You might’ve heard a mom joke that, as painful as delivering her baby was, as soon as she met that tiny miracle she forgot the pain. While I’m not sure I’d exactly say I’ve forgotten the physical challenges of bringing a baby into the world, I’d definitely do it again in a heartbeat because my sweet boys are more than worth it! 😉 Did you know this concept is actually biblical? John 16:21 says, “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.” I had no idea until I came across this verse recently! – It’s so cool that God’s word is living and active and always teaching us in fresh ways! Anyways – I think for all of us, at least to some extent, part of that joy comes from sharing the experience with the people we love. Our social distancing circumstances have made that impossible and yes, we can come up with silver linings, yes, plenty of people are facing greater challenges, yes, we get to choose worship over worry, BUT it’s also okay to admit that it’s sad for the families it impacts.
Corona virus quarantine or not, becoming a mom is HARD. I’m not just talking physically… we all expect that! I’m talking about the highest of highs mixed with the lowest of lows; even the moments that sometimes make you wonder if you’ll ever feel like yourself again! Once I heard that there’s not a time when any human experiences the hormonal levels a new mother does in the time after she’s given birth (not even during pregnancy!) If you’ve never experienced it, I’ll tell you right now, its wild! Add mandatory social distancing on top of that and new moms are having to adjust the expectations they’ve probably imagined for most of their lives! It’s really hard. So if you’re a new or expecting mama feeling alone in these feelings, I want to remind you, you’re not! And they don’t last forever! You just happen to be experiencing them in an even more challenging climate. And you’re doing so great!
So how do the rest of us come around a new mom and make the most of this situation?
I’m currently one of these mamas I’m talking about and something that’s stood out to me in the middle of all the unknown, the fear and sadness and loneliness and distance, is the way people around me have creatively shown that they care. It’s already been a full month since giving birth (HOW?!?) and I’m still being loved on in ways that blow me away. Just this week I finished a book a sweet friend sent to me to welcome the baby and this line keeps replaying in my head, “Everyone is a bit scared… but were less scared together.” (The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse)
Becoming a mom can be isolating enough and this season of global isolation has us all feeling pretty lonely, but no mom deserves to feel like she’s doing it alone! And every baby deserves to have the beginning of their life celebrated! We’re all walking through uncharted territory and we were created to do it together, even when we’re apart.
So here’s 10 ideas to celebrate and support a new mom from a distance:
Drop dinner on her doorstep or send her a delivery gift card
The typical meal train doesn’t totally work right now, but the concept can! Just drop it on the door step and take extra care when preparing it! Want to be even more cautious? Skip the preparation part and drop off take-out! Or better yet, send a gift card for a delivery service to be used when needed most! If you’re feeling really generous: cook a few meals so she can freeze them for later! Game Changer!
Finding the time and energy to plan and prepare a meal is a lot for a mom in those early days. Food for her and her family is one of THE biggest blessings you can provide! Plus, I think we all know it just has a way of feeding our souls along with our bodies when it’s provided by someone who loves us!
Pick up some groceries for the family
This is another one of those practical, less glamorous gestures that goes a LONG ways! In normal times it’s a gift, but now, when expecting moms and new babies are considered a sensitive population and stores are running low, making the trip to pick up a few essentials for the family so that no one has to worry over brining home anything concerning will communicate more love than you probably know!
Send a book that encourages you or makes you smile
There’s a lot of slow time for a new mama feeding a baby every couple hours (whether she likes it or not!) My screen time is always higher in these moments, but especially with all this time at home and less to do… I’m a little tired of scrolling and my Amazon prime account has got a little too much action if I’m honest! Having something life-giving to read in those moments is a nice change of pace and can bring a needed dose of mental and emotional rest (even when the physical rest might be lacking!)
Buy a gift for baby (or mom!… or both!) *Not a necessity! Something just for fun!
Things feel super serious right now. Mom’s baby shower probably got cancelled, visits are postponed, all those normal, lighthearted moments of celebration aren’t happening like usual. This can make this most precious moment feel a little anticlimactic for mom. So, think of ways you can celebrate mom and baby like normal. Send over or drop off something super cute, put together a little care package for mom… anything that just says, “This is still a really fun and important season that can still be full of a whole lot of happy!”
Drop off a box of diapers or some essential household items for the family
So many friends have sent diapers to us, we haven’t had to buy any yet! (And we still have quite the stockpile to work through!) It’s practical and it isn’t fancy, but it’s one (crucial) thing we don’t have to worry about and that means a ton to me! The first moments of newborn life can feel pretty foggy. It’s easy for mom to feel overwhelmed by the task of keeping a home running and a new baby alive and balancing everything else. Providing a few basics that she doesn’t have to worry about could go a long way in speaking her language – especially when theres a concern over what may or may not be available in stores due to demand!
Schedule a meeting through the window
One of the things I’ve grieved the most about welcoming a baby during this time is that it feels like he won’t even be a newborn anymore by the time we’re able to introduce him to everyone! The friends that have still made an effort to come visit through the screen door and tell me how cute he is from a safe distance on the porch have blessed me more than I ever would have thought. Remind the new mom in your life that those meetings matter just as much even if they can’t include delicious newborn snuggles yet!
Write mom a hand written note of encouragement and prayer
There’s just something really special and personal about a handwritten note. It communicates a level of thought that can be lost in today’s more common methods of communication. AND it can be saved and read in moments mom’s needing a pick-me-up! All mine I’ve received are currently on the fridge so that I can see them everyday. It’s the encouragement that keeps on encouraging! So go old school and write down some life giving words that that mama can turn to when she’s missing community in this season.
Send over some activities for big sib
This is another level of thoughtfulness and it is HUGE! For the moms that are welcoming their second child (or third or fourth…) there’s an added challenge of helping their older children adjust to this transition while being limited with options! A few seasoned mamas and thoughtful ladies blessed our family by gifting my son some new toys and activities that have been especially helpful in making him feel special when he isn’t the priority in the moment. Special circumstances or not, this has taught me that blessing the older sibling(s) blesses a mama heart more than I ever knew and I’ll be sure to carry that lesson with me when I’m thinking of others, even when this is all over!
Facetime Facetime Facetime
This one’s pretty self explanatory! Don’t feel like you’re being a bother. Just ask when it’s a good time! Not everyone can do a front porch meeting, but ANYONE can make a virtual meeting feel important and celebratory! Be understanding if (when) it’s hard to match up, but be persistent in communicating that it matters to you. I know it’ll mean a lot to that mama.
Just check in – however you can, whenever it works… make sure that mama knows she’s not alone
What it all comes down to is, however you do it, just be there. It really doesn’t matter what you do. Just doing something to show you care will be a bigger blessing than you know! Think about the mom and family: What do you know about them? Do you know her love language? If it’s gifts, bring over a treat! If it’s acts of service, maybe you can pick up a basket of her laundry off the porch and bring it back clean and folded? We have to get creative these days, but what an opportunity to go the extra mile in loving each other well!
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is there for times of trouble.” (Proverbs 17:17) May this be said of us by our neighbors when this season of uncertainty is over!