Life With The Libbys | Supporting Postpartum Moms through Love Languages | Maine Motherhood
Entering postpartum is one of the most beautiful and challenging times in a lot of women's lives. You're welcoming a new human into the world and experiencing all the joy that brings while also working around the clock to keep the baby nourished, happy, healthy AND caring for your own new body, hormones, emotions, and pain management. You can feel your most vulnerable while also feeling the most strength you've ever encountered. It is truly remarkable what our bodies are capable of.
Now that I'm over one year postpartum, I want to reflect on that time in my life because it was such a monumental change. I think the big thing I realized is that until you go through it yourself, you really don't understand and even if you have - no two Mom's journey is alike.
Long before becoming a Mom, I became passionate about motherhood. Photographing it for years, seeing friends bring new life into this world, I dreamed of my chance to do the same. I read all the books, listened to the podcasts, hired a doula, I was invested in the most important role I would ever get the opportunity to grow into. With that, I also became passionate about supporting other Moms. So today I thought I would put together a little blog post on ways you can support your friends and family (or maybe support yourself) if they are entering this next chapter of life.
But remember - everyone is different so always ask how you can support the ones you love.
There are SO many ways you can support new Mom's during their postpartum period. I think there is always such a huge focus on meeting the baby that we forget Mom is in a vulnerable space. The best way to love on a new baby is to support the Mom and/or parents that just brought the baby into the world. First being respecting boundaries and expectations that the new parents are setting. Everyone's comfort levels with visitors, restrictions, gifts, etc. is all different so LISTEN and respect their wishes, even if you don't understand.
I broke down this post by love languages because I think that's such a perfect way to support the ones we love by leaning into ways they want to feel loved & supported.
WORDS OF AFFIRMATION
Check in on them. Text them, ask when a good time would be for a call/facetime. And do it frequently. I found postpartum similar to grieving in a weird way because at first everyone is there and then suddenly you start to feel really alone once everyone's lives go back to normal. If you're a close friend or family member - try to be there when the dust settles and remind them you're always there for them.
If they're willing to share - ask them about their birth story. Tell them how wonderful you think they're doing. I remember so vividly being in the car with my best friend maybe a a few months postpartum and she was like "I want you to know you're a really incredible Mom. We talk about it all the time but I'm not sure I ever said it out loud to you." And that meant SO much. As new moms we are constantly doubting ourselves and so hearing that you're doing great always feels good. Get specific with your friends and compliment them on ways they are doing great.
Don't underestimate the power of a simple text to say - "I love you" or "I'm thinking about you".
ACTS OF SERVICE
This is a big one postpartum. This typically is not my love language because I hate asking for help and would quite honestly prefer to do things myself. But newly postpartum acts of service mean everything.
The biggest being, FOOD. I underestimated how much I would appreciate not thinking about having to cook dinner or how hard it is to eat/cook when baby is crying and you have to nurse. So...
bring over a home cooked meal (warm hearty meals were preferred for me like soup, or pasta - bonus points if you can eat it one handed with a spoon)
prep some freezer meals
offer to pick up groceries
gift cards to local restaurants, delivery services like ubereats or door dash, or Daily Harvest (I made a smoothie almost every day because I could pack it full of nutrients and eat it with one hand)
Other non-food related acts of service would be...
offering to take their dog for a walk
cleaning their house / hiring someone to clean their house (my mom gifted us her cleaning lady for the whole spring and it was the BEST gift)
running errands for them (ex: target pick ups, returning unwanted/unneeded items)
play dates with the other children (G was our first baby so I don't have experience with this but other Mom's said this was so helpful) - Another option would be to help with the baby so Mom would spend 1-1 time with the older sibling.
offering to watch the baby while Mom naps/showers/etc.
I absolutely LOVE gift giving but I don't always love receiving gifts or wouldn't exactly label it as my love language. But there are so many gifts big and small you could gift to a new mom to bring her comfort or help pamper her.
food (yup - putting it out there again, you can't go wrong with this option)
button pajamas / robe / slippers / cute & cozy loungewear
a nice new water bottle (I used mine from the hospital far too long)
hair clips - you can never have too many
for coffee lovers maybe a new espresso machine or coffee maker
a new book / kindle gift card (great option for anyone who is nursing and wants to do less scrolling)
a massage - my mom gifted me an at-home massage 1 month postpartum and it was perfect. there was no stress about leaving the baby and I still got to relax.
target / amazon gift cards - these are so helpful because there are always last minute things you forgot or need once you get home & settled
One of my girlfriends had a gift basket waiting at my house when I got home with a bunch of my favorite things and I can't tell you how fast I dove into that and crushed all my favorite snacks and snuggled up with the blanket.
AH - now this is my love language. There is nothing I wanted more postpartum than for my friends and family to just sit and keep me company. It can be so lonely so having people willing to come spend time with you whether its holding the baby, cooking dinner, folding laundry, pumping, whatever you're doing just someone to do it with.
The biggest thing with this one is make sure you offer beyond just the first few weeks.
& also quality time for the new family is equally important so make sure to respect those wishes that the quality time they may be seeking is alone.
& the last love language is PHYSICAL TOUCH but if you ask any postpartum mom my guess this is probably at the bottom of their list. But we all love a good hug every once in a while or a foot rub.
Here are a few of my favorite postpartum care & breastfeeding products...
If you missed my previous blog post: 0-6 Month Favorites for Mom & Baby you can find it here.