By: Andrea Stainbrook, Doula & Co-Owner of Metro Detroit Doula Services
Babies. They are so adorable. When a new one comes it is so fun to shower him with gifts. Baby toys, bottles, don’t even get me started with all the cute outfit options. Watch out Buy Buy Baby and local boutiques. I love baby things.
Our society loves babies too. When it comes to pregnancy, birth, and especially after baby’s arrival the main focus is baby. And baby deserves a LOT of focus. But so does someone else.
Don’t forget her.
Don’t forget the person whose whole life shifted months ago. The woman who tolerated nausea. The woman who worried for 9 months. The woman who had back aches, mood swings, and is simply always exhausted. This person birthed a human, after growing that human. That woman is healing, recovering, and no longer recognizes her life.
Call her by her name. She may not know where she begins and baby ends anymore. She may not know when she will be herself again. It may feel as if she is no longer an individual. She loves her baby. She wants you to love her baby. But she wants you to love her too.
Love her as the woman she is. Strong. Beautiful. Capable. Love her for her interests. She still has her own interests. Don’t forget that.
As a doula I have some ideas for you to do when visiting a new mom. Aside from coming when the new family says, not staying long and helping by bringing a meal:
Bring something for HER. For the woman who just gave birth. Acknowledge her.
LISTEN. Let the conversation go where it needs to. But follow her lead. Listen to what she needs and wants to talk about.
New moms are at a huge transition and adjustment. No matter how easy or hard the adjustment goes every woman at one point may feel overwhelmed and consumed by this new life. They may feel they are no longer who they were. They may feel they don’t even know themselves. They may feel no one notices them. These women are still the women that love Game of Thrones, or a good glass of wine. Value them as they are. Of course they are a new mom and that is amazing, but don’t discount them as an individual.
So shower your friend’s new baby with Sophie the Giraffe, and Betsey Johnson’s new line of baby wear, and also shower your friend with your friendship. Bring her favorite Biggby coffee and always remember to remember her.