You have missed your period.
You purchase a pregnancy test and YES, you are going to have a baby!
You and your husband decide to keep the wonderful news to yourselves for just a little while because you want this to be a special time for you to share alone as a couple.
You couldn’t sleep a wink due to all the excitement and the idea of being a mom.
It hasn’t been twenty-four hours and all of your family and friends have received texts, phone calls and your Facebook status has been updated with the exciting news.
The pact that you made with your husband has been thrown out the window.
Four months along, and barely showing, you make sure to waddle a little hoping someone will ask if you are having a baby. You have told everyone in the customer service department, on twelve different occasions, that you are pregnant each time you updated your baby registry. Your family has shared the news with their friends and perfect strangers stop you on the street and some even rub your tummy.
Eight months along, you are huge and you announce this daily. You also like to share how many times you had to get up each night to pee and ironically your friends truly care. Volunteers show up to paint your toenails because everyone is aware that there is absolutely no way you can see them.
All of your BBFs want THEIR number on your speed dial because THEY want THE call when you go into labor. YOU are special. YOU are a baby making machine! Baby showers are thrown in your honor and plans are made to help you take care of your home and your other children once your incredible new baby enters into the world.
Baby is born and there is great celebration. Enormous amounts of gifts are given and beautiful words are spoken. Everyone wants to see the new bundle of joy and there are many volunteers willing to sit and rock the baby while you catch up on some sleep. Food is being delivered daily along with sweet little notes of encouragement.
And then it all changes.
After four months, you are barely coping. You are exhausted and the feelings of loneliness creep in more often. You wish someone would notice and they do, but in the postpartum mind it is not enough. Your BFFs are busy with their own lives and they no longer call because they know that you may be sleeping. You are no longer the star of the party. The idea of even going to a party seems a little overwhelming. Truth is, you really don’t want to be the star, you just want someone to miss you.
This is where friends come in.
Friendships are so important during pregnancy, but I believe they are even more important after the baby has entered the home. Who else can understand what you friend is going through better than you? Yet, we are not as present in the lives of our friends during this time as we should be. I just recently discovered that some of my dear friends have been dealing with postpartum depression and I wasn’t even aware.
Years ago, mothers connected easily because they would go outside to do the daily chores such as beating the carpets, hanging out the laundry and gathering the vegetables for dinner. Moms would notice if something wasn’t right with another mother. Over the years we have become more and more secluded. We can stay home and order just about anything over the internet. We seldom plan a date for conversation when we can simply text or message one another.
Studies show that one in seven women suffer from clinical postpartum depression. This makes me wonder how many of my personal friends walked through this time alone. Just hearing another mother ask if they are okay or if they are dealing with loneliness is all some moms need. We get so busy with our own lives and forget how we felt when we went through that season.
What your friend needs.
When a mom expresses that they feel alone or depressed we need to respond with understanding. We need not to question her feelings of loneliness, only accept her emotions to be very raw and real. We as moms can share how we felt or how another friend felt as they went through this time of isolation.
An experienced mother could be such a great source of wisdom for a new mom. You can walk alongside them, guiding them through each hurdle because you have already been there.
A new mom needs to be reassured that this season will soon pass and that you will be right there with her without judgment through all the emotional highs and lows. She needs to know that she will see you from time to time and that she will not be forgotten.
Make a list of at least five friends who have recently had a baby.
Mark your calendar and make plans to be an encouragement to them in the next few weeks.
Make a new mom’s day by:
1. Taking her a meal.
2. Volunteering to rock the baby while she takes a nap or catches up on some cleaning.
3. Delivering a gift bag with lotion, a cute pair of socks or maybe a new shade of fingernail polish.
4. Babysitting so she can go to the store or walk the mall.
5. Going to the grocery store for her.
6. Giving her a gift certificate from her favorite hair salon.
7. Cleaning the kitchen (because no one likes to empty the dishwasher).
8. Praying for her and over her.
Are you a new mom? We want to hear from you.
Share YOUR ideas to make a mom’s day.
If you or a loved one might be suffering from Postpartum Depression go to Postpartum Progress for more information and ways to seek help.