Do you have a friend who is expecting?
It’s amazing how much learning goes on in life: Becoming a parent has been an extremely steep learning curve and if I knew then what I know now, I could have been a much better friend to some of my girlfriends who started their families earlier than we did. Similarly, if I had known what I needed as a new mama, I could have asked my friends for some of these things instead of telling them that we were ‘sorted’ and didn’t need anything.
(We weren’t sorted. We did need help. We have learned our lesson.)
The list of things that I could have done better is a long one – but it starts in maternity. It starts right from being told ‘we are trying’ and it continues for ever after.
Here is handy list of ten things that you can do to help your friend out right from the beginning.
1. Celebrate with her and listen to her worries
Pregnancy will be a hot topic for a while and although you might get bored of hearing about it, it is important to know that it is still new and exciting for her.
2. Love the Lady Lumps/Baby Bump
Although it may be tempting to say, ‘Woah you look huge!” in the third trimester, it might be more helpful to ask – “Can you still reach your toes” and surprise her with a pedicure booking.
NOTE: Pregnant women are often self-conscious about their size so mentioning it in a negative light is, frankly, a bit sh*t.
3. Prepare the freezer
Imagine what you would need if you stayed indoors for three months. A few sneaky-mealy- treats slipped into the freezer will be a godsend when the new parents are focussing on feeding the new baby and just generally staying awake.
Sleeplessness and a total change of routine and lifestyle often mean that things like dinner (or meals in general) become an afterthought. Toast is good for breakfast but it gets tired when you have it for breakfast, lunch and tea just because you can’t find the energy or brain power to make anything else…
Embrace your super-friend powers and cook up a storm for the new family.
4. Bake Baby
She might be the world’s best baker – but a bit more baking stashed for a ‘rainy day’ can never go astray.
Book a baking day to fill her freezer. Most people who visit a new baby bring something to eat with them (but some don’t). For those times when people are on their way over empty-handed, a little stash of savoury muffins or banana bread will save the day.
Frozen baking is gold.
5. Baby Shower
This probably needs to be written about separately because it is such a big deal for a lot of pregnant women.
Ask her what she wants (or if she wants one.)
Let her have some say in the venue and type of celebration.
Let her make a ‘wish list’ if it will help the guests choose appropriate gifts.
Let her be the star for the day (soon the baby will be the new protagonist in all things).
There are numerous ‘what to pack’ lists for a hospital bag that a pregnant woman can overwhelm herself with.
Be the check-list supervisor to help her to get the necessities into a bag.
Sneak in a bag of licorice for her to discover on the day.
(And while we are on the subject of ‘packing’ – be a ‘pack horse’ and offer to lift anything heavy/move furniture for her so that she doesn’t strain herself trying).
7. Respect the Nesting
Pregnant women can begin nesting at any time. Some start right before labour and others start at the beginning of their pregnancy.
When the nesting urges come, respect them because they may be a bit weird. A super friend understands that the kitchen crevices MUST be cleaned with a toothbrush and that the linen cupboard must be re-ordered, re-folded and colour coded…
A super friend digs in and gets colour-coding…
Pregnant women are always told to rest before the ‘onslaught’ that is a new-born baby and life ever-after with children.
If your pregnant friend already has children, it is unlikely that she is getting much resting done.
You can be a super friend by just helping her to put her feet up (forcing her to put her feet up) even if it is just for ten minutes.
If you can make her take a power-nap then that is even better.
9. Get Clucky
You might not be into babies that much and that’s ok. Your friend is getting into baby stuff in a big way though! You can support her by getting ‘a bit’ excited about some of the cluck-cluck things that she will be interested in doing.
Some of these things include: designing the nursery, online shopping for baby stuff, trawling pinterest for cute baby projects, washing and folding all of the baby’s clothes and nappies, noticing everything baby related everywhere, talking about baby names, shopping…
Your friend is going through a big change. The most super thing you can do for her is be there to share it with her.
Let her know that you are there and that you want to be involved – this is the most important step in phase one of being a super friend.
Well done! Your Super-friend Powers are now unleashed!
Coming Soon: Become a Super Friend Phase Two – During Labour
[This post dedicated to the lovely Mrs. K – fellow artist and godsend-friend].