Most pregnant women get offers like, “Let me know if I can be of any help,”…. “Just let me know if you need a hand” from family and friends. But lots of new mothers do not know how to ask for help – or do not think they should need it. They shy away from making requests when they need it the most. Every new mother needs every bit of help that is offered at this stage.
Unrealistic expectations and taking on too much not only cause stress, but hinders the body’s ability to heal after birth. What matters most at this stage is bonding with the baby and getting some sleep, while letting go of other things. The best thing the new mom can do to ease into parenthood is go easy on herself and try to line up support for those early weeks.
If the new parents are lucky to live near parents or friends and relatives with whom they have good relationships, they should never shy away from asking for help. Simple gesture like holding the baby will definitely come as a huge help. Remember to choose the helpers wisely. Now is not the time to deal with people who will cause stress or drama.
The new mom should be honest about her feelings with her partner, so that they both are on the same page about who and what is most useful to her now.
The new mom should encourage her partner to take on an active role in baby care, and let him do things his own way so he too can pick up parenting skills and gain confidence.
Not everyone will benefit from the same kind of help. So if the new mom thinks that she prefers daytime visits from her friends and relatives, she should inject a bit of humour to let them know her preference.
When help is not readily available the new mom may seek help from:
- Pay for a temporary maid service
- Arrange for grocery deliveries
- Hire a postpartum doula who provides support for new parents, assists with newborn care, meal preparation and light housework