Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New mamas

New mamas are some of the neediest people. Whether it is your first child, or your eighth child, I truly believe those first few months of having a new baby are some of the most challenging and pressure-filled months of adjustment for a mother.
Often times, new mamas are overlooked. Sure, after the birth, help and support is gladly offered. People wait in line to bring meals. But what happens when the "newness" wears off, and this tired, sore mama is expected to "go on" with her normal life activities? When her mother goes back home, and the father goes back to work? 
I have been in that place many times. (And most certainly are right now!!) And you have, too. Regardless of how your experience with a new baby was/is, I have put together a helpful list (from my perspective) on how to minister to a new mother. I truly believe new mothers are the "least of these" Jesus talks about.

1. Meals. Meals are so needed when the new mother is recovering from birth and adjusting to her baby the first week or so. But what about when the baby is two months old? A meal brought to a mother during this time is so very helpful. I can't tell you how freeing it is to know your dinner is ready after a long day (and night) with a young baby and all the other children to care for. Is there a mother you know who has a baby 2-3 months old? I guarantee she would love a meal right now.

2. Calls/emails. I don't know about you guys, but when I have a baby I am at home. All. The. Time. This is fine, it simplifies things. It helps the baby get used to life and mama too. It protects the baby from any germs he or she might get when you are out and about. But it also can be lonely. I don't have much time to call and "catch up" with my friends or schedule play dates or get togethers. I'm not saying I want to be out all day with friends, but just having someone actually call or email and say, "Hey, thinking about you--how are things going? Do you need anything?", makes a new mother feel connected at so vital of a time. Perhaps ask her if she wants to go get coffee. Offer to come and visit. Give her a call and speak words of encouragement. Just don't assume that "everything is ok" and  she "is just getting used to the baby.". These things may be true, and the new mother might even decline going out, but just knowing there is someone who is there and who cares during this precious time means so much.

3. Take her children. Sometimes a new mother needs a mental break. Why not offer to take one or some of her children one day? It allows her to have a slower day and to focus more on the new baby. It can help a new mother emotionally and mentally so very much.

4. Offer to come fold and put up laundry. Enough said?!

5. Bring her lunch. Why not make a special "mom's lunch" for the new mama, for her to enjoy just for herself? What a wonderful way for her to feel loved and appreciated--and so simple to do.

What about you? Are there any other ideas you have for a new mother? Remember--this is for those moms whose babies are older than the first 6 weeks, when all the "newness" has worn off.


Katherine said...

Thank you so much for this! I have a friend that had a baby about 2 months ago & just sent her an email b/c of your post.

Stacy said...

How about...

...a drink from Starbucks, delivered to a weary mama in the morning?

...a breakfast basket- muffins, yogurts, breakfast cookies, cereals, fresh fruit?

I totally agree, Andrea. It's a season where you are the neediest. I also know that it is not easy for me to accept help during *any* season. I have learned over the years to say yes to basically any offer of help. And my favorite offers of help are the ones where someone just shows up (or calls) and announces what they're going to do: (ie- I have the next hour to help you in the house. What would be most helpful to you today?, or even: This week I'd like to take your older kids for a few hours. Which day would work best? or Which day this week would you like me to deliver you a meal?)

Janel said...

Excellent list!

On the other end of life... This list works for the loss of a loved one as well. I find that 2-3 months after someone looses a dear one, everyone is gone and the meals have long stopped. Those months are a heavy time of need. The list will work for them too. : )

Courtney said...

Thanks for your post Andrea. I'm trying to do better in this area of ministering to new mamas. I'm always afraid to call during that first few months as I know their time is limited, but this gives me some good ideas on how I can be helpful.

When we returned from China with our daughter, along with a month of meals, one of our neighbors had stocked our fridge with staples like milk and fruit, etc. It was a great help.

Courtney said...
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Mac an Rothaich said...

Something in the mail is always lovely too! Whether it was for me or the baby.

Definitly food treats for Mom. I was always really really hungry when nursing and it was often hard to find time to prepare enough stuff to eat. Having a friend drop off a bunch of lovely fruit and crackers just for me was so lovely!

Snacks for the kids too can make a mom's hands less busy!

A friend brought my kids a couple movies and books from the library to keep give me a break and that was lovely!

tonia said...

this is terrific, andrea. very helpful. i wonder if it isn't even more important to bless moms of many more than first-timers (which we usually rush to do...it's so sweet to help the newest moms.) i remember when my fourth was born realizing that NOW i really needed the meals and the help! but so often we think the more experienced mom has got it all together that we send a baby gift and that's that.

thanks so much for this helpful post!

Susan @ heartpondering said...

I just had my third and was amazed at how hard I hit the wall when she was around 5 wks old. It was terrible - and exactly as you said, at that point I was in 'back to life as usual' mode and all the assistance had dried up.
Excellent post - thank you.

Rose said...

i wish everyone i know would read this post!!! judah's 2 months old and my husband and i are ALWAYS HUNGRY! when i so much as think about going to the kitchen to make dinner, my mind goes completely blank... i can't even grocery shop properly, i just wander the aisles aimlessly. i just don't know what to do about this!!