I have had a lot of pregnant friends in my life lately. I mean A LOT. Slowly but surely, those moms-to-be are turning in to new moms. From pregnant coworkers and friends to my own family, it’s been wonderful to support them through the journey and better yet, meet their little people as tiny babes replace bumps. It’s also been insanely educational. I’m learning from all of their experiences and soak up a new piece of information daily.
Spoiler alert. Pregnancy is hard. Being a new mom is hard.
Friends and family of these women place a lot of emphasis on celebrating both the pregnancy and the new baby. Awesome, right? But, I’ve also observed a lot of hesitancy and fear from those support networks. And rightly so, no one wants to upset expecting or new parents.
As we wait for Jackie’s daughter to make her appearance very soon, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the best ways to support friends through both the pregnancy and being a new mom.
I’ve now watched five (yes, five!) dear friends and sisters navigate their first pregnancy and then, of caring for their first child! Here are some things I’ve learned about how to best support them through both experiences.
Tips to Support Expecting and New Moms
- Don’t Give Advice. This might seem obvious, but the amount of unsolicited tips, counsel and opinions these women receive is shocking. Every single pregnancy and new baby is different. There are no hard and fast rules that apply to everyone. And, often times, well meaning words of wisdom can make expectant or new mothers feel overwhelmed or worse, like they are doing something wrong.
- Be Flexible. How a pregnant or new mom feels physically and mentally can change minute to minute. When it comes to spending time with them, adjusting to their needs and preferences will make spending time with you easy when compared with other obligations or plans.
- Talk About Other Things. Of course you want updates and details. How are you feeling? Have you finished the nursery yet? Is she feeding well? Sometimes, these mommas want a break from talking all things baby and welcome conversations about work, relationships, current happenings and more. Sharing the same information over and over is exhausting and I found they like to feel a connection with other elements of the outside world.
- Fill in the Gaps. People love to shower expecting and new moms with gifts and support. That can be both awesome and overwhelming. If a lot of people are bringing over food, they probably don’t need another freezer meal from you. But, perhaps you can stop by with fresh coffee and go for a walk. Maybe they need some laundry done. Find the little areas they need help. It is just as impactful as bringing a gift or plate of food!
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask. It’s good to respect boundaries but there’s no need to overdo the tip toeing. Your friends will tell you when they aren’t up for visitors and share their honest feelings on a number of other things. But if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.