If you’ve been friends with someone for a long time, you’ve probably already helped them through a lot of challenges in life. Whether that’s problems with work, problems with relationships or any other of the dilemmas life throw at us, you’ve probably already been a shoulder to cry on for a number of occasions. One of the biggest changes anybody can go through in their lives is becoming a parent. Whilst it might change their lives completely, it shouldn’t change your friendship. Becoming a mother can be hugely daunting, so it’s important that anybody expecting a child has their friends around them. Here are five ways in which you can support women through the challenges of becoming a mother.
Be there from the start
Women don’t become mothers the day their child is born. The journey starts a lot earlier than that. It is so important that every expectant mother is supported throughout every step of their pregnancy. Whilst it’s important to have friends and family to support them through the day to day struggles, it’s even more important that every pregnant woman has a trained midwife to monitor their health throughout this time.
You might think that becoming a midwife might mean giving up your social life and having your head firmly in the books for years. That might have been the case for previous trainees, but now online nurse midwifery programs mean you can study in your own time between all of your other commitments. On courses like those provided by Baylor University, the main coursework can be completed from the comfort of your own home. The practical skills are then taught on campus and via placements arranged by the university. The course has an extremely high success rate, with 100% of students passing the course and 90% then going on to securing jobs at highly regarded hospitals. You’d then be fully qualified to support pregnant women before, during, and after their birth.
Give the gift of time
Traditionally many people give little outfits or even toys as presents to new mothers to celebrate the birth of their child. Whilst much appreciated many of these outfits might only be worn once or twice before they grow out of them. If you really want to give them a gift they’ll appreciate, then give them a gift that will save them time. When you become a new parent, you have so much to do and very little sleep to do it on. By giving them a bag of groceries so they don’t need to go to the store or a home cooked meal that they can easily reheat, you’ll be given a gift that they can truly appreciate.
Your gift doesn’t even have to be a physical item. Why not give them a homemade voucher for some of your time. It could be helping them with a load of laundry, cleaning the house or even taking the dog for a walk. Think about what task would make their life easier once it’s been removed.
Take lots of photos
When you have a newborn baby in the house, you’ll have a lot of people coming in and out of your house at all times. Every one of them will probably want a cuddle with the youngest resident of the house. They’ll also probably want to have their photo taken holding with the little one as well. The baby will become the star of the show, but often the new parents won’t be anywhere to be seen in any of the photos. If you ask for a photo with the baby, make sure you ask for one with the new parents as well.
Once you’ve got some photos of the new family, make sure you find a way of making sure they last a lifetime. These days a lot of photos only ever end up on a smartphone screen or on social media. Print out any photos in a form that they can be really appreciated. If you get a real good shot, why not get it blown up into a large canvas they can hang on the wall. If you have lots of good ones, then choose a frame that can hold multiple pictures or create them a traditional album.
Keep an eye out for signs of depression
One of the most important things you can do for the new mother in your life is to ask them one simple question. How are you feeling? Of course, the natural response will be for them to say they couldn’t be happier. Whilst it’s always hard, try and make sure they’re not being dishonest with you. Postpartum depression is common in new parents, but many people struggle to admit that they’re struggling with it.
Familiarize yourself with the symptoms so you can try and spot them whilst you’re spending time with them. As well as feeling sad and emotionless, people suffering from postpartum depression can also have problems bonding with their new child. Once the problem has been diagnosed, there are a lot of treatments they can try to help. These include everything from counseling, therapy and medication. Once they’ve begun treatment, continue to check on them and keep asking that all-important question. How are you feeling?
Remember they’re a person too
Whilst becoming a mother is hugely exciting, it shouldn’t be the only thing that defines your friend. Make sure you make time to talk to them about things other than their newborn baby and the trials of parenthood. Remember those things you use to talk about before they had a baby. Even if talking about celebrities and soap operas might seem more trivial now, it doesn’t mean it’s not just as wanted as it was before. Also make sure you don’t cut them out of events. Whilst it might be more difficult for them to attend nights out on short notice, make sure you still invite them and help them find a sitter.