Monday, January 30, 2017

10 Ways to Bless a Pregnant or New Mom

The late pregnancy and postpartum stages are very tough times for many woman, especially if they have other children to take care of. Support in the postpartum period is so vital, as women who don't receive much help are linked to higher postpartum depression rates.

That said, many people don't really know what to do to help a pregnant woman or a new mom. We assume they are fine because they don't ask for help (us pregnant women and mamas don't want to be a burden to anyone. We are "just" growing or raising a baby (or two) after all), but don't underestimate how a little help can go a long long way toward helping one of these women. Something that might not seem like a big deal to you, may seem like a HUGE deal to them. 

So here are 10 ways to bless a pregnant or new mom:

#1: Take her other child(ren) to do something fun
During and after my twin pregnancy I have been so blessed with friends coming to take Victoria now and again to go have fun. Whether they take her to storytime at the library, or just to spend the day playing at their house, I feel IMMENSE relief knowing she is safe, happy, and having a blast while I get the chance to nap, clean, or simply sit down and cuddle my new babies. My neighbor will come and grab Victoria to help her do something outside once a week or so for 20 minutes. Those 20 minutes are pure heaven for me as I get to lie down, close my eyes, or enjoy the twins without feeling an ounce of mommy guilt, because I know Victoria is enjoying herself a ton as well. 

#2: Bring her a meal
People do this all the time for new moms, and it is such a blessing. But bringing a meal to a pregnant woman, especially in those early days of intense nausea or in the late days of exhaustion, is just as helpful. I have a neighbor who often text me while I was pregnant saying "I made extra food tonight, can I bring you some?". And before I knew it, I had a dinner all prepared for my family that I didn't have to worry about. It was SUCH a blessing.
My MOPS group also arranged a meal train for me (and every other new mom) on TakeThemAMeal, which I highly recommend for anyone. It was so convenient for people to sign up for meals and give me an idea of what they would be bringing. Be sure to ask new moms if they have a meal train set up and if they would allow you to set one up for them. Having this burden taken off their shoulders is a huge blessing. 

#3: Vacuum or floor cleaning
Vacuuming is exhausting, and you are never more aware of this than when you are huge pregnant and there are miles of flooring in front of you that needs to be cleaned. I had a neighbor call me while I was pregnant with the twins and say "Hey, I was just thinking, vacuuming is exhausting. Can I come vacuum your house tonight?". And being the gracious receiver I try to be (it's not only important to be a gracious giver), I said yes. It was glorious. She vacuumed my entire house and I was SO thankful. 

#4: Clean
On the same thread as above, going to a new mom's or expectant mom's house with a bucket of cleaning supplies is a huge help. Tell her you are coming over, show up with your supplies, and just start cleaning where you can. Bathrooms are a great place to start, as are cleaning the floors, cleaning out the refrigerator, or doing the dishes. It takes a lot of humility to watch someone else clean your bathrooms! But it is such a blessing. 

#5: Send her for a nap or shower
Whether she is pregnant or a new mom, she is probably exhausted. Send her to bed (with her new baby if she desires) while you watch her older children and keep them occupied with quiet activities. Or simply offer to care for her new baby while she takes a long, relaxing shower and fixes herself up a bit. I had a friend come over a few days ago and she sent me upstairs and said "don't come down for at least 45 minutes". I went upstairs and took a long, leisurely shower and actually blow-dried my hair (!!!). By the time I came down I felt like a new woman and was ready to conquer the rest of the day.

#6: Take her shopping list or pick up her groceries
I have recently discovered the joy of curbside shopping. I always thought it would be expensive or I would hate it, but it is awesome and not expensive at all at my grocery store. For less than $5 I can order all of my groceries online, leaving instructions for each item (such as "2 large flatter shapped onions" or "substitute for green grapes if red is not available"), and pick them up the next day without leaving my car. It's a new mom/pregnant woman's dream. My neighbor has offered more than once to pick up items for me from the store or to pick up my groceries after I ordered them. It's such a help when leaving the house is tough.

#7: Give her a gift for herself
Whether it is a subscription to audible.com so she can listen to books while she does her chores, a massage or facial from Groupon, a mani-pedi gift certificate and an offer to babysit, or some pampering items like bubble bath and luxurious hand or foot cream, these kinds of gifts are such a blessing to new moms! We are giving so much of ourselves to these little people, being able to take something for ourselves can be such a blessing.

#8: Provide some "date" time
New parents often have a tough time finding time to connect. Sometimes even after the baby is asleep it can be tough as you are both listening for cries. An offer to provide a little "date" time can provide some much-needed connection time. Whether you offer to watch the children for an hour or two while they go out to eat, or you simply give them a half hour to go for a walk around the neighborhood, you are providing a huge gift.

#9: Find out what she still needs for the baby
If she has a baby registry, it can be easy to see what she still needs for her baby. But even if she has older children already or no registry, a new baby still requires things like diapers and wipes, not to mention things like double strollers, play yards, and baby carriers that make life easier with more than one child. Whether you are able to purchase an item for her, go in on larger item with someone else, can give a gift certificate to go towards items she may still need, or have a 2nd hand item you can pass along, these are all great ways to help put a mom at ease as she prepares for her baby.

#10: Pray for her
Because we all need prayer, especially when we are going through such large changes in our lives. Pray for her body, her strength, her faith, her family, and her children. Pray that the Lord would provide her with what she needs to get through this time joyfully, and ask that He show you how you can best be a blessing to her.

Another quick note: new moms and pregnant woman often feel like we need to be superwomen and do it all ourselves. When people ask how they can help but don't genuinely seem to want to, it is easy to turn them down and continue pretending like we don't need anything. So in offering help, be genuinely eager, and instead of saying "Can I come vacuum your house sometime?", say something like "I want to help you with something practical. Please let me come vacuum your home! Can I come Wednesday?"

Do you have anything to add this list? I'd love to hear your own stories of how someone was a blessing to you!

3 comments:

  1. Absolutely! I haven't experienced these, but I know they each would make a significant difference! Hope you don't mind if I share the post elsewhere. It's an idea that has been long forgotten, but oh so needed. I'm so glad you've been able to be surrounded by such wonderful people and your adjustment to parenting and/or parenting multiple little ones made just a little smoother! :)

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  2. Perfect! I had so many wonderful friends that helped when I was pregnant and after Alison was born. I had no idea what I was doing and to have a friend that was more experienced come and tell me "go shower and nap" was amazing!!!! When I ended up needing my hysterectomy those same sweet friends pitched in and helped with dinners and even folding and putting clothes away! It was great!

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  3. I LOVE this! So true. I was just talking with a pregnant friend about how many of these things are especially helpful when you don't live by family.

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I love to fellowship with others and hear what they have to say. I would ask, however, that you be mindful of what you write and try to be uplifting and respectful. Thank you for sharing!