What Did I Really Need as a New Mom?
Before my son arrived, I had grand plans of being self-sufficient upon his arrival. I thought, I will have freezer meals stockpiled, I will neatly label each container in his room, and prewash all blankets and onesies! Then life happened, and none of the above did!
I was so overwhelmed with the needs of the new baby that I couldn’t wrap my head around what was most needed for help. While offering to help is incredibly nice, those who just started taking care of us without asking were saviors. Here was what helped the most both during an extended stay in the hospital along with the first weeks at home.
My husband and I could probably tell you every meal our amazing tribe brought us in those first few weeks. Being in the hospital, our family took turns dropping off meals to us and often without the pressure of a visit. For me, that was a huge relief knowing each and every person understood that we may not have time to talk depending on our son’s needs, and yet they still insisted on bringing us meals around the clock. I had a hard time with feeling guilty about inconveniencing anyone, and so having our family and friends simply start delivering food was a life saver.
When we returned home, I will never forget how my fridge and freezer had been filled to the top. Since I had never created those freezer meals in my grand plans, our support system went ahead and gave us the basics so that we could grab a bite to eat at any point as we settled in as a family of three.
Even weeks after being home with the baby, the food continued, and was even more appreciated at that point! I distinctly remember my mother-in-law coming over our house with a fully prepped dinner in hand on a day we had insisted we were all set. (We were not.) I am unsure if it was mother’s intuition or what, but she brought us an entire supper and even included dessert! I could have cried. She knew. She just knew. And it was not only her, my parents and our extended family continued to just “drop by” with food in hand. Even though we were finally home, it was still hard adjusting to the new normal. Our amazing support system knew us parents still had to eat so they helped make that easier for us.
Help with the House
As you may recall, my house was far from baby-ready when my son arrived. Luckily we had family who kindly helped make it more presentable for his homecoming. My mom was washing all of the tiny blankets and clothes and neatly putting them away in his room. My best friend grabbed our baby shower gift cards to complete the registry and pick up new items she knew we needed. Family friends had even started dropping off new tiny clothes to our parents for our new guy to bulk up his wardrobe. After realizing how many outfit changes a baby can require in a day- that uptick in his wardrobe was really appreciated.
Last but not least, my closest friends and family would just ask me how I was with no pressure for responding. Looking back, I was really grateful for how they listened. There were times I was up for sharing the whole tale of my first days of motherhood, and others where quick text was all I could do.
Every start into parenthood is life-changing, and so many of my friends were helpful in reminding me of this. When welcoming a baby into the world everything is so new and emotions are heightened and so sometimes hearing another story is not as helpful as others think. My friends knew this more than I did. When I would start to apologize for new emotions, or compare myself to others with scarier starts, my beautiful friends would kindly stop me and remind me to focus on our new little family of three. I needed those compassionate words of reassurance.
If you are becoming a new parent, or know one, I hope that our little experience is helpful in some way. Like my friends told me, no journey is alike or should be compared, however the supports needed for the new parents may be more similar than we think.
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