Brightening a new mom’s day can be quite simple. As I’ve gone through the experience of having a baby and the fogginess that accompanies it, there have been several things that people have done that have blessed my heart. I thought it might be good to share these things since many of our friends are either expecting, are new parents or know someone who is one of the above. Want to bless a new mom? Read on.
1. Initiate with her
There are moments when being a new mom feels like you’ve dropped into an alternate universe. You wonder if anyone out there remembers your existence and you don’t have the time or energy to initiate with others. So it means a lot when someone calls, texts, emails or sends a Facebook message, even if it’s just to say hello. She might not be able to respond right away, but know that she will definitely appreciate being thought of.
2. Encourage her
Pay her a compliment. Send her a song you like. Tell her she will make it. Affirm her. All the endless nights will wear even the most positive mother down. And in those early days, doubt is never far away. Am I feeding my baby enough? Am I feeding her too much? Am I a competent mother? Will I ever fit back into my jeans?? All these questions, on top of the every day challenges, can be discouraging. An encouraging word from you just might be what will help her make it through the day.
3. Offer to bring something she needs
If you’re going to visit their home, ask what you can bring. You never know what they might need but haven’t had the chance to go get. We’ve asked friends to bring juice and paper towels, among other things. They’ll breathe a sigh of relief when you bring them something they need instead of yet another pair of cute baby earmuffs.
4. Bring a meal
Unless she’s a super picky eater, pre-made meals are a surefire welcome gift. Especially in the first couple months when the usual rhythms of life have been turned upside down, having ready-to-eat food available in the home is a huge blessing. It doesn’t have to be gourmet. Simple spaghetti and sauce, soup or stews that can be reheated are great. Just ask in advance for any dietary restrictions.
5. Pray for and with her
The transition into parenthood is often overwhelming. Having someone offer to pray for and with her reminds her that she is not alone and that God can give her the strength she needs. In the whirlwind of feeding the baby, changing dirty diapers, physically recovering and trying to rest, it’s easy for a new mom to feel out of touch with God. So it’s nice when a friend offers to spend a couple moments together with her in God’s presence. And God can use those few minutes to encourage her heart in deeper ways than we can ever do on our own.
6. Don’t overstay your welcome
It’s great to have visitors and friends to share in the joy of the little miracle; to ooh and ahh over the baby. But a new mom needs rest – a lot of it. And she might feel guilty for taking it. So do her a favour by keeping your visit short (under an hour is ideal). The same goes for phone calls; keep them short and sweet (unless she wants to talk more). Be mindful of her time and energy and help her guard her rest.
7. Show interest in her well being
Last but not least, new moms suddenly find themselves constantly giving and attending to their little one. And very naturally, even when other adults are around, the focus is usually on the baby. So be intentional about asking how the mother is feeling. She might not have had a chance to think about herself. Giving her the opportunity to articulate where she’s at will bless her by reminding her that she is important too. And when you ask her how she is, make an effort to really listen to her. I know that for me, it took a while to believe that others wanted to hear how I was doing and weren’t just asking to be polite. Also, don’t be alarmed if she sheds a few tears when she realizes someone actually cares about her.
Of course, encouragement, care and love are needs that all of us have. And the above tips apply to new fathers too. But I suspect that the first few months of being a mother are when a woman is most worn and in need of affirmation. So if you know someone who has just had a baby, reach out to her and offer her a gift of kindness. You will brighten her day.