Words of Encouragement
When someone validates how you are doing in any new role, it feels good. Telling Mama that she is doing a great job or that you are proud of her are little phrases that go a long way to help her feel supported. In the early days of motherhood when everything is so new, it's hard to know if you're doing it right. Giving her a compliment may just be the thing she needs to hear to refuel on a tough day.
Offer to Help
It's very common for new moms to feel overwhelmed in the initial months of motherhood. Offering to help out is such a nice way for her to feel like she has people to lean on. But even when Mama knows people would be there in a heartbeat, it can still be hard to ask for the help. Moreover, it's hard to know what exactly to ask for assistance with. One tip is to make your offer specific, so that it's easier for her to take the help. Instead of, "Let me know if you need anything," try including some suggestions about what you are willing to do for her. Here are some ideas:
"I'm running to the market today - if I can get anything for you, send me some items you need and I'll drop them off on the porch."
"I can stop by and take the baby for a stroll while you nap or shower whenever you need."
"If there are any errands you need run, like dry cleaning or pharmacy or an oil change, just say the word!"
A dinner dropoff is one of the most helpful and memorable gestures to help a family with a newborn. Of course homemade food is so appreciated (and delicious), but don't forget that you can still enact this gesture even if you don't have time to cook or if you live far away. Apps like Postmates and Uber Eats make it easy for you to send some love in the form of a hot meal from afar. Text the parents and say that you'd love to have dinner delivered. Ask them their favorite nearby restaurant and preferred night for delivery. This thoughtful act takes pressure of the family to figure out that night's meal and makes cleanup a breeze!
Respect Her Wishes
One of the things that makes new moms feel unsupported is when she feels her requests are ignored. Whether she has a specific vision for her birth and aftercare, has guidelines for visitors, or has changed her mind last minute, respecting these wishes is showing your support. The first months of motherhood are such a tender time. She is doing the best she can to get to know her baby as well as herself in this new identity, all while managing her physical and emotional recovery. Remember that even if you do not agree, a new mama's wishes are to be heard and acknowledged.
Check In on Mama
Mama's world has changed drastically. Whether she's basking in the glow of motherhood or struggling with the transition, being checked in on will mean a lot to her. Most people ask how the baby is doing. So checking in on Mama acknowledges that this time is an adjustment for her too while showing that you care. When you leave a voicemail or send a text, adding "No pressure to respond," is a nice way for her to know you are there but that she can reply when she's ready.