I had [am about to have] a baby! Yay! I have no clue how my baby will act from day to day. Maybe I had a caesarian and cannot even get out of bed alone. Maybe my baby is an innately easy baby that lets me rest or get things done while he/she sleeps. Maybe my baby is super fussy and only naps while having skin contact with me, nursing, and marching up and down the stairs at the same time. We all have different experiences so please help me on my journey and don't judge me.
It used to be that "it takes a whole village to raise a child" and then we all moved away from our families and started working outside the home. In India family takes care of the older kids and home chores for three weeks after the baby is born. I don't live in India and I don't have a village of relatives helping. I don't live in Europe where spouses get paternity leave. Some women need help after the first baby and some don't need it until their third. Here are a few ways to help me:
- Tell me that I am a great mom. I need to hear it.
- If you ask to help and I don't take you up on your generous offer at first, ask again. Better yet, just show up at my door with some cooked healthy food. I don't care what it is (but respect me if I have a food restriction). If you don't cook, deliver some pre-prepared food like a fruit salad, bagged salad, or granola and yogurt. The sooner the better and please do not promise food and not deliver it. This is really disappointing.
- Tell me how great I look. Even if I still look 9 months pregnant and have no makeup on, tell me how radiant I am and how my belly looks like I never had a baby. Lies are okay here.
- Clean my home. Seriously. Just show up and start washing dishes, sweep my floor, fold clothes, whatever. I will be embarrassed that you are seeing my home in such a mess but I will get over it and love you more for it.
- Make my older kids go away. If I am not up to the task of delivering them to you, come and get them. Hang out at my place. Take them to the park. Feed them. The longer the better.
- Make sure that I get some fresh air and a walk everyday. Don't let me tell you that I am afraid of my baby breathing fresh air because it is cleaner than the toxic air in my home (paint, furniture, rugs, germs, lack of vitamin D, you get it).
- If I mention any issues with breastfeeding, support me with breastfeeding and DO NOT MENTION formula. This advice should only come from a lactation consultant (not you). Don't tell me about someone you know who "supplemented" with formula. Just don't. Instead look up a lactation consultant and get her here within the hour! She'll fix it. Period. Doctors are sort of helpful but they are not experts in lactation and have been known to not spot tongue tie, production issues and other things that lactation consultants are famous for instantly finding from the comfort of your home.
- Don't let me eat junk food. Food is my fuel. Junk will not help my milk supply and will make those post baby pounds stay on me.
I promise to return to a new form of normal in a few months and I will be indebted to you!