If you bring a mom a muffin. (Ways to help a new mother.)

September 28, 2016

newborn-time
 

I don’t think we talk about postpartum recovery very honestly amongst each other. It’s easier to talk baby names and birth stories than it is to address how difficult the first weeks and months after having a baby can be. I have had a different recovery process for each of my children, but I can tell you after having my 5th child Azelie, I was more tired and in need of help than I have ever been. More due to the fact I still have a 14 month old that is glued to his mother’s ankles, and a three year old trying to adjust in his own stubborn way to a new little one. But you know what? I have never been more humbled by the people that have showed up for me. Our “tribe” as you would call it that have shown up in ways I really needed. I wanted to write a few ways that have helped me tremendously navigate the first blurry weeks of postpartum in hopes to help more women who may also be in need. Here are a few things you can do for any new mother, whether it be their first or fifth, that can be incredibly comforting or helpful in the postpartum weeks.

  1. Bring them a meal or a muffin. Food will always be a love language of mine, but for most women, gifts of food can make us feel taken care of. We are usually the ones cooking for our family, so when someone shows up at your door with a casserole or even sushi take out, you feel immediate waves of gratitude. Energy is sorely lacking in the first few weeks, so any shortcuts on time in the kitchen is welcomed with open arms. I have had friends bring by lattes and scones, take out pizza, or even homemade oatmeal. It doesn’t matter what it is, food can move mountains within us as new mothers. 
  2. Sweep their front porch. I have never been good at accepting acts of service from others. I will offer my help to others all day long, but accepting it from others? I am awful. Except with this new baby, I have never felt the need for help more than now. When a friend of mine came to visit not only with a homemade meal and a bag of taffy, she insisted on sweeping my kitchen and front porch while we chatted. For the first time, I was okay with this. I knew it was a time I needed to rest, and it was a time she was able to serve. Offer new mothers your service in unconventional ways. Maybe they don’t need it in the form of cleaning, but I bet if you offer to do a store run for them they will take you up on it!
  3. Check in often. We women aren’t very good at vulnerability, and I am very guilty of putting up a strong front at all times. A text of “let me know if you need anything!” isn’t quite as effective as a phone call. I am much more likely to tell you how I am really doing if you ask me three times. Ask me once and I will say just fine. Ask me twice and I will maybe make a sarcastic joke about how crazy the week has been. Ask me three times and I will finally get that you really care, so I will give an honest response. When you are tending the needs of little ones all day long, a listening ear is a comfort. 
  4. Offer to take children out for a date. My family proved to us how incredible it can be to have a few hours of silence! My sister and mom were so good about offering to take my little ones out a few different times so I could catch up on sleep…or a shower….or maybe even have a two sentence conversation with my husband without being interrupted. I can’t tell you how rejuvenating it can be to a new mother to have silence when you are exceptionally tired. Every time my children came back happier too, because they got to get out of the house with some of their favorite people. I didn’t have the luxury of having family close by till recently, so if you know a mother without family in town, step up and be family to them as a friend!
  5. Sit and stay awhile. This may be different for each person and change depending on the day, but when you have a baby, you are homebound for at least a few weeks. All you want to do is hold that baby, but it can often bring with it feelings of isolation or loneliness. I am someone who welcomes friends and family to sit and stay awhile, because more often than not, I haven’t spoken to an adult that day. Granted there are days I just want to curl up in my bed and forget there are any other people or responsibilities in the world! In fact, you might walk in my house to find me cuddling a gallon of ice cream. However, for the most part, showing up and bringing a smiling face can change a day around.

big-bro

 

I am finally navigating my way out of the fog, and feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for the grace delivered to us in the face of family, friends, and even strangers. A new baby has always shown me the generosity of human nature, and encouraged me to love my own friends the way they have loved my family. So don’t underestimate the power of a small act of service, and don’t ever doubt that a new mother needs it….even if she puts up a strong front;)

Leave a Comment

  • Jessica Barton

    Fantastic post Anna. I agree with it all:) love and miss you sister.

  • I agreed with you that we don’t talk the big talk about postpartum recovery or postpartum depression either, So glad your tribe is taking care of you and your little people.
    xo
    Carolina MJ | http://www.dearbabymj.com

  • Anna, I think this is the BEST photo of the day! Your little Rocco makes me laugh every time I see him.. what a fun kid he must be! And these two kiddos look like pals already!!

  • Ah so true! I just had my third in July and we don’t live close to family. Friends went above and beyond! Most people think if they can’t do whole lot than it isn’t helpful. Not true. Like you said, a latte or a muffin will make a nursing mother so happy!

  • I had a friend who actually brought us muffins when I had my daughter, and they were my personal snack during those late night nursing sessions, and I was so grateful for them. Another friend took my son for the day to play with her kids at a museum and it was seriously so heavenly. People who help new moms are saints.

  • Great post. Postpartum Doula gift certificates are another great idea!! Doula’s with DONA certification are well educated and a great resource for any family welcoming a newborn!

  • I am two days postpartum with baby no #5. My oldest is 8. We have no family and only (whatI I would call) friendly acquaintances as we have only lived in the area a few years. Ive never had any of the above and can attest that I would have appreciated any kind of help and kinship during each postpartum period. Im struggling to relax and sit when so much needs to be done even though my husband is doing his best bless him 🙂

    • Oh Terri I could shed many tears for you because I know exactly how that feels. My husband was doing as much as he could our first few days home, and it still felt overwhelming. I hope hope hope you get the rest you need, and pray you find your tribe soon. Us mothers need it so. Hugs!

    • Dear Terri, hang in there. If anyone offers, accept! I’m just home from the hospital with #6. It’s amazing how much each baby changes your household. So many of the kids react to the newest baby in their own way.
      Prayers that God helps you find your tribe. I am beyond blessed in having mine. ?

  • I love this! I completely agree! I also think a fantastic gift for a mom who isn’t having her first (well, a first-time mom would appreciate it too, probably but needs other things as well) would be a gift certificate for a house cleaner! It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the mess, so it would be nice to have one less thing to worry about when you have a newborn plus others running around!

  • This is so amazing and on point. Thank you for putting it all into words.

  • My mother, now in her hundredth year, taught me to never visit a new mother unless I could be of assistance. She is so right!

  • Jess Inskeep

    Love these! Great idea for a post! As a new mom I can appreciate this much more than I would have before. We like to show that we have it all together even if we are falling apart a bit. These acts of kindness go a LONG way : )

  • Anna, I love this! I am a yoga instructor and I work with a lot of prenatal and postnatal moms. I love when they take the time to come to class after they have had a baby (and even bring the baby) and give themselves some space and time. I always try to remind them to slow down and take all the help they can get. Such a powerful reminder! And food was the BEST gift I got after I had my son!!!!

  • We just had our first. She was eleven weeks premature and I was on bed rest in the hospital for seven weeks prior to that. Without the help of my mother-in-law who stayed with us for a week and cleaned and cooked and helped us make room for baby things, and the kindness of many friends who visited me in the hospital and brought food for me and my husband, I think I would have lost my mind in the hospital and I know I would have either set my postpartum recovery back by trying to do too much when I came home, or just given in to depression over a neglected house and hospitalized baby and done nothing at all. We are incredibly blessed to have friends and family who helped us in the difficult days before bringing baby home, and I know they will be there for us again after she comes home.

  • First, congratulations on Baby Azelie! This has so been on my mind. We have a six-month-old and 2.5 year old, have lived in our area for four years with no family nearby. I think every day about supporting Moms in our situation because I know how much I needed (and still need) help, a kind gesture, adult conversation, etc. We were so lucky to be able to pay for post-partum doula support, but that was just a drop in the bucket for us as my husband travels for work. Thank you for putting this into words – I’m going to make it my mission! All the best to you and your family.

  • […] Leave room in your heart for the unimaginable 2. Introducing Azelie Jane 3. If you bring a mom a muffin: ways to help a new mother 4. Meeting Little Flower 5. Dining room makeover reveal 6. Three dutch braid hairstyles 7. Packing […]

Copyright © 2017 In Honor Of Design. Theme by Maiden Sites, Site hosting by Flywheel