Posts Tagged ‘meal train’

Newborn Coping Strategies

Friday, August 26th, 2016

IMG_1141The newborn days pass by in a blur. Often, parents of a newborn are so tired they could cry, frazzled from learning their new baby’s cues and trying to get into a routine, possibly stressed or sore from breastfeeding, plus working through the postpartum hormonal roller coaster. It’s hard to stop and smell the roses (or in this case, smell that new baby scent).

One thing that helped our family get through the early days was having made up meals and packing them in the freezer before hand. If you’re lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a meal train, even better! You’ll need nutritious and hearty food to keep up and help your body heal from birth, and sometimes (most of the time), you’ll be too tired to want to mess with much.

If you can, getting help with older children from other adults is a real blessing. Just picking up your older kids and taking them to the park or a movie can give you a chance to catch a nap or even possibly have a couple moments of silence. Likewise, don’t be afraid to accept offers of help cleaning up or with the laundry. If you don’t have help, letting the laundry sit a couple days won’t hurt (though if you’re cloth diapering, this probably isn’t an option).

Try and get out and get some fresh air and stretch your legs. When my first son was born deep into the Alaskan winter, it was difficult because of snow and ice to walk outdoors, so I would walk on the track at the gym. This isn’t a fitness or weight loss activity, but a mental health activity. My younger son was born in the summer, so I could walk outdoors with him right away.

Lean on your partner (and your partner likewise) to get a little self-care time in. Shoot for every day. Before you have a newborn, you will never fully appreciate having ten minutes to shower, brush your teeth, and put on some lotion. This may not happen everyday, but it makes a huge difference in your outlook when you are able to get those few moments to yourself.

Finally, keep close watch on yourself. Baby blues are normal. If you continue to feel depressed or anxious, please reach out to your partner, family or friends, and to your doctor. It’s important to you and your baby to watch out for your mental health.

And remember to take time to enjoy that new-baby smell, it will be gone before you know it.

Meaghan Howard is a busy stay-at-home mom to two little boys and a houseful of animals. She and her family are enjoying living overseas for the time being.

Caring for a Mom Who’s Lost a Baby

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Before I ever had kids, I was familiar with baby loss. My mom  lost a baby early on in the pregnancy after my brother. My husband’s mom lost a baby between his youngest two siblings. I knew friends who had lived and grieved through miscarriages before I was ever married. I always thought this was something I would have to go through.

I never did. That made it hard for me to understand what friends who lost babies were going through. My imagination won’t let me peek all the way over, but I have the faintest idea of what could be there and it’s terrifying.

But these moms–our friends, our family, moms we barely know—need us so much at this time, even though it’s tempting to let fear immobilize you. They need us to step out of our comfort zones and be there, no matter if it’s painful or awkward or silent. Even when they don’t ask. Because, they can’t.

So what can you do for a mom who has just lost a baby?

  • Cook. Ask them—or a mutual friend of family member–if they want company or if they need space. If they aren’t ready to talk to anyone yet, you can leave the meal at the door and text them to let them know it’s there. Be sure to use disposable or reusable dishes so there’s nothing to return to anyone. There are many online tools that will help you organize a meal train.
  • Listen. It’s Ok if you don’t know what to say. Having someone there to listen can help. Talking helps us process. You don’t have to have any answers, and certainly don’t try to offer any meaningless platitudes about life. Just listen.
  • Offer to babysit older children. Taking care of children can be exhausting on a perfectly good day. Giving the parents privacy and space to grieve by occupying their older kids for a day or an afternoon is a wonderful gift.
  • Send a heartfelt gift. Flowers may not always be the best choice since they fade so quickly. A handmade gift, handwritten note, donation to a loved charity or cause in the baby’s name, or a keepsake that reminds them of their baby’s life will be treasured.
  • Remember them. Don’t avoid your friend on the anniversary of the baby’s birth or death; acknowledge it. They will be honored that their baby is remembered, even if it makes them emotional.

When you do have a chance or idea how to help, just do it. Don’t ask. Don’t make them ask. Don’t wait for a response before you act. If you know an extended family member or a mutual friend, ask them what’s needed most and when you can do it. It doesn’t have to be a perfect gesture. It doesn’t have to be graceful. It just has to come from the heart.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mom of three girls who lives and writes in Queensbury, New York.