Giving birth is one of the most difficult and life-changing experiences imaginable. You’ve spent all of nine (or so) months growing what eventually becomes your baby, and that alone is exhausting. Pregnancy is demanding, but childbirth is something other-worldly. Between your water breaking, contractions and dilation, breathing and pushing, it’s the single greatest workout of your life. Because you'll surely be out of energy and a bundle of emotions by the end of it, there are just some things you shouldn’t have to ask for after childbirth.
Giving birth to my son was like crossing through a threshold I didn’t know existed. My labor went on slowly over the course of a day and then more intensely over the course of a night. Working on zero sleep, and just a few peanut butter crackers and water for energy, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was also the most painful. I gave birth unmedicated and despite all the HypnoBirthing mantras and yogic breathing, those contractions were unbearable.
By the end of it, all I wanted to do was hold my baby and sleep. For the most part, all my needs were met thanks to the support of my family and the hospital staff. If you’re on the brink of giving birth, make sure those around you know that these are things you should certainly not have to ask for.
Snuggles With Her Baby
This is a given, but the main thing a new mama wants is to finally be able to hold that little one she just birthed out of her body. At the mama’s request (and so long as the baby is doing well), she should be allowed to keep her baby in her room with her for as long as she wants.
Basically, mom always gets first dibs on baby cuddles.
Help With Breastfeeding
Most if not all hospitals have lactation consultants on staff. If the new mom wants to breastfeed, someone should be showing up early on to help her feed her baby. If she’s having to hunt down nurses to find a lactation consultant for her? Yeah, that’s unacceptable.
All Her Favorite Foods
You just put your body through hell by pushing out another human. Can you imagine how many calories that burned?! Make sure the new mama has a nice selection of all her favorite foods nearby. She’s gonna need it.
Lots And Lots Of Time To Rest
Again, childbirth is on par with doing a triathlon, if you ask me. That means mom will want to sleep for at least a few hours. Allow her to get as much rest as she can while you care for the newborn (who will likely also want to sleep for a while because being born is tough work, too).
By alone time, I mean away from medical staff and friends. The new mom might want to be alone completely for a few hours, sure. We all process childbirth differently and whatever "differently" ends up being, should always be respected.
However, most of the time, they just want anyone who isn’t their baby and their partner to go away for a while.
Mental Health Care
Mothers should always have proper mental health care available after having a baby. Unfortunately, many mothers experience postpartum depression (PPD) and postpartum anxiety (PPA) and many will need help. Some moms also go through traumatic births and develop birth-related post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A therapist should drop in (or at least make themselves available) to the new mom for the first few days if not months after giving birth.
Access To Streaming Television Or Favorite Books
Babies are great, yes. Still, some moms feel the need to check out for a few while their newborn sleeps. Bring her a couple good books and a device with Hulu or Netflix on it, and she’ll be good.
Updates On Her Baby
Some babies can’t stay by their mom’s side because they are born sick or too early. If this is the case, make sure to update the mama on her baby as often as possible.
My son was taken to a NICU across town and it was hellish. The only thing that got me through was frequent texts, calls, and photos letting me know how he was doing.
Love And Support From Her Partner
More than anything, new moms need someone to be kind and understanding and sensitive to their needs. That means no angering mom, no belittling her feelings, no jokes at her expense, and nothing at all that could make the mom feel less than 100 percent loved. Partners, this is your time to shine.