We all know that getting some sunshine is good for the soul; this is especially true postpartum. It's important to feel grounded, literally, with the earth. Johnson points out this doesn't have to be some extravagant adventure either. She suggests simple things such as setting up a nursing area near a window where you can gaze outside or feel a fresh breeze, taking a bath with herbal infusions, sipping on herbal teas, adding herbs to sit baths and steams, going for a walk, looking up at the trees, leaves, and feeling the elements among you (Johnson, 2017). Within motherhood and the chaos and overwhelm of those early postpartum weeks, it's important to "reconnect with the elements of nature (which is) the life force around you" (Johnson, 2017).
We know it may not be our cultural norm to give massages to new moms for 40 days, or move out of our marital homes and back in with our mothers to be nurtured. We know our families and friends most likely work full-time in or out of the house and cannot take care of us in the capacity that other countries may care for new moms. But we do know this - moms need support, love, compassion, nurturing, and time to heal.
If you're looking for simple ways to make a new mom feel honored, cared for and loved after childbirth, there are a few easy things you can do:
- When you stop by a new mom's house to visit, bring a sandwich or a real meal that's ready-to-eat/heat, do some laundry, wash dishes in the sink, take the dog on a walk, or help vacuum and wash the floor. Are chores not your thing? Surprise her with a gift card to a trusted housekeeper. Mama needs help around her home with household chores!
- Ask mama how she's really doing - make her feel loved on and fully supported (plus, she'll appreciate adult conversation). Be someone she can truly confide in.
- Listen. Be truly present, get off your phone, and listen to her needs and ask her what you can do to help. Don't let her say "nothing" or "I'm fine".
- Offer to run errands - grab household essentials items from Target like toilet paper, paper towels, pads, snacks, etc...run to the grocery store and stock her fridge, grab her prescriptions, etc.
- Bring her some frozen meals or show up to cook dinner. If she needs peace and quiet, send her Door Dash or Uber Eats without asking; just do it!
- Remember actions speak louder than words right now...step up to help where needed. She most likely will never tell you what she actually needs, so think about what you would want/need and do that.
- Don't overstay your welcome - know she is exhausted, can't wait to take her bra off, and probably wants some privacy breastfeeding without having to use a cover in her own home. Your company is SO appreciated, but new moms need space to rest, too.
- Remind dad to take care of mom....especially emotionally and physically around the house. Give them a little nudge to step-up if you can ;)
You can learn more wisdom from the book, The Fourth Trimester, by signing up for MamaWell by FIT4MOM, a complete prenatal and postpartum program offering modern wisdom and whole body guidance for your journey into motherhood. Click here to join the waitlist and be the first to know when the program is available.