There is nothing as exciting as getting the “baby has arrived” announcement. Having watched and held hands with your girlfriend for 9 long months, you feel relieved and happy that both mum and child are in top form.
As thrilling as the new mum time might feel for you and your friend, this period could also mark the end of your friendship if not handled properly. A friend of mine once told me about how she lost a most cherished friendship after the birth to her little princess. Her friend had called to congratulate her on the new addition and proceeded to pay her a surprise visit. On getting to the house, she was told that her friend was sleeping. She left in anger and promised to never visit again. Unbeknownst to her, the new mummy had not slept all through the night due to pain from stitches that came with delivery. Her mother had told the friend she was sleeping because she felt her daughter needed to rest and regain her strength before receiving any visitor.
This would have been avoided if the friend had called to confirm the convenient time of visit. A new mummy is saddled with new responsibilities. It is important to make certain sacrifices in order to make the visit memorable for you and your friend. Here are a few pointers to make the experience a remarkable one.
1. Do not Show Up Unannounced; Be Considerate
It is already tiring to push a baby out after so much drama. Therefore visiting without prior notice is a no-no. A surprise visit will not only mount pressure on your friend, it could leave her feeling overwhelmed and resentful towards you. Call her up to agree on a convenient time of visit. Don’t complain when she says she needs to rest. Give her time to recover so that she can be lively and comfortable.
2. Do The Extra, Be Generous Enough to go With a Gift
The story of the wise men giving Jesus choice gifts lends credence to this. Don’t just go see your friend and the baby, it’s makes the visit worthwhile when you get something for them. You can ask your friend what she needs or buy pressing items like baby diapers, baby wipes etc. If you are unable to find any befitting gift within your budget, you can buy fruits, beverages or put some money in an envelope. That will definitely go a long way to help reduce the burden and stir up gratitude in her heart.
3. Try Not To Take Things Too Personal, Be Tolerant
The excitement of new born’s arrival will leave you requesting to see the baby almost immediately you get to your friend’s home. Out of excitement, you will most definitely be eager to carry this little baby but you need to watch it. A lot of new mothers are very careful especially when it comes to letting people carry the fragile baby. Respect the new mummy’s decisions and follow her instruction to avoid friction. If she asks you to wash your hands or use a sanitizer, don’t take offense. Babies are sensitive and can fall ill if they have not taken the necessary vaccines. Do as you are told without grumbling or making side comments. If your friend sits with you for a while before bringing the baby to you, just keep her company and wait till you are almost ready to leave before asking. This is because your friend might be taking a breather while letting the baby sleep for much longer. Remember that she needs some time to relax and catch up with you without the burden of putting the baby to breast like she does every other minute. Appreciate that and enjoy the moment.
4. Lend a Helping Hand, Be Kind to Assist With The Chores etc.
A new mum has so much to do and the arrival of the baby does not reduce the house chores. Apart from feeding the baby, she is also thinking about how to arrange the scattered house, do laundry or even do the dishes. As a friend, you need to play your part by assisting her with these chores while you are around. All you need to do is ask. Let her know you are interested in her well-being and you seek to make her life easy during the visit.
5. Sometimes Let Things Be, Keep Your Comments to Yourself
One beautiful thing about women is the ability to notice little things. You are so used to seeing your friend all dressed up and you are unhappy that she is letting herself go. It is better to keep that thought to yourself. Making comments about her poor makeup or the lack thereof and the appearance of her wobbly wrinkled tummy is totally unnecessary. She is allowed to be human as the baby is obviously getting all the attention. The new mummy already knows that she is not her trim and athletic self. Pointing it out is awkward and could make her snap at you without thinking. Asking her about her birth experience could also be dicey. If you are curious, just ask the “how was it?” question or wait for her to let out the story. It might have been a traumatic one she wants to forget or a blissful experience that gets her talking. Weigh this and trust her to give you the story when she is ready.
6. Know When to Draw The Line- She is a “New Mum”
Keep the conversation short and simple. Do not offer advice except when solicited. Whether you have experienced the process or not, try not to force your opinion on her. The talk about exclusive breastfeeding or formula feeding is a bad idea. Don’t bring it up and don’t push it. You are not in her shoes and you don’t know her challenge. Mummy guilt can push a new mum over the edge and one careless comment might be the reason for her misery. A new mum who has challenges lactating is allowed to supplement with formula. You can’t love the baby more than the mum. Trust her judgment and wish her well.
7. Consider and Act on The New Mum’s Feelings
No matter how well you know your friend, taking on the new responsibility of motherhood can change seemingly normal things. New mothers struggle with emotional storms within them. One minute they are really happy and the next minute they feel overwhelmed. It is essential to be patient and offer moral support where necessary. If she says something about how tiring it is to take care of a little human, show some sympathy. Let her talk while you encourage her that she will be fine. When you notice that she is struggling to stay awake or she looks really tired, take that as a cue to kiss baby bye and leave. Based on the change in status, a new mummy would have to feed the baby and also make food for the relatives who have come to stay. Therefore, you need to leave for home after a while. You might feel reluctant to leave but it is the right thing to do. Considering her feelings and acting on them will make your friendship better.
There you have it folks. Do right and make your friendship stronger. Now that you know this, go all out and show your girlfriend and her baby some love.