Right now I have several friends with little tiny sweet babies in that fussy, handful, really exhausting new baby stage. While I am no expert, I am someone who had the “baby blues” pretty strongly when both of my kiddos were tiny babes. I’m putting “baby blues” in quotes because it’s a pretty charming name for sobbing at literally everything as your mind and body are put through the ringer in a way no amount of reading prepares you to experience first hand.
You wouldn’t know it from this smiley picture taken a week or two after Hank was born that I posted on Facebook. I’m all “Look at me, I’ve got this. My hair is washed AND styled people!” I’m sure I did feel that way when it was taken, but I know for a fact I sobbed that day because I pretty much cried every day after both my kids were born for several weeks. Because I wanted to shower. Because my parents brought food over, but were just going to drop it off to give us space instead of coming in to watch us be exhausted. Because I wanted to go outside and water my plants. Because I missed playing with Hank when Kate was a newborn. Because the baby never. stopped. crying. Because I was nervous the babies didn’t weigh enough. Because the neighbors revved their motorcycle.
Because I was a walking cocktail of volatile hormones.
So it’s pretty easy to block out a lot of what you go through in those first weeks and months once you can view them at a safe distance. BUT knowing my friends may be experiencing those things at this exact moment has me thinking. I’m not a fan of all of those posts about what you shouldn’t say to people in certain circumstances, but if you want to really make a difference for your new mom friend/spouse/sibling here are a few things you could do:
1) Offer to come sit with the baby so they can shower.
2) Drop off food without any expectation of visiting with them.
3) Provide chocolate.
4) Ask them how they are and let them know you really want to hear the answer. Do this at one week, two weeks, and every few weeks thereafter until the mom no longer seems exhausted (which may be when the child is 18). If your friend says she is ok, but seems run down be there for her and offer help.
5) Text your new mom friend or her spouse the next time you are at Target and ask them what they need. Get it for them, and also bring chocolate.
6) Help her get fresh air. New moms are couped-up, stir crazy, formerly busy independent people. If babies are born in cold and flu season, new moms dont want people coughing on their precious bundles and if they are born in the summer, its too hot and they don’t want said precious bundles to roast. But your friend misses fresh air. She misses sunshine. She misses getting in their car without a screaming baby. Help a sister out. Giver her a visa gift card with the stipulation it not be used on baby items or offer to watch the baby at a store so she can try on clothes, or go with her while a grandparent or spouse watches the baby.
7) If you think you’ve given enough chocolate, give more. And also a gift card to her favorite pizza place.
I’ve failed miserably at this list with my own friends, but I hope they all know I’m right there with them cheering them on.
Every diaper change, every ridiculous sobfest, every bone-tired feeding. I’ve been there. I’ve cried in the shower over that. I’ve got your back. I’m your fan club president starting a slow clap in your honor.
Welcome to the sorority of motherhood – like college, but with fewer party tops.