Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Mother Support

I gave birth to my fourth child this week. Instead of it being quick and easy like I expected, it was longer and more painful early on than my last two labors because my baby was posterior and I could not get him to turn around and end the back labor. It was eerily reminiscent of the labor I had with my first child.


Luckily this time I had a good support system this time throughout the labor. I had my supportive husband and a dear friend in addition to the midwife and midwife assistant. I was surrounded by people who loved and cared for me and were positive support for me.

Afterward, my dear friend came to visit and took over my house when we got home with the new baby and cooked and cleaned for me for four days, insisting I stay in bed. She then arranged people to come over and check on me and help me with any household work until my mother arrives to help for a week. Several people have stopped by with frozen meals. I feel almost overwhelmed by the support and help offered to me and my family. It's fabulous! I did not have this much support with my other new babies and wow, what a difference!

Though I want to get back to doing everything I normally do. I try to recognize the importance of letting my body recover and heal now instead of delaying my full recovery by resuming activity too soon. I am so grateful for all the support I have received. I wish all new moms could have as much love and support in their lives. It would go a long way towards helping them establish themselves positively in their new (or newly expanded) roles.

Moms who feel supported and have friends and family helping them do better. So what can you do to support a new mom?

  • Offer to watch older children for a while, for example offer to take them to the park.
  • Offer to run errands - grocery shopping, picking up children, etc.
  • Bring a frozen dinner by for them to cook when needed.
  • Offer to come do a specific chore like laundry, cleaning the kitchen or bath, or tending the garden.
A new mom may say she is fine, but don't let that keep you from helping. Tell her, "I'm sure you are, but I want to help, please let me." Tell her specifically something you might be able to do instead of asking her to think up something for you to do.

Moms, being willing to accept help is important too. Expecting your husband to do it all can be stressful and disappointing if he can't take time off work. Doing it yourself can be very tiring and bad for your health -  your body needs rest and recovery.

 Do you believe new moms need support and help? What ways do you like help when you have a new baby? What creative ways have you provided support and help to a new mom?

By Malina. You can learn more Malina and her family at her personal blog.

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