Ahh… pregnancy, the time when mom and baby get to grow and develop together, in preparation for the upcoming season of motherhood. Pregnancy is a beautiful, joyous time, when mom gets ready for her baby with celebration and anticipation. From baby showers to room decorating, pregnancy is an incredible season of life, celebrating the soon-to-be mom.
Which is why during pregnancy, most of the attention is focused on mom. Anticipation builds as she starts to show and grow. Friends and family ask her how she feels, what she thinks and what her upcoming plans are. The soon-to-be mom is showered with gifts to build up the baby’s room and get ready for the next adventure of life. In the season of pregnancy, mom tends to be the star of the show.
But then, a strange thing happens. After nine long months of growing, learning and getting ready, the baby comes. Just like that. Then all of a sudden, mom is left to the wayside as the new baby becomes the center of attention.
Motherhood—especially first-time motherhood—is joyous, beautiful and exciting. But, it can also be nerve-wracking, anxious and even uncomfortable. Mom’s hormones and emotions are likely up and down, sleeplessness has set in and postpartum depression is a very real risk for some mothers. All of these conditions can add up to a less-than-perfect experience for the new mom.
“ When mom is dealing with difficult issues post-birth, being left out of the dialogue can cause her to feel even more isolated.”
But once the baby comes, the excitement and care is focused on him or her. How is the baby feeling, how is the baby doing, what is going on with the baby… and so on and so forth. So much attention gets focused on the infant, that the mother’s own thoughts and feelings can almost become insignificant. When mom is dealing with difficult issues post-birth, being left out of the dialogue can cause her to feel even more isolated.
Celebrating a new baby definitely matters, but we also want to make sure to include mom. So, how can you remember mom when the baby comes?
“ The most important thing you can do when talking with
the new mom is to truly listen to her thoughts and emotions.
The most simple, powerful answer is to ask questions. When you coo and awe over the new baby, remember to genuinely ask mom how she is feeling. Start out with four easy words: “How are you doing?” And do not just leave it on the surface, but dig a little deeper. The most important thing you can do when talking with the new mom is to truly listen to her thoughts and emotions. The truth is, you probably will not be able to solve all of her problems, but by being there, engaging and listening, you can give her an open ear to share her feelings with.
Recognize that mom is a separate human being from her baby. It was not long ago that she was making decisions for herself and running her life independently; now she has another person completely relying on her, and the transition can be difficult. By acknowledging mom as someone unique and individual, rather than just a part of the baby’s life, will make her feel valued, and remember that her thoughts and feelings matter, too.
So, have conversation which focuses on the mother, rather than on baby or on mom and baby. Show empathy and listen to mom in how she is feeling. Finally, if you can provide any advice or solution, try to help. Maybe the new mom really just needs a night out with friends. Or, maybe she needs a babysitter so she can take a long, well-deserved nap. Maybe, she really needs a tall glass of alcohol-free wine. If you can help, and she asks for your help, offer support during this transition time, and show her that you didn’t forget about mom.
Pregnancy is a beautiful time, as is the first few months of having a new baby. However, it can also be a challenging transition for many new moms, especially when the focus falls primarily on the baby. When someone you know and love has a new baby, don’t forget about mom. You will make her transition into motherhood that much better.