Life with a newborn is tough. The chances are that you can still remember when your little ones were that age, and you were half convinced you’d lost your mind. It’s no surprise when you add the inevitable influx of hormones to a sudden change in lifestyle and lack of sleep. There’s no getting around it; new motherhood is hard.
If your friend has recently had a baby, then, you can bet she’s struggling even if she doesn’t show it. Did you talk about the way you were feeling at the time? Do any of us? There’s so much pressure in those early months that most of us swallow those feelings and struggle alone. We have endless guests who fuss over our babies and forget to ask how we are. And, we keep on keeping on despite the exhaustion.
As one mother to another, though, it’s your task to spot the signs that your friend is struggling and help her through. Even if she doesn’t come right out and say that she needs your help, you can guarantee that she does. While you don’t want to offend her by coming out and suggesting as much, there are some subtle ways to lend a helping hand. Keep reading to find out what they are.
Fuss mother as well as baby
The first days and weeks after having a baby often involve more guests than a mother can expect to see in her life. And, most of them are all about the baby. They bring baby gifts and rush for baby cuddles. Sadly, many of them will forget to ask how mum is. That can lead to feeling low in itself given the trauma of childbirth and the struggle of recovery. First, then, make sure that you’re always fussing your friend as well as the baby. Buy her gifts as well as bringing along baby toys when you visit. Turn to online flower companies like Fig & Bloom so that fresh flowers arrive with her first thing after a sleepless night. And, whatever you do, don’t forget to always ask how she’s doing too.
Share your newborn horror stories
A feeling of loneliness is one of the worst parts of the newborn struggle. Most new mothers feel like they’re the only ones to experience the total unknown of life with a new baby. And, that feeling can lead them to doubt whether they’re up to the task. Make sure this isn’t something your friend ever questions by being upfront and sharing any newborn horror stories you have in your arsenal. Tell her about any mistakes you made, or meltdowns you had during your newborn journey. Tell her about the times when you reached the end of your tether with your little one. And, try to add laughter while you’re telling these stories. Learning to laugh about the most despairing of parental situations could help your friend through her biggest baby scares.
Learn to listen
Once you’ve told a few horror stories of your own, you may well find that the best way to be a good friend is simply to listen. When you’ve shown your friend how normal everything she’s going through is, you should find that she starts to open up about her struggles. When this happens, she probably doesn’t want you to give her any advice as such. In most cases, trying to do so will cause her to shut down again. Instead, listen, laugh, and help her feel that she isn’t alone in this crazy new period of her life.
Help her see the light at the end of the tunnel
The newborn months can seem long and unending. When a lack of sleep sets in, your friend may forget altogether that there is a light at the end of this newborn tunnel. And, depression and real feelings of despair can soon set in if that happens. The last thing you can do for your friend, then, is to show her that there is an end to her struggle. You could do this by simply letting her know when all your kids started sleeping through the night. That way, she’ll remember that there will come an end to the night feeds. Or, you could let her spend time with your older kids to show her that things won’t always be this way. You may even find that making plans such as girly days or baby-free trips away helps her to look forward instead of drowning in her current situation.