One of the frequently asked questions that I get is about what you should do when your friend has a baby. This question may seem to pop up randomly but the same actually crosses many people’s minds especially to those who don’t have kids of their own or those who are at that point in life where many of their friends or relatives are already having kids.
In today’s episode, we’ll talk more about how to best show your support to your friends and family when you reach that certain point in life and we’ll dive into relevant topics necessary for you to learn more about what you need to know.
What you need to know as a support person.
The main thing that you need to know is that you can’t fully understand what’s going on especially if you don’t have kids. However, this should not hinder you from providing support. You can sympathize in a way that’s helpful and compassionate.
In case you don’t know how or where to start, think about a time when you felt a bit helpless or lost but you knew you needed help. If you could do that, that’s going to be helpful for you as a support person. The shared understanding is what will make you a great support person.
Sometimes, when wanting to comfort someone, we tend to say we’ll be there to support them but in reality, you don’t know what you need or what to do. It’s a nice gesture although completely useless. Instead, what you should do is to make an offer. Don’t ask them what they need.
What to do if you’re underprepared.
No one’s really prepared for the amount of stuff that comes after having a child and then going home. In my experience, I was grossly underprepared. I took some things from the hospital but didn’t take enough as I could not fathom how much I would need at that moment. Although I’ve learned my lesson for the succeeding visits I’ve had to the hospital.
If you’re feeling unprepared or emotionally all over the place, that’s alright. If you’re going to show your support, it’s going to be an emotional turmoil for sure but as much as possible, be prepared to hold space. Let go of your expectations for what you can do, or how you can help.
Allow them to do and be whatever they need to do and be. Be present and be an empty vessel for them to use in going through such a beautiful journey. That’s the best gift that you can give them – showing up and being present.
Don’t come in and demand anything of the mom.
What usually happens after giving birth and coming home is having visitors and letting them see your baby. For many moms, they’re grateful for those who visit and babysit to give them time to be able to do chores or rest.
Taking some loads off the shoulders of moms may be the first idea that comes to the minds of many but sometimes, the last thing on the mind of a mom is doing the laundry or dishes. She should be able to decide what exactly she wants.
Don’t come in and demand anything of the mom. Carefully think about how you’ll go in there and how you’ll ask to take some of the heaviness away. Give them options and let them tell you what feels most comfortable rather than just coming and doing what you think is best because that’s only going to overwhelm them.
Things that make it easier for moms and dads.
One thing that no one said but that I have seen several times is that if you’re close friends or you’ve known them for a long time, it might be nice to help your friend or colleague feel like his or her old self again rather than reminding them and reassuring them that they are still the person that they were before the baby came into their lives.
Remind them that they have a whole identity outside the house and their baby. We also have to understand that they don’t need fixing because they’re not broken. They’re simply figuring out a new thing. They’ve changed in a way that they need some reassurance that they’re on the right track.
Hiring someone to do chores also makes things easier for the parents but you should consult them first. In fact, my mother hired a night nurse for me and it’s the most amazing thing ever.
Bringing food is a lovely yet inconvenient gesture.
In the US, it’s common to bring food for any event that’s happening whether good or bad. While it’s a lovely gesture to do, it’s actually the most inconvenient thing in the world.
There are things to consider when bringing food such as the number of people who will eat it, their taste preference, and the like. We don’t want them to get sick of having the food after a few days.
And so, if you’re going to bring food, make sure that they’re easy to eat. Typically, people give out cookies, granola bars and brownies because they’re convenient to buy or make and easy to eat yet still enjoyable. Some people also bring fruits and coffee.
Despite having mobile applications for online food delivery, sometimes, the process of thinking about what to buy and everything else is too much when you’re still trying to process having a new child in your home. That’s why dropping things off that you know they’ll need and are easy will be very much appreciated.
How do you support a friend who doesn’t have family support?
If you want to offer help to a friend or even a relative who doesn’t have familial support for whatever reason, you can take up the role of being a mom although you have to be cautious. You shouldn’t just assume anything or put it on them.
Continued care is one of the best ways to show your support to a friend. Like what our parents usually do for us, that’s what being there for your friend is like – being physically present and doing things for them, so that they will no longer have to worry about those things on top of taking care of their baby.
Doing these things will help moms heal and rest. We want to try to get them back to a baseline from before having their child because having a new child puts them in a very emotional toll alongside having to endure physical changes.
This applies not just to birthing moms but even if you’re adopting. This is for anyone who brings a new child into their house. There’s no doubt that it’s an exhausting and emotional journey for them which is why we want to offer our support. We all need as many great friends as we can get especially in the toughest times.
Stay tuned for more episodes! I’ll also be having a new segment in addition to all the professional stuff that I do for everyone to know the whole other side of me so make sure to watch out for that.
If you have any questions, you may send them to email@example.com. You may also check our services at Reinvention Mom website (https://reinventionmom.com/) if you’re looking for support, courses, coaching and more.
Links and Resources:
Slow Horses Apple TV
New GIrl Netflix