As a mom of 4 kids I can tell you that it is exhausting to give birth. I jokingly tell my husband that I have been sleep deprived since my oldest was born 13 years ago. It is emotionally and physically exhausting to raise children, but it's worth it! I always heard people tell me while I was pregnant to get sleep now because once the baby was born, I wouldn’t get any sleep. It didn’t really hit me that that was true until I was so sleep deprived that I couldn’t even think straight. So, here are some tips to be a support for your postpartum partner to help her get sleep, and feel great.
#1: Take time off work to be home.
New moms have just had their bodies work harder than ever, and go through changes that are really dramatic in a short amount of time. They need sleep, which is hard to get when you have a newborn that needs to eat every few hours, and poops just as often. She will need help. Stay home, take the baby so that she can rest, shower, and eat.
#2: Accept meals and help from friends and family.
These people know how hard it can be to add a new little baby to the family and they want to help. Graciously accept their meals, it’s one less thing that you will have to worry about doing. I’ve learned over time that having a community around you that will help is essential to raising children. Just don't forget to do the same when your friends have babies!
#3: Hold the space for her.
What does that mean? Don’t assume that you know how she is feeling. Not everyone has the same emotional reactions to things, and while we might have a good idea of how she feels, you could be completely wrong. If she shares something with you, ask her how she is feeling about it. You might be surprised about what she says. We need to allow others to feel what they are feeling, and acknowledge it. I really believe that most women just want a listening ear. Instead of immediately giving advice, listen to her, and then ask if she wants advice or if she would just want you to listen to her. This is so important and something that I believe a lot of people struggle with.
#4: Surprise her!
Take the time to bring her something that you know she loves and enjoys. That could be anything from flowers, to a specific food, to a gift. She deserves to know that she is appreciated for all that she does. It's amazing how the little things in life can really affect how we feel.
#5: Enjoy this time!
I know that everyone says to enjoy the time when your kids are little. But it is so true! They grown up so fast, and before you know it they are to big to hold in your arms. Enjoy this new little one and the wonder that they are.