It seems like new babies and pregnant mamas are everywhere I look. Maybe it is my own baby-fever, or maybe there is a real baby-boom among my friends and family. Everyone wants to come visit and see the new baby. Too often though, this leaves the new mom being hostess to the guests and not resting as she should. In many cultures, there is a tradition of taking care of the new mom during the postpartum time. After having experienced a well rested postpartum time and postpartum times where I was on my own, needing to do it all, the difference is amazing. Every mom deserves those days of true rest – the tradition of “Lying In”.
For first-time new moms, this can be a wonderful comfort and help. All those questions can be quickly answered; the new mom can be reassured that all is well. An experienced mom can offer assistance with the how-tos that all seemed to make sense at the hospital or when the mid-wife was there. Swaddling? Latching? Even not-so new moms can have anxiety about “doing it right”.
When there are other children to care for, meals to make, laundry to tend, etc. having someone there frees the new mom to do what is most important – rest and tend the new baby. Resting is more than just sleeping. Tending the baby is more than just feeding and diaper changes. Just being able to stay off her feet is a huge help to a new mom. She may feel like she can take on the world (I always felt so strong and capable after giving birth), but after just a few moments on her feet, that energy wanes. The more active a mother is in those first days will prolong the recovery period. If she can get even a few days to completely rest, the results will be amazing.
I know, I know, you’re too indispensable to your family. They need you to be doing what you do. But, doing too much too soon will actually prolong recovery. It will do more harm than good. Let laundry go as much as you can. Have easy meals (string cheese and a piece of fruit is fine, especially if the seven-year-old made it, trust me) if you don’t have a supply from church or a stash in your freezer. Having frozen meals for the slow cooker are my favorite. If you homeschool, take time off. School can be made up, these early days of recovery really cannot.
Are you a friend or family member of an expecting mama? Even more special than one more blanket or adorable outfit, a meal or three for the post-partum weeks. This could be pizza delivery called in from across the country. Don’t let distance be your excuse. Live close enough and have more time? Come and do a load of laundry or two while watching the baby (and siblings) so mama can rest. This is something we have lost in recent times – community and caring for our neighbor, not just during this lying in time, but for anyone needing a hand. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35 ESV