It was a hot July day when I was whisked into motherhood as prepared as I could be. After quite the entrance and a short hospital stay, our baby boy, Jack Roman, was handed over to us to take home. My husband, being the safety guru of the family, double-checked his car seat possibly fifteen times to make sure our boy was secure before we told the nurse we were ready to be discharged. And just like that we left with this tiny human we were quite clueless how to care for.
The transition to motherhood, while we were overjoyed to meet the life that the Lord had formed inside of me, wasn’t an easy one. But it was made easier with the help of friends and family who surrounded us. To this day I can look back on those early newborn days of being first time parents with a sweet perspective because of the love that was shown us in days where we were simply in survival mode.
When I remember those early days of newborn snuggles and sleepy eyes I can think of a few things that really encouraged me as a new mom.
- Sign up for meal trains.
At the first news of our baby being born, our church small group was sending out a meal train sign up. Yes, it is a popular idea and there is a reason for it. New parents are often sleep deprived and feeding a baby around the clock. Thinking about cooking a meal for your family feels near impossible in those early days. Bonus points for disposable dishes that don’t have to be returned and even more if there’s enough food for leftovers to carry through another day of not worrying about meals.
- Offer to come to the new mom.
When I had Jack, I was in the midst of meeting with my discipleship group weekly at various homes. While Jack was in the newborn stage, they came to me, offered to hold the baby and complimented my covered-in-all-the-baby-things house that I hadn’t picked up in weeks. I felt comfortable with these women, was given a place to talk, was offered prayer over me, and our time in the Word together nourished my tired soul.
- Offer to watch the baby.
I remember many a day early on when my mom or mother-in-law would come over and watch the baby while I napped. In days where I felt like I was sleeping in 2-hour increments it was an immeasurable gift. Many other times my husband sat with the baby while I got some fresh air. Even if it was just five minutes of sitting outside, it provided such refreshment to me. His help was a great gift to me as a new Mom.
- Connect her with other moms experiencing the newborn stage.
This was key to carrying me through some of my late-night feedings. I had one friend who texted me Scripture a few times in the night, and I was comforted by the Word, not to mention knowing I wasn’t alone when it could feel like I was the only one on the planet awake at that hour. Another friend had experienced a particularly rough case of the baby blues and texted me each evening when I felt sadness coming on. Her encouragement that it would not be forever and that it was normal helped me to see more than my current circumstance.
- Listen to the mom.
So often friends and family are eager to see the sweet baby, and rightly so. But attention to Mom is also important during this time. How is she recovering from birth? How is she handling this big life change? How is she feeling emotionally, spiritually, mentally? She may only want to talk about her new baby, but perhaps she really just needs a listening ear about how she is feeling.
- Take the initiative.
New moms do not often know what they need and if they do, their minds are so occupied on their babies’ needs they often can’t vocalize what they might need. Take the initiative: drop breakfast off without her asking, prepare a snack goodie bag for those late night cravings, offer to pick up her favorite latte, order warm fresh baked cookies to be delivered (yes, this was a thing that was done for me and it was AMAZING), offer to clean bathrooms, do dishes, or laundry. Don’t wait for her to ask; see needs and meet them.
- Hold her arms up in prayer and encourage her with Scripture
I believe all of the things above are important to encourage a new mom, but none can equate to encouraging her heart in the Word. I know in my sleepy stupor of those early newborn days one of the biggest changes I wasn’t expecting was my time in the Word and how different it looked. I clung to the passages of Scripture friends sent to me and prayers lifted on my family’s behalf; they brought a sense of comfort this world could only hope to fulfill. As a new mom both in awe of the handiwork of the Lord and desperately in need of His sustaining grace, I would often read Scripture the Lord brought to mind, especially in the night as I was up caring for my newborn. I began to bookmark passages that the Lord brought to mind in my Bible app. To this day it is a testimony to the faithfulness of the Lord as I look back on how the living and active Word filled my cup and helped me lay down my life in those very sacrificial days of caring for a newborn.
A few Scriptures that I clung to in my newborn days:
“No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13
“His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” – 2 Peter 1:3
“But I will sing of your strength
and will joyfully proclaim
your faithful love in the morning.
For you have been a stronghold for me,
a refuge in my day of trouble.
To you, my strength, I sing praises,
because God is my stronghold—
my faithful God.” – Psalm 59:16-17
The early days of motherhood are challenging for sure, but I believe, with a community surrounding her, these can be some of the sweetest, most comforting days for a new Mom.
Kaitlin Redmond serves as a graphic designer on the LifeWay Women team. She’s a native of Nashville, TN, and considers herself a homebody. She and her husband Chris get to be parents to their sweet baby boy, Jack. She loves spending time in the Word with women, exercising, and going on picnics in the backyard with her family. The Lord has given her a rich community of women who have inspired a love for God’s Word and a desire to know Him deeper. You can follow her on Instagram @kaitlin_redmond.