Better than going all out on a baby shower.
Although bringing home a newborn is exciting, it’s also terrifying. How can so much poop come out of such a tiny butt? Who is this rabid little creature that screams, eats and pees through everything? Why did they entrust me with it? I'm not qualified!
You’ve never felt so elated, yet so exhausted — simultaneously. Everyone says how wonderful motherhood is, but all you keep thinking is, "Oh shit. What did I just get myself into?"
And did I mention poop? There is a LOT of poop. And pee. And puke. Upchuck is now a fashion accessory. You’ll wear it in your hair (often unbeknownst to you), it will decorate your clothing like an antique brooch. Motherhood is full of bodily fluids — and not the good kind.
Cute baby duds are nice, but they don’t help Momma get much-needed ZZZs. So, instead of throwing your BFF a baby shower, here are five ways to help her take on her latest role like a prizefighter:
1. Have a sleepover.
When my friend Claire gave birth, I didn’t ask if I could stay over — I told her I was going to. With a partner who works 24-hour shifts, I didn’t want Claire to fly solo so soon after her C-section: I remembered that horror all too well. It was hell just getting out of bed for diaper duty, let alone to calm an inconsolable angel. Plus having some girl time does wonders for a postpartum soul!
2. (Don’t) Eat and Run.
Bring over a meal — and leave. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner; anything from soup to nuts. And coffee. Plenty of coffee. Homemade food adds an extra nurturing touch, but the only prerequisite is that the grub makes Mommy’s life easier. Not having to cook — or prep — is a godsend and a life-saver. Not having to entertain a guest and make semi-intelligent small talk when your brain is sleep-deprived mush is priceless.
3. Be a Handmaiden.
Go to New Mom’s house and wait on her hand and foot. Let her take a nap. Change the baby’s diaper. If she's nursing, deliver beverages! If she's bottle feeding, offer to do that so she can shower. Do little chores around the house.
If my mother-in-law hadn’t done the same for me, I don’t know where I’d be today. (Probably prison.) I thought I was a motherhood dropout if I didn’t go it alone. But then I realized that it takes a village. And if anyone offers to do this for you, don’t be a hero. Say yes!
4. Give them Operating Instructions.
I wrote an entire article praising Anne Lamott’s incredibly honest book about coping with her son Sam’s first year on the planet. It literally saved my life. Never was anything so brutally candid written about mommyhood.
Operating Instructions is filled with explosive poop, projectile vomiting, and pure, deep, serious love. Whenever I hear that a friend is pregnant, I get them a copy.
When I discovered the book, I inhaled it like MommyPorn with my wailing, colicky son squirming on my lap. Before OI, I seriously considered leaving him in a Dumpster. I’m very glad I didn’t and found this book instead.
5. Offer advice — but only when asked.
People are filled with well-meaning, sometimes passive-aggressive suggestions for virgin moms. Be willing to offer advice but only when it’s solicited.
Nobody gives a rat’s ass that you used cornstarch on your daughter’s beet-red diaper rash. Ditto that your cousin’s va-jay-jay tore during childbirth (Let’s face it, we only care about our own vaginas!).
Be there when your buds need words of wisdom, even at 1 a.m. or in the middle of dinner. But don’t burden them with how your son pooped up his back every bowel movement until he was two. Your baby horror stories aren’t entertaining; they’re petrifying. And frankly, new moms are scared enough already.
This article was originally published at Ravishly. Reprinted with permission from the author.