For years, I was scared of the first few weeks after giving birth. I had this before I even had my first boyfriend or my first kiss. I’m not sure why because it wasn’t like I had a ton of experience with newborns, but it was there in the back of my mind, along with this intense fear of actually giving birth to a baby.
Fast forward to years later when it was time to give birth, and I was still scared, but I was prepared for those first few weeks I had imagined as being somewhat hellish. I wasn’t prepared in the way that meant my house floors were mopped, and my fridge was cleaned; I just made sure to ask my mom if she would make my favorite pancakes while she was visiting, and I made sure I had all of the ingredients. I asked my sister ahead of time to bring me a Sweet Tooth Fairy Cupcake to the hospital. I knew this time could be very stressful as I went from just hanging out with James every night to trying to figure out how to keep a little human alive and happy. And I knew myself: my hormones would be out of whack.
I know I’m very fortunate for a few reasons: I didn’t have a difficult delivery (thank you, epidural) and I didn’t experience postpartum depression. I can’t imagine how hard it would be for women who do experience those things. Even without those hard situations, it was still tough transitioning to becoming a parent and learning how to deal with my raging hormones.
I so appreciated the people who brought us meals, even when I was ready to get up and make my own. I could’ve gotten up and heated the taquitos I had made and frozen ahead of time, but that support was meaningful because it meant other people were aware of us. So even if I would’ve been okay physically, it meant a lot to me emotionally.
Yes, moms are thrilled with their new babies, but a free pizza or a plate of cookies could go a long way for the heart of a mama. Here are a few ideas of things to do for new parents, but specifically new moms (I love dads, but they don’t have to deal with raging hormones).
1. Bring a delicious dinner. I feel like this is the most obvious, but it’s also super helpful for new families and relatively easy for you. Check with the family to see if they would like a dinner, or if they need something that can be saved or frozen. Try to use a container they don’t have to return, like these aluminum foil containers or an old Cool Whip container (make sure you clean it out first). I have a few food allergies, so I also appreciated when people inquired about allergies.
2. Bring treats. Maybe you don’t have the time or means to make a meal, but a simple treat can go a long way. Whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies (like these salty browned butter chocolate chip cookies – EVERYONE I’ve made them for raves about them) or pick up a cupcake (obviously, I’m a huge cupcake fan).
3. Make a sincere offer to help. Don’t say, “Let me know if you need any help!” because 99.9% of the time, people won’t let you know, even though they could really use a hand with laundry or there’s still jam stuck on the kitchen floor from before the baby came. Try saying something like, “I have a few hours tomorrow, and I want to help you. Think of things I could do.” Oh my gosh, I would love this…even now.
4. Offer to watch other kids in the family. If there are older kids in the family, probably one of the most helpful things you could do for a mama just after giving birth is to take the kids. This could give the new mom a chance to catch up on a nap or her Facebook feed, whatever she’s itching to do.
5. Offer to go to grocery shopping. Sure, hubby can go to the store to get what wifey needs, but I know after I had Haven, I wanted James home as much as possible. This may be an excellent option for service if time is one of the few things you can give.
What are some ways you’ve helped new moms? How has someone served you after you gave birth? Comment with your ideas!