Whether we’re in our first or our fourth trimester, moms needs support. Whether that support means coming over to our house and cleaning it for us or leaving us alone, we need it. We’re in the midst of intense physical, emotional, hormonal, and mental changes, most of which are beyond our control. It is a time when we should be treated as the queens we are. And, sadly, many of us are not treated properly. But, that’s the story of being a woman in this world, amiright?
If you are a woman or know a woman who is becoming a mother – whether this is her first baby or her tenth, whether she is pregnant or adopting – you have an awesome opportunity to make a difference for a woman who is undoubtedly experiencing a roller coaster of happiness, fear, trepidation, gratitude, and impatience. Now is the time to be selfless, not selfish.
Here are some Do’s and Do Not’s to help you be the best support that you can be!
Do send that text that says “Just thinking of you.” Expecting and newborning can be a very lonely process. Hearing someone say, “I’m thinking of you,” is a small and easy way to tell a new mom that she isn’t alone. You may have no idea how much you are helping her feel less alone.
Do Not send texts saying “I can’t wait until baby arrives.” Newsflash: this ain’t about you. No mom needs to hear how her impending birth is impacting you. She doesn’t care.
Do ask if mom needs anything. Want to grab a pre-baby pedicure? Can I drop off your favorite decaf, pumpkin spice latte with coconut milk while you’re stuck in your glider, nursing around the clock? Can I take your toddler to the park to give you a break? I’ll be honest that I’m likely to say “no” to a vague “need anything” request, but something thoughtful and specific might trigger my brain to say “that’s exactly what I need.” Regardless of how you ask it, offering to help is always appreciated!
Do Not demand to visit the new baby. If you haven’t already figured it out, I’ll repeat myself: it ain’t about you. Tough love: being invited to spend time with a new mom and her baby is a privilege. If mom invites you to visit, then visit! But, you do not get to dictate when or for how long. If mom says “no visitors for a month,” then respect her wishes. She’s going through a lot, and she’s not even her own top priority! Her baby is. She doesn’t need to deal with your demands, too.
Do let mom know that you’re available. One of the most amazing things anyone said to me after my first baby was born was a short text: “Newborning is hard. Text me anytime, day or night. I’m here to listen if you need me.” Another veteran mom said the following, “I want to encourage you, but I don’t want to overwhelm you with advice you don’t need. It’s OK to say ‘I just need to vent’ or ‘I could use your help.'” These were the moms that I reached out to. Even at 3 a.m. And this is my motto for all of my new mom friends. I’m here when you need me. I’m always an ear to listen.
Do Not offer unsolicited advice. Or, worse, judgment. This one is self explanatory, right?
Do offer as much encouragement as you can. You’re doing a great job. This is hard work, and you’re doing it beautifully. You’re such a good mom.
Do Not feel as though you need to do or say anything. If I was given a choice between someone thinking they need to say something and putting their foot in their mouth or saying nothing at all, I’d pick nothing at all. Babies aren’t for everyone. The whole process can be a little scary and overwhelming. That’s ok. I’m still a whole person outside of my motherhood. I love my job. I love my family. I am passionate about current events and social justice and the environment and hot tea and really good books and scary movies and anything related to Harry Potter. only will I enjoy talking about something other than my mommyhood, but I’ll appreciate the respect you give to the fact that there is more to me than being a mom.