Thursday 30 May 2013

5 things you can do for a mum with a newborn

It's well-known by now that this isn't my first baby.

Riley, about 10 minutes old
But, except for my first baby, I've never had a visitor in hospital. I've never had any gifts given to my babies (or myself), I've never had any flowers, or anyone offer to help. I don't want to sound whingy, or ungrateful, or unhappy, but it has left me feeling unimportant. And as if this precious bundle isn't important to the rest of the world.

So here's my wish list, the small things I'd love someone to do for me, and maybe you can do for someone you know

  1. send flowers to hospital or give a flowering plant at home - this is a small token to show you're thinking of mum and the family (I took photos of my flowers when Chloe was born. These days, those photos would go here on the blog and in my project life album)
  2. a useful gift for mum is magazines, socks, new pyjamas - mum brought me new pjs and magazines after Chloe was born, a godsend when I couldn't sleep and was colder in hospital than I realised.
  3. share a meal - either feed the family while mum is in hospital, or provide a meal the first, or preferably the second night, mum's home. We visited friends the night after I came home with Chloe, they made all my favourites then shooed us out the door when we'd finished eating.
  4. don't say "call me if you need help", text mum and offer to do something right now - pick the other kids up and take them to the park, lug the washing downstairs and turn a load on, or turn up with chocolate cake and put the kettle on.
  5. remember, if she says "no thanks", keep trying, there's a silly notion that mums (especially mums-of-more-than-two-kids) have to manage without extra help. And I know that personally I knock back offers of help because I feel judged by the world. So if you offer to help me, I'll do my best to smile graciously and say "yes please"
NB I am feeling super-loved by my friends around the world at the moment, I smile ear-to-ear every time I think about the effort people are going to to join up with Deb's online baby shower for me. And I'm thrilled with the local bloggers baby shower Lisa and Rachel are pulling together for us.

ETA I wrote this post a week ago. Since then, one of the mums at our playgroup contacted me and asked if she could make a meal to put in the freezer for us. I nearly burst into tears there and then. 


  1. Great post Cate and to some of which I can relate. I have received flowers and gifts of chocolate, the visitors I've had are ones I've approved but otherwise have asked people to wait. What has stuck at me emotionally is things before and after. The only baby shower I've had is one I had to organise myself after a friend said she would do it and I got left with everything and I don't feel like people really enjoyed themselves. I certainly didn't have fun doing all the work and hosting. It was a hard blow being pregnant with my son and still reeling with grief of losing my twin girls so close to conceiving my son. I felt unimportant for sure.

    Then once I've been home each time recovering from a c-section I've had a hubby who has had to rerun to work within days and stuck for people to call on in a bind. There have been a few people who have helped along the way. But it is saddening that when people have said they'll help and you call on it they aren't there.

    At the end of the day all the trials and tribulations have made me stronger. I'm so looking forward to the bloggers baby shower. Can't wait to see you all.

  2. This is my first baby and I have no idea what to expect. I know looking back at photos of my mum in hospital she had vases upon vases of flowers surrounding her hospital bed and balloons and bears etc. But she also got to stay in hospital for 5 days back then so I guess she had more time for visitors. Ive been told my hospital stay will be 6-24hrs maximum so I doubt I will even get many visitors at all. Im assuming once the baby is born people will forget about me within a week because the anticipation will be over - I srriously doubt I will get many visitors at all at home or much help. Ive been off work for nearly two weeks and the only contact ive had with people is that which ive initiated myself. Its like out of sight out of mind.

  3. I am so glad that you are being surrounded with love. People here are generally great about meals and errands whether it's baby 1 or 5 although we generally only do showers for the first born. *Toni, I think most people think they should leave an expectant mom that has had to leave work alone, that she needs rest and not to be bothered.

  4. The little labour pouch you sent me when I was having a hard time in my pregnancy with P is still one of the loveliest things anyone has ever done for me xx

  5. So glad that the little time and effort taken to do something for you album makes a difference. I hope you have an easy birth and that your new little one brings your much joy and happiness.

  6. Although I never had a baby shower with any of my four children I did have gifts from my family, I hope all goes well with the birth x

  7. baby showers aren't a convention here at all although they are starting to make an appearance. Usually folk visit at home individually after the baby is born, and always bring a gift no matter which baby number it is. I found it fun, but it can be tiring because it's down to the Mum to provide food and hospitality; so when I go I try to bring some cakes with me for the new Mum to hand out to the next lot of visitors.

    I think that's a great point about offering to do a specific job instead of just saying "if you need anything.." I have a friend who was extremely sick and she said that was the most useful thing to her.

    Best of luck!

    1. Wow, I can't imagine visiting a new mom & expecting food & hospitality. The last new mom I visited, I showed up with a full meal for her family of four!

  8. A great post Cate, with every word totally true.
    I remember being in hospital after having a premature breech birth and emergency c-section after 12 hours of labour and feeling AWFUL. Visitors came with gifts for the baby and then my friend Jill turned up with a very expensive set of soaps and shower gel for me because she thought that I could do with a bit of pampering. Needless to say that brought on a show of post-baby tears!

  9. I am visiting from 'the virtual baby shower' Your post brought a lump to my throat. I wish you and your baby the best of health and lots of happiness. You have some wonderful blog friends out there.

  10. Oh Cate, I definitely agree these are important. I grew up seeing the ladies in our church do these things for new moms, so I can't remember a time when I haven't brought a gift, made a meal, ran an errand or something for a new mom. When a good friend of mine had twins two months early, my sister quilted two preemie baby quilts in one day & mailed them to me so my friend would have quilts to use as she held her babies at the hospital all those long first weeks. I'm so glad to have been part of the bloggy-baby shower & hope you are showered with much love and attention when the latest addition arrives!

  11. Oh I DO hope you get spoiled this time Cate...I always buy something for mum as well as the new baby, no matter what number they are!
    Alison xx

  12. Hi Cate, I wish I was closer and then I'd pop around with some food ... infact, I have a lasagne in the oven now for my SIL, her mum died this week and she's coming home from the Gold Coast today. I'm a food giver - my girlfriends and I all decided that meals were what would help us the most, instead of all sorts of little things - you sort of work out what you need as you go.

    I am also the 'no thanks, I'm fine' sort of person when people offer help - accepting help is often difficult.

    Take care, I hope you have a few moments each day to put your feet up :)

  13. This is a great list, and I hope that you have emailed or sent it on a postcard to everyone who lives close to you! Sometimes people need reminding, just because they are busy and don't remember or realise - not that that is an excuse. Wishing there was something those of us far away could do to support, but you know we are here and willing ...

  14. Thats so sad that you haven't received much in the past, every baby and new mumma should be spoilt! It's a big deal growing a little one ;-) glad to hear that you have had some special things organised for you this time.


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