My best friend on the planet gave birth to her third child this month. And as I held the little bundle of joy, I thought about the people who want to show up for their loved ones in the new season of motherhood/parenthood, but aren’t quite sure the road to take.
And since this isn’t my first rodeo, I came up with a handy list of the most important ways to show up for your new parent pals – especially the mommas.
1. Stop telling her what she should or shouldn’t eat/drink/do/read….and so on and so on. Chances are, she heard it already, and it can be rather overwhelming to hear that when you’re not pregnant – can you imagine if someone was micromanaging your every move while you’re growing a tiny human inside of you?! Insanity.
2. Don’t show up without calling. Yes, I know they’re your best friend. Your soul sister. Your actual sister. Your cousin. Your best gal pal. I get it. But you still need to call. They just pushed a human out of their body, or they got a gigantic cut on their abdomen and had a human removed from their body. Either way – it’s taxing and tiring and you should just call, and make sure that they’re up for company. Maybe she’ll want you to come over a different day, or maybe that day will be perfect. Either way, she’ll appreciate you giving her the time and space to make that decision.
3. When she does say come over, bring something for her, the momma. Chances are she’s not going to need yet another onesie, but those flowers, or bottle of wine, or yoga pants will probably make her day.
4. While you’re there visiting, watch the new baby while she takes a nap. Or a shower. Or goes to run an errand. Or heck, do all three if you have the time. It’ll be like you just handed her a million dollars.
5. If she has older children, don’t forget to pay them attention to – especially if they’re little. Imagine being a toddler – chances are you’re the center of your parents world, and then all of a sudden they come home from the hospital, and you have to share your house, your toys, your daddy, and now your mommy with a new tiny human that you’ve never even met! It’s pretty jarring. When you pay attention to the older siblings, it makes life a bit easier for that momma, if only for an hour or two.
6. Call. Text. Check in. Especially when the newness of her newfound motherhood fades from everyone’s first priority. Feeding a child at the wee hours of the morning is beautiful – but it’s all too easy to lose yourself to the darkness of the night. It can feel lonely, and after everyone stops “oo-ing and ah-ing”, you’re friend is going to need to know that she’s not alone. Text messages are a great way to check in without the pressure of having to respond. Voicemails, (yes, voicemails), are a great way to connect and have her hear you – which is a wonderful way to remember that you are not alone.
7. Listen with love. Maybe she’ll be gushing about how much she’s in love with motherhood. Maybe she’ll be crying about how she feels like she has no idea what she’s doing and she’s the worst mothering the world. Maybe it’ll be a combination of the two. Either way – listen. Love. Remind her that she’s not alone. Remind her that loving her child is the most important thing, and that it’s ok too lean on those who love her, too.