Childbirth is one of life’s most mind-blowing processes. Although a joyous occasion when you finally get to meet your bundle of joy after all the hard work of labour, it also introduces complete upheaval to our lives – both in terms of utter joy and significant hardship, whether from the pains of childbirth or postnatal depression, and all the hard work of taking care of a newborn baby thereafter. If a friend of yours has recently given birth, you may be wondering how you can help them. Here are some simple ways to support a friend after childbirth.
Just Be There
In many ways, the simple act of being there for them as a friend is a radical act of kindness after birth and one of the best ways to support a friend after childbirth. The compulsion for many can be to stay away, or wait until the new mother reaches out on their own terms. But, of course, life post-partum can be tough, and it can be hard to reach out when the going gets tough.
Indeed, life after birth can feel incredibly lonely, even with the gift of a new life to nurture. With this is mind, simply being there to have a cup of tea and a natter, to meet the new baby and to inject a sense of ‘normal’ back into an incredibly profound and disarming period of life can be hugely important.
Bring a Gift Hamper
There is never a bad time to extend the offer of a gift to a good friend – and at any rate, the birth of a child is undoubtedly cause for celebration! There are many different ways in which you could approach giving a gift to your friend; you could simply buy them a chocolate box, to eat or share over tea one afternoon, or you could buy some fun clothes and toys for the new baby.
You could even give the gift of childcare essentials, in the form of baby formula, nappies, food or other disposables that rack up significant costs to new parents. If you have the money, you could even give the gift of a practical utility, such as a baby pram or crib.
Simple Household Help
If you have the time, to support a child after childbirth, you could extend your services to your friend for helping around the house. Childbirth can take a lot out of you, and your friend may be struggling to get out of bed – let alone keep on top of the housework.
You could arrange to come over to their house a few times each week to hep out with cooking prep, household washing or the dishes. You could even arrange to look after the child for a little bit so the mother can recuperate.
Recovery is a unique and ongoing process, and no two post-birth recoveries look the same. Your friend has experienced something profound, and may have encountered profoundly painful complications in the process; these can take time to digest. To support a friend after childbirth, it is important that you give your friend that time to recover and re-focus post-partum.
If you want to support a friend after childbirth but your offers to help are being turned down, they may simply require some space to recalibrate. As long as they know you are available to help when they do need you, it’s ok to give them time to breathe, and to bond with their new baby.