Being a new parent is hard. We all know it’s hard. But to support a new parent, and to show them compassion and understanding, can be a challenge. To say, “I’m here for you” and “I totally get it” sometimes doesn’t feel like enough.
Here at Detroit Mom, we have moms that are in all phases of motherhood. We have moms of multiples, blended families, older kiddos, and newborns. We have moms who have struggled with infertility and postpartum depression, stay-at-home moms, working moms, and everyone in between.
Even with all of our differences and unique journeys, we all know what it is like to be a new parent. We know what has or would have helped us in this life-altering new venture. So, we’ve all come together to share how we can best support other new parents.
Here are the ways we recommend to best support a new parent:
“Take photos of the mama. It sounds so simple yet is often overlooked. Snapping candid shots of a mom with her newborn will be some of the most beautiful memories she has, especially when those first few weeks/months are a blur.”
“For a close friend, show up and immediately do a chore. Don’t ask what chore needs to be done, because the goal is to relieve the mental and physical load. Wash dishes, refill the diaper stash, start a load of laundry, and stay just long enough to toss it in the dryer.”
“Go to see the new mama, not just the baby. And go alone with no time restrictions or personal needs. Bring a bag of snacks that can last a week and a healthy meal the whole family can eat. Be ready to listen, hold the baby, occupy other children, and/or watch the new mom sleep. And please dress appropriately, make-up free, if possible; you want to fit in and help the new [mom] feel more comfortable with her appearance.”
“Just keep inviting that new mom to all the things you used to do. Continue sending those invites to coffee or group date nights. She may say no a lot at the beginning . . . but eventually she will be ready to accept that invite and will be so happy to have that friend who never gave up on her.”
“Either make a homemade meal and deliver it within the first few weeks of the baby being born or order from a local restaurant and have it delivered. The last thing I wanted to do when I brought my kids home from the hospital was cook!”
“Don’t ask, just do (when it comes to bringing things over or sending things). Do a porch drop-off with things you know they like. Frivolous stuff. Things that show you care. Make them feel human again.”
“Tell them to give you the baby for awhile and let them have a break to do something else. It can be hard when you get caught in the feed, change, contact nap cycle and sometimes just doing something alone, like folding laundry or loading the dishwasher, can feel freeing. Or even just sitting in a quiet room for five minutes or taking that extra-long shower!”
“Listen! Don’t compare your birth story with theirs! Every pregnancy, labor, [and] delivery is different. Listen, and offer advice or tips only if asked!”
“Sometimes, more than meals, there’s a need for basics and essentials that no one has the time to get like cut fruits, a mixed nuts tray, yogurt cups, milk, [or] eggs. Also, no expectations please. Give mommy the gift of grace. Drop a disposable dish off without expecting a thank you, leave a text with[out] needing a response, call once and leave a message, and give her the space to listen without responding or be late at it. Give her space and the gift of grace.”
“I cooked nutritional meals for a friend for [a] few days after birth. I made a huge batch of the food so that she could have it for a longer period of time.”
The experienced moms on our team have offered a wide variety of ways to best support a new parent. Just showing up, and showing you care, is a great start. Do you have other tips for supporting new parents? What did someone do for you that was extremely helpful when you were a new parent? Or, what is something you wish someone would have done for you?