We’ve all heard it takes a village. And when welcoming a new baby into the world, the maxim elevates to a whole other level. Even when all in the pregnancy and birthing realm goes “as planned” it is still one of the most emotionally and physically demanding experiences in life.
And that’s where YOU come in, you fantastic Friend you!
Having recently welcomed my second child into the world, kindnesses from friends are fresh in my mind and heart. Hopefully these inspire you in some way to lend your “with child” friend a helping hand.
Checking in to see how your pregnant friend is feeling is always welcomed. This can be an intense time of evaluation, organization, and evolution. Relationships, the homefront, her body and psyche are experiencing great change.
One friend gave me a deck of simple, sweet, and empowering affirmation cards. Another gifted me a priceless pregnancy photography session to document the special time. Yet another presented bags of previously loved maternity clothing she had worn. Stretchy pants to the rescue! Plus now I’m enjoying the pleasure of passing these quality clothes on to expecting friends.
My first time around I was new to all the gadgets associated with newborns so I appreciated curated lists from a few friends whom had already ventured into parenthood with recommendations on the baby gear front…favorite carrier, carseat, stroller, play mat, diapers, etc. Cross referencing those gave me an idea for what would truly make life easier and what was excess.
Baby showers and mother blessingways are lovely rites of passage. I’ve felt very supported, excited, and loved at the gatherings thrown for me and take great pleasure in hosting celebrations for other expectant mamas. No physical presents are even needed. Perhaps opt for guests writing wishes or hopes, sharing poetry or advice, or an activity such as belly casting, henna body art, or gentle prenatal massage. Hosts and parent/s-to-be can choose their own adventure here ranging from presents on registry lists to postpartum meal sign ups.
Practical and very much appreciated, having nourishing meals brought to our home proved incredibly helpful. Breastfeeding usually makes one extra ravenous, and lately I’ve been thrilled to devour the delicious treats prepared while friends and family cuddle one of the newest (and cutest!) members of humanity.
Meal Train is a great resource for organizing dinner delivery sign ups via online calendar, and many meal and grocery delivery options like Munchery, Good Eggs, and Instacart have gift certificate options available to give to an expanding family. Of course stay mindful of the parents’ comfort level with visits, cleanliness, and child handling, and probably steer clear of the nesting family if you have a case of the sniffles.
I’ve appreciated people coming to give the new baby some hugs…and then taking our toddler to the playground. Being aware of an older sibling’s needs to be seen and played with is key so it’s been much appreciated when friends bring a little onesie for the baby and a little something for her older sister. Plus some positive reinforcement for her awesomely innate sistering skills probably doesn’t hurt either!
Having some time to nurse peacefully or take an herbal sitz bath post birth while the older kid/s are being entertained is invaluable. Especially if wounds, stitches, hemorrhoids, ice pack panties, or sleep deprivation are in the new mother’s birthing aftermath mix, mobility can be seriously limited.
Put yourself to work when you visit the family…fold laundry, wash dishes, feed the cat, walk the dog, take out the trash, put flowers in a vase, or give the gift of a visit from a housekeeper. Mama needs to clock some hours lying in bed recuperating from her miracle marathon.
A few weeks or months down the road post birth day, perhaps volunteer for a date night babysitting session or help your friend throw an official welcoming party where champagne corks are popped and the little one is snuggled by loving admirers. Parents can speak of their experience thus far, the meaning and significance of names chosen for their bundle of joy, and introduce well wishing guests to each other, further growing the supportive web of friends surrounding the new family unit.