Dear New Mom’s Friend or Family,
I love when my friends, family and clients have babies! What’s not to love? They are cute and squishy bundles. I would love to sit there all day and cuddle them.
As a postpartum doula, I do get to hold infants, but my help is focused on the moms and their family. This is something our culture seems to forget postpartum: moms. We live in a culture that focuses on mom until she delivers and then the focus shifts to the newborn. What about the person that carried the newborn? The person who may have labored hard or easily? The person who pushed and pushed…? The person who may have birthed by Cesearean and is healing from surgery? Postpartum moms need support…lots of it.
Don’t get me wrong, when you visit a postpartum family it is important to acknowledge the newborn and hold the newborn. So what else can you do to be supportive? Demetria Clark of Birth Arts International compiled advice for those visiting a postpartum household:
1. Don’t come if you expect the mother to serve you, have a clean house or attend to you and your needs. If you are not sure if you are that kind of person, ask a friend. The last thing you want to do is make a mother ill, overtired or stressed at your visit.
2. Don’t just ask to hold the baby. Do a chore before you start snuggling? Clean the bathroom, do a load of laundry, vacuum, make a meal. Show the family how much you care.
3. Offer to watch the baby while the mother showers, or takes a nap. (Here is your chance to snuggle with baby!)
4. Do not question her choice to breastfeed, not circumcise, have a natural birth, or vice versa. Really those are not topics she needs to be justifying to anyone at this time.
5. Listen to her story without judgement and encourage her.
6. Treat her with compassion and kindness.
7. Encourage her to state her needs.
9. This is not the time to make it about your birth experience, let her share hers.
10. Remind her to slown down, or to stop. Mothers will have more postpartum difficulty if they do not take care of themselves.
11. Encourage her to drink plenty of fluids and to eat.
This advice is only given to be helpful to show the postpartum mom how much you want to support her during this joyous, yet stressful time. The fact that you even came to visit shows you care for the mom and her family. Why not take it a step further and take that care to the next level?
A Postpartum Doula