I thought it would be fun to change it up and make this post a list about the transition to new motherhood!
We just brought our new addition home a few weeks ago and it’s been an interesting journey! I thought I would share some of the ways I have needed support and gotten support from the community around me during this transition! My friends and fam has been awesome. So many people have gone out of their way to call, text, and come visit.
If this resonates with you share it and add your own!
Don’t Take it Personal when She needs Space and Adjustment Time.
She may want to not have to put on a bra or go in the other room to breastfeed when you come over. She may need to sprawl out on the couch and rest her body. When you deliver a baby so many hands and eyes are fixed on your most intimate areas that sometimes you need a break from being looked at altogether. A sense of normalcy has to return to her. Don’t smother the new mother. Let her breathe and figure out the areas she needs help in so she can embrace her new normal feeling supported. She may want and need to be home alone with the baby. I know after I birthed my first, all I wanted was peace and quiet after being in the loud brightly lit hospital. After this second one I was really fighting to stay encouraged. The pain felt like it was never going to end and I just wanted to listen to him breathe and coo and watch him stare into space. It was hard to not feel like I could do basic things myself. I was constantly texting my mom friends and my mama tribe group text for support. God also just had me sit in my discontentment cause he wanted to show me how desperately I need him physically and spiritually.
Sidenote: I also wanted whoever was around my newborn to be healthy or even to have had certain shots. If they weren’t comfortable with that, they just had to wait until baby was bigger with a better immune system.
Listen to her more than you advise her.
All new moms need advice. We know it and you know it. A lot of people I know will reach out when they need help or have questions about a particular thing. Generations past have ways they raised babies and it’s always changing. The main thing with advice is have a general respect for whatever she chooses to do, even if she disagrees with you. If you have something you are dying to share, ask if she minds a suggestion or if you share something that worked for you. Allow her to answer you honestly before your give your two cents. Believe it or not, you get a lot of the same advice and questions from everyone after you give birth and it can get exhausting hearing and responding to the same questions or comments.
Have positive and adult conversations with her.
She’s knee deep in baby stuff all day and may even be sleep deprived. When you see her, sure ask about the baby, but as temping as it is, don’t force the whole conversation to be about baby or kid stuff. She’s up to her brain in that already. A lot of people asked me over and over about if I was sleep deprived and miserable or asked specifics about the baby. It’s okay to talk positively about new babies too. Ask her how she’s taking care of herself, what book she’s reading or wants to read. Ask when y’all can go grab coffee or bring her a special treat. Tell her she looks amazing because she probably won’t feel like she does. Think about her as a woman and not just mom. This is an adjustment, but it’s not a prison sentence. The upbeat and positive way you talk to her can encourage and refresh her more than you think. It’s always good to be reminded that you’re still a person outside of being a mom especially when there is all the responsibility to mom all day and night.
Ask her husband how he’s doing and actually listen.
Dads transition too. Dads need people checking in on them and to have conversations that don’t include diapers, bottles and child things as well. Nudge your husband in his direction. Make sure the dad is being talked with as well. Men bear a completely different load mentally than women so they need to be cared for as well by other men who have been there. They need someone to serve them as well.
Don’t ask her to “just bring the baby.”
This one applies for the first year of the baby’s life. Seriously, don’t. One of the most frustrating things is when someone says “just bring the baby” or just straight up doesn’t invite you cause they assume you’re too busy or tired. Just give your invite and let her decide what to do with it. Some new moms will say no, and some will be dying to get out of the house. You never know where someone is mentally and you don’t want to contribute to any heaviness or mental exhaustion she already feels. Treat new moms like everyone else, just ask and let the answer fall where it may.
Sidenote: Don’t be surprised if she gets tired or irritated of people asking where the baby is. (Cause like I said, everyone asks you the SAME things when you transition in life) Dads don’t get this question nearly as often as moms and it’s cause we assume babies are always supposed to be with mom. But y’all, Dads don’t babysit, they parent. So when my child isn’t with me, he’s probably with his other parent… Thank God for great fathers who let mom be free and alone in the quiet to recharge. Regardless of where the kids are, if she doesn’t have the a child attached to her boob or her leg, please let her enjoy her freedom.
Whether she’s breastfeeding, bottle feeding, co-sleeping, rocking to sleep, or whatever else, if wants you to have an update on how it’s going she’s gonna let you know.
I had so many people I had never had a real conversation with prior to having my baby tell me their DELIVERY HORROR STORY. Boundaries people! If you run out of stuff to say just change the topic. No need to get graphic with unassuming individuals. Spare them. Please for the love of everything good, spare them. And don’t ask prying questions if you aren’t actually close with someone. Some topics can be hard topics that are not usually appropriate in small talk settings depending on what the new parents are walking through. Just stick to talking about her and her well being, and dads well being and if she’s comfortable, she’ll tell you whatever details she wants you to know. Easy peasy.
Pray for her.
As often as you think to do it, do it. Bringing a child into the world is draining in every way and full of joy in every way. Anything worth having is worth fighting for and she will be tired from all the fighting she has been through. Send the encouraging text. Mail the cute little note you wrote her. Send a gift card to her house so they can get food delivered. Treat her to a manicure or pedicure. Know if she likes to be surprised at home or if she likes her space. If she’s introverted or extraverted and honor that. Let her know you’re there for her and keep checking in. If you know who her best friend is, or her mom is check in with them and ask what she needs. Pray that she doesn’t feel overwhelmed or obligated to have people over. That she feels freedom to rest in Jesus and confide in her close friends. Pray that her and her husband can connect and not just have to power through or survive. Pray that she leans into the grace of Jesus and that she can appreciate and cherish every fleeting moment. That when she plays with those tiny hands and feet or looks into those endlessly deep eyes she can see the mercy and power of the Father who cares and loves her more deeply and intimately than you or anyone ever could.
Love her well by praying and believing God for her and with her.
Written by: Calah Jackson