mom, or other family members.
Postpartum Mood Disorders like Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Anxiety, Postpartum Psychosis, and Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are serious diseases that require medical intervention and monitoring. If your friend does have a Postpartum Mood Disorder (PMD), remind her that 1 in 7 women are affected by PMDs. There is help. She is not alone. Encourage her to talk to her doctor. The feelings she is having are the disease and not a reflection on her or her ability to be a great mom. She will get better. This is not the new normal. My favorite resource for Perinatal Mood Disorders is Postpartum Progress.
Please emphasize to your friend that if she feels she is a danger to her baby or herself to dial 911.
She is loved and important to so many people. There is no shame in keeping yourself safe.
I hope you found these tips helpful. If you have another tip, please share it in the comments be-low.
Stay tuned for my upcoming post, “The 3 LEAST Helpful Things You Can Do For a New Mom.”