Coming home from the hospital and being a new mom is a time where LOTS of changes are happening. I will mention some things I found or would have found helpful from others around me.
1. Do not make judgments or suggestions unless asked.
If a baby is in danger for some reason, of course voice your opinion because the new mom may not know or recognize there is danger but if it is an unnecessary comment, leave it alone. New moms are judging and criticizing themselves more than you know already, having loved ones do it too will not help. She may just snap at you : )
2. Make sure new mommy is eating and drinking lots of water.
This is crucial if mommy is breastfeeding since she needs to be nourished so she can nourish baby. Even if she is not breastfeeding though, this is still important because she needs the energy to keep up with the changes of sleep pattern and to stay awake as best she can! Do not rely on her to keep track of her eating. Naturally, she will get so involved with baby and completely forget it has been hours since she ate or drank something.
The best thing anyone could have done for me, even now honestly, is say “Mary go sit down and eat, I will watch Jet.” That is music to my ears, you have no idea. Before Jet I took for granted eating in total peace, no interruptions. That will probably be one of the first things that will hit a new mommy right in the face. So please, do her the simple favor of watching the baby while she eats a complete meal full of good foods and water.
3. Accept her for whatever her goals are.
For me breastfeeding was and still is extremely important. PJ knew my goal was to breastfeed for at least one year then hopefully go beyond one year. I was blessed to be able to reach my goal and I currently still breastfeed but it helps when your partner and loved ones accept your goals. I started training after I got clearance from my doctors 6 weeks after giving birth yet it was not my priority and PJ knew that. He understood that I was not going to look like I once did quickly.
I remember I told him give me a year and watch that will be “me” time. I still trained whenever I could but there were many times where I could not because of something breastfeeding related. For example, I did not have any pumped milk stored and Jet took a shorter nap than I thought or he was going through a growth spurt.
There were times PJ did not understand how important breastfeeding is to me and I think it would have made things easier for us as a couple if he did. I do believe it all clicks for him now. He understands why I dedicated myself for a full year to give Jet the best I could even though that meant my training goals were knocked down a bit on the priority list.
On the other hand, perhaps a new mom is feeding her baby formula (which is great, fed is best!) and her goals are to lose weight and attain her pre-pregnancy body as an example. If that is the case, support that too. If she wants to wait to go back to work or go straight to work, support her. As new mothers, we want to be able to do everything and be super woman so she may not ask for help or support, just give it to her.
4. Love her new body.
This goes along with the idea of acceptance in #3 above. Truly love her regardless of what body she currently has. She gave birth to a small human being; do you realize how amazing that is when you really think about it?! Some women are blessed to snap back in weeks, but majority of us are not able to do that. Keep in mind, it took 9 or 10 months to end this stage of her body growing in all types of ways, don’t you think it is reasonable to at least expect that same time to let her return to a body she is comfortable with? It may take longer than 9 or 10 months which is fine too but be patient, plus she should not be losing the weight for you but for herself and baby. Do not rush her, it is just wrong.
Even though PJ has a fitness background thankfully he was understanding and patient with me for the most part. He genuinely loves me and knew I would get back to my goals with time. I remember there were months I was feeling very insecure and I would cover up or not let him see me naked under certain lights and he told me to just stop, he said he loves me, he loves my body, and covering it up is not helping anything.
He told me that he finds it more attractive when I don’t cover up and not worry about what I look like so much. That was significant to me because although I felt like a squishy slob he wanted to see my body, he loved me for me and honestly did not care. Then again, he is the kind of man that loves me the most in the morning with my swollen eyes, all my freckles, and my morning breath, he’s the best 🙂
Ladies, just be confident! Appreciate the body you have, it is an amazing body and trust that your partner loves you regardless of what you may think he/she thinks. He/she loves you more than you realize.
5. Treat her to something unexpected.
It doesn’t have to be out of the house if you are not able to. It does not have to be something grand either. I enjoy starting the day by making the bed therefore, I was usually the one to make our bed. There were times however when PJ would beat me to it and when I walked in our room to make it I was so surprised. It brought a smile to my face and relieved me of some built up stress. It sounds silly but the tiny surprises will mean a lot to a new mommy. It could be dinner, folding laundry, changing baby’s diaper, setting up a nice bath for her (the best!), whatever small task you can take over will mean the world to her. Trust me.