During my first pregnancy, I had so many ideas about what labor and birth were going to be like. I prepared for the “what to expects” and was so excited to meet the new baby face-to-face. I am thankful that I had so many family members and friends who were excited for me as well and wanted to meet my baby as soon as possible.
I was the first of my family and friends to have a baby and while I was transitioning to motherhood, I was not sure what to expect those first few weeks at home. I saw on TV that friends would drop by and bring gifts for the baby, the mom was always well-put together and everyone enjoyed holding the new little one.
My reality was far from a TV show. I was adjusting to this baby (who cried. all.the.time) in baggy yoga clothes, with my dirty hair tied up, and I was just so tired. Those first few weeks of family/friends visits were difficult for me and there are some things, looking back (and that I addressed during my next pregnancy) that I wish my friends would have done for me after I had a baby.
1) Not drop by unannounced.
Normally, I like when people just drop by and surprise me with a fun visit. After I had my baby, I didn’t want that anymore — I was rarely dressed and felt so frazzled in those first few days. I would have much preferred my friends scheduled things with me ahead of time and asked me what fits better for my schedule, not theirs.
2) Bring some food.
The last thing I wanted in the days following labor was to have to entertain my friends. As I learned to care for this new person, I lost time for doing simple things for myself (like cooking and eating) and I would have loved to have food brought to me so I didn’t have to think about it.
3) Offer to watch the baby so I could nap or get out of the house for 30 minutes.
People get so excited to meet a new baby and it’s totally understandable. When I had my first, I was thankful I had so many friends who wanted to meet the baby. I felt overwhelmed though, being overtired or stuck in the house for days. I would have loved my friends to offer to watch the baby for a short amount of time (they are there to see the baby any way) so I could take a short nap or go out of coffee and fresh air.
4) Stay for short bursts only.
I was so tired after I had my first child and those first few weeks at home I would catch up on sleep whenever I could. I admit, I even dozed off a time or two when someone was over for a visit and it always made me feel awful. I loved to see my friends, but would prefer they only stayed for an hour and not a longer visit.
5) Don’t forget about me.
Like I said, I was the first of the group to have a baby and very quickly, I began to feel it. I was left out of invitations because people assumed I couldn’t go or they didn’t want to ask me not to bring the baby (which is totally okay to do!) and very quickly I started to feel more and more isolated from my friends — until they started to have kids too.
:: What did your friends do that helped you most after having a baby? ::
Photo credit: istockphoto
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