Give the gift of time
Along with a new baby comes sleep deprivation and the inability for a new mom to do many things for herself without a level of forethought and planning that would make her laugh in disbelief (if she wasn’t so exhausted). Offering to simply come to a new mom’s house and sit with her newborn while she takes a nap, showers, or eats a meal goes a long way to help her feel human again. “The nicest thing someone did for me after I had my son was come to my house and watching him while I took a nap,” says April, 34, says of an act of kindness she experienced after giving birth. “She washed dishes and did some laundry for me.” It might seem like an insignificant gesture to offer to watch a newborn (who will likely be sleeping) for an hour, but to a new mother, the gift of time to take a few moments to herself is something to cherish.
Bring her favorite food to her hospital bed
Most of the time people who want to help will bring food to the new family’s home once they’ve been discharged from the hospital. But the new mom might appreciate meals brought to the hospital even more, especially if she’s had a C-section and has to stay for a few days. Hospital food can be less than appetizing, and having some familiar comfort food on hand can make the transition to motherhood a bit more palatable. Jane, 34, noting her family’s thoughtfulness, says, “My mom brought me a full Korean meal to eat right after giving birth, and both my mom and mother-in-law let me nap as much as possible when they were with me.” Tia, 33, reflects, “My aunt brought subs for everyone while I was in labor and set some aside for me. It was awesome because you’re so hungry after giving birth. I had a sandwich before I left the delivery room. Best sandwich of my life!” (Here’s what else no one tells you about giving birth.) Every new mother is different, of course, so be sure to ask ahead of time what would be the most helpful to the family.