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How to Help Your Friend Who Just Had a Baby

mom & baby May 22, 2018

After having my first baby, I remember feeling so isolated. So alone. My whole world had just changed, but it was just a normal week for my friends without babies. I remember even going out to get lunch with friends shortly after, and not once did anyone ask me, “how are you doing?” SMH.

There were questions about how my baby girl was sleeping, how much she pooped, and other typical baby questions. I can still recall leaving that lunch date and just crying my eyes out on the way home. I called my sister (who has three children), so I knew she’d get it. All I had wanted was to go talk to my friends like friends. And to my surprise, as I’m sitting there trying to nurse my baby in public for one of the first times and not let my boob pop out of my shirt, worrying about germs everywhere and whether or not she was eating enough, I realized that my gossip girl days might be over. I’m sitting there stressing about everything instead of enjoying my time out. I truly think that from that moment on, I isolated myself from those friends. In a military lifestyle, it made the already difficult transition to motherhood even harder.

If you’re a new mom, find some mom-friends! I know right now you say that you don’t want to go to mom groups or mommy and me play dates. I thought the same thing! But trust me, after a few months of sitting at home talking to yourself, you need some mom-friends. I decided to join a local MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) group in Georgia, with reluctance, but ultimately being so happy that I had a few hours a week to talk with other moms in a positive place. I also loved finding a SLAM (Sweat. Like. A. Mother) workout group (where I worked out already) that had a bunch of moms there, and it was a super motivating environment.

The “mom group” for you is out there, but it’s like going out on a first date… you might not get along or connect the first time. See if it’s worth the second date; and if it is, try again. If it’s not, move on. Your “tribe” is out there somewhere. Even Facebook has groups of supportive mamas (don’t get sucked into the drama and judgement-filled ones though. They exist and they’re awful).

Is it selfish that I also remembered feeling very confident and comfortable being pregnant; I loved the attention I got. I’m normally not someone who loves attention, but when you’re pregnant, everyone wants to say hi, everyone asks questions, everyone is just very positive and it’s intoxicating. Even though it can get tiresome, you miss it when it stops happening all together after baby is born.

It’s my hope that if you’re reading this blog post that it’s because you have a friend or sister who is about to have or just had a baby and you want to do the most you can to help them. Here are some ways you can support the new mom: 

  • Come visit and bring me food, but don’t be offended when I ask you to leave.
  • Still invite me to the same things we used to do. If I want to come, I’ll find a way.
  • Don’t buy me any more decorations for the nursery. I don’t want to have to put up your decor that doesn’t match what I’m already doing. If you just can’t stand not coming with a gift, look at my registry or maybe just get a gift card.
  • When we talk on the phone, ask me about ME, not just about baby. Also, be prepared to share extra gossip… I need it!
  • Don’t expect much entertainment besides conversation.
  • Bring a meal for my family -- on this note, please don’t come over with no food and expect me to feed you. You’ll be lucky if I even have a box of Cheez-it crumbs to share.
  • This one you may have to force, but take the baby from me! Tell me to go take a shower. Or tell me to go sit in my room and watch a TV show. It really doesn’t matter, but force me to take a break.
  • Book a massage/pedicure for me AND babysit. Yes the gift card is so thoughtful but if you don’t take the extra step of booking it and watching my little one, I’ll probably still have said gift card on their third birthday….
  • Ask me if I would rather go out than have you come over. Sometimes I desperately need to be part of the world. If we do plan to go out, be on time! There’s so much I have to get together, I will be irritated if I have to wait 20 minutes. And I know it’s not fair, but don’t be frustrated if I’m late. I’m trying, I really am.
  • Be supportive. I am going through a lot and my whole world got flipped upside down. When I vent, I need you to empathize, comfort, and stay positive. Even if you don’t “get it,” I really just want to be heard and loved.

When I asked some of the Moms in my Mommy Feeding Family Community what they’d add to this list, here were some of their answers:

  • Normalizing all the feels and what I’m going through is all I need in a friend! - Kelly Smith
  • Set up a meal train! I’ve had success using an online sign up so others can see who is bringing what and when. - Sarah Van Woerkom
  • I appreciate the clothes I think they are cute ... but diapers are preferred then I don’t have to exchange sizes or worry about returning outfits… plus babies poop A LOT! - Melinda Kimmer
  • Come over and offer to help me clean up. Or, just grab a broom and start sweeping. I will not think you are judging me. - Ashlie Grimwade
  • Come over to visit the baby, but don’t be upset when I go to do a load of laundry, take a shower, etc. instead of entertaining you. - Jessica DiMarco
  • If I have a toddler, it’d be so amazing if you took them to do something. Even just going on a walk with them to the park or playing right outside. Or come over on a weekend and watch BOTH kids so my husband and I can go to lunch. I promise we will return- Sarah Rainey

The truth is, becoming a mom is most thankless job in the world. However, that really doesn’t matter because - to us mamas - it’s the most rewarding thing one can go through. Our emotions can run crazy, but beyond that tough mama bear exterior, we are trying to balance the old life we had and the new life we've begun. We still want to be your friend. We still want to feel included. If you're trying to help your BFF, sister-in-law, or fav coworker out, try any of the tips above. I promise, it won't go unnoticed! 

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