Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How to Bless a New Mama (or a Family Needing Extra Support)


I've been extremely and overwhelmingly blessed with amazing friends who really lend support during those first few weeks after having a baby.  Whether it's a new baby, an operation, or a loss, these are things I've learned from my friends and wanted to share with you ways we can bless families in need of extra love in our lives:
  • Set up a meal train.  This is a free website where you can organize meals for the family.  You can set it up for every day, every other day, or whatever the mother would find helpful. There's a place to list allergies and food preferences, and really it's the easiest way to set up and manage meals.
  • When bringing a meal, include all the trimmings (if your grocery budget allows).  *Obviously, a simple meal is still a huge blessing and better than no meal at all.  Staying within our grocery budgets is important, so don't be ashamed to work with what you have.*  After I had my first child, our La Leche League leaders imparted the value of really spoiling our friends we bring dinners to.  We usually steer clear of disposables, but in a special situation like this, getting everything you need (containers the food comes in, plates, flatware, napkins, cups, etc.) is heavenly.  It means no clean up for the family.  Adding a little something like a bottle of sparkling cider, a dessert, or even something for breakfast the next day is a great way to lavish love on your friends.
  • Order a Healthy Surprise box.  Is life too full to squeeze in making and bringing over a meal to your friends?  Do you have a family you'd like to show love to that lives far away?  These Healthy Surprise boxes come in all different sizes to fit any sized family's needs, and every snack is gluten-free (and organic whenever possible).  While I don't endorse these snacks as a long term solution, they would be a Godsend when the family just can't spend as much time in the kitchen as they might like.  Although you can sign up for a monthly delivery, you can also order a one-time gift.  One of these boxes could make a great baby shower gift; especially for a family with older kids.  Also?  The shipping is free.
  • Offering to play with the family's older children, or taking them out for play dates.  I can have a hard time receiving help.  Not because I think I can do it all, but because I don't want to put anyone out.  It's a brokenness I'm not proud of.  I'm working on it, I promise.  If your friends struggle with the same thing, be persistent.  Ask them what would be helpful.  Running errands?  Bussing kids to classes?  Don't give them the option to turn help away, give them choices to pick from.  
  • Check in.  Send them a little text with a sweet word.  Let them know they are loved.  If they are struggling with postpartum depression, a loss, or a hard time, it's easy to become isolated and slip into a very unhealthy place.  Send them a simple text just letting them know you're thinking of them.  Drop them a little email.  It doesn't always have to be a phone call or a visit, sometimes a sensitive, quiet line of encouragement is just what the doctor ordered.
  • Be sensitive.  Being persistent in offering help and learning how to give space can be really tricky.  Sometimes, especially if a family is grieving a loss, it's good to give them some time to regroup and gently re-offer help later, but it's important that they know you haven't forgotten them.
Community is so very important, and loving on families in need not only fills our hearts with happiness, it's so pleasing to our Heavenly Father.  As parents, we can relate; doesn't it feel good when our kids are considerate to each other?

I'm sharing this at Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter.

9 comments:

  1. Congratulations, again, on your new blessing. Hope things are going well. Have a wonderful, blessed day! ♥

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  2. Thanks so much for posting this, it's awesome!! We have had the experiences of births of our babies and loss of a baby at birth premature. We were shown so much love! Sometimes people aren't sure what is okay to do, especially with the loss. Your suggestions were great! Congratulations on welcoming home #5!!

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  3. Hello! We've been blessed with many meals over the years and have given many as well. I do like to include disposables just like you mentioned. And if there are older children involved, I try to throw something in for them as well--Hot Wheels, coloring books, craft items-something to make them feel special while all this attention is lavished on a new baby.

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  4. look at those chubby cheeks on baby!

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  5. Great post! I'm finding the more children I have the less support our family seems to get. I'm not sure if it's because people assume I'm "experienced" so I don't need help but I'm finding it more challenging after having baby #3 because my older ones are still quite young and need quite a bit of help still. I have really appreciated people coming by to entertain the older ones though and I will definitely keep this in mind as my friends have more children.

    Josee
    thornstothestars.blogspot.com

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  6. Do you think the Healthy Surprise Box would be okay for someone following The Maker's Diet? I know it's vegan, gluten-free, and natural, but I'm not familiar enough with The Maker's Diet to know if the snacks would fall within all of the diet's guidelines. Thanks!

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  7. Hi Heather,

    Healthy Surprise snacks do meet the requirements of the Maker's Diet. If you have any specific questions, feel free to contact or call us at 855.697.8777.

    Healthy Surprise

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  8. Jessica KalashnikovApril 4, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    so true and so good. I soooo appreciated being lavished this postpartum time. I didn't get this with the others, so this was soooo HUGE!

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  9. Such a great post! I know that when people come to see a new mom and baby, they just want to sit and look at or hold the baby. Which is great! But what the mom really needs is help with household chores and meals.

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I value your feedback. Thanks for taking the time to share yours!

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