So, your friend has just given birth, and you're over the moon! But wait, before you rush in with a casserole and a bunch of questions, take a step back. This is a time of immense change for your friend, both physically and emotionally. Here's a fun, informative guide on how to be the best postpartum pal out there.
The Three S’s: Silence, Support, and Space
Becoming a new parent is overwhelming, to say the least. The first rule of being a good friend at this time? Embrace the three S’s: Silence, Support, and Space.
- Silence: Yes, you're excited and have a million questions, but hold off on the interrogation. Your friend is likely exhausted and may not have the energy for lengthy conversations. Keep your visits quiet, calm, and peaceful.
- Support: Offer your help, but make it specific. Instead of saying, "Let me know if you need anything," say, "I'm going to the store, what can I pick up for you?" or "Can I come over and watch the baby while you take a nap?"
- Space: Give your friend some breathing room. This is a time of bonding between the new parents and their baby. Be respectful of their need for private family time.
Food is Your Friend
A well-fed friend is a happy friend. And let's face it, cooking is probably the last thing on a new parent's mind. So, don your apron and whip up some delicious, easy-to-reheat meals. Better yet, organise a meal train among your group of friends. Just remember to ask about any dietary restrictions.
Be a Baby Whisperer (or a Laundry Wizard)
Babies are adorable, yes, but they also come with a surprising amount of chores. Offer to lend a hand with baby-related tasks. Maybe you can change a diaper, give the baby a bath, or rock them to sleep.
If baby tasks aren't your thing, no problem! There are plenty of non-baby chores that your friend will appreciate help with. Offer to do a load of laundry, wash dishes, or take out the trash. Trust us, they'll love you for it.
Listen, Don’t Lecture
Every new parent is bombarded with advice, whether they ask for it or not. Unless your friend specifically asks for your opinion, it's best to keep your parenting tips to yourself.
Instead, be a good listener. Let them share their joys, their worries, their frustrations. Validate their feelings and reassure them that they're doing a great job.
Don't Forget to Pamper the Parents
New parents, especially mums, can often feel like they've lost themselves in the whirlwind of parenthood. A little pampering can go a long way in reminding them that they're not just parents, but individuals who deserve care and attention.
Bring your friend a self-care package, with items like comfy pyjamas, skin-care products, or their favourite snacks. Or, give them a gift card for a massage or a restaurant they love.
Keep the Friendship Flame Alive
While your friend's new role as a parent is a big part of their life, it's not their entire identity. Keep your friendship strong by maintaining interest in their non-parenting life. Talk about shared interests, funny memories, or the latest book you've read.
Remember, your friend still values your relationship and the shared experiences that made you friends in the first place.
Being a supportive friend to a new parent might seem challenging, but it's also incredibly rewarding.