I think most people never realize what they are in for once a baby comes home from the hospital. They have an inkling of an idea, but that idea is shattered the moment they walk over the threshold into the home where they will nurture this tiny helpless non-communicative human. We all know advice is easy to dole out. We have all seen lists of things to not say to new moms. I could go on for days, but I won’t.
Instead, I want to focus on the one thing you SHOULD do for a new mom.
Throughout pregnancy, the mom-to-be (M2B) is the star. The anticipation of the baby’s arrival grows as the mother starts to show. The M2B is showered with gifts to make new life with a baby a little easier.
But what about once the baby is born? Baby becomes the star; family and friends can’t wait to get their hands on the newest addition. So much so, that a new mom can feel completely unheard and non-important.
What about me?
The excitement of a new baby is usually exactly how you imagine it – everything is the baby, the baby, the baby. But what about the new mom? What is going through her head? Does she want a ton of hospital visitors? Does she want a ton of home visitors the first few weeks of the new babe’s life? When is the last time she talked to an adult that wasn’t her spouse? It’s all too easy to forget that while there is a new baby in the picture, the person that brought that baby into the world is healing on top of adjusting to a completely new life, finding a new ‘normal.’
Adding to that, some moms don’t have the option to take more than minimum time off work. Some dads/partners do not get any type of paid leave to assist in the early weeks of a baby’s life.
Emotions are up and down. Baby blues is a real thing. Postpartum depression is very much a real thing. Sleeplessness? I never knew what utter exhaustion felt like until I had my son.
What can you do?
So, what is the one thing that you should do for a new mom (in my own humble opinion)?
Ask four simple words, six easy syllables. How are YOU feeling?
Have empathy for her, or try to at least. Ask her how she is doing. Acknowledge her independently from the new bundle of joy. Sure, ask about the baby, of course. But, don’t forget about mom. That one question can go a long way for new moms out there.