By Kristin Hirsch
Come Over for a Visit
Make sure to turn all of your attention to ogling the new little darling awkwardly suckling from your friend’s engorged breast. Ask lots of questions about the baby and don’t be afraid to get personal – it shows that you’re willing to break down other people’s walls! Some possible examples include, “Eww, are those baby zits?” or “You circumcised him, right?” If you must ask about the mother, keep it very clinical and make sure to say away from questions regarding her thoughts, feelings or mental health status. She is trying to shed her old skin as “Sarah” and is trying to assimilate into her new role as “Braxton’s Mommy” so questions regarding her personal feelings hinder this process.
Give a Thoughtful Gift
Make a list of all of the things that you think would be really helpful to your friend during this time of transition. Making a few freezer meals, arranging for a housecleaner to visit, buying a postpartum massage gift certificate or getting a new outfit for the baby are all good options. But let’s not kid ourselves, you’re going straight for those baby clothes! If it’s a boy go for a widdle-itty-bitty three-piece suit, complete with tiny loafers and a bow tie. If it’s a girl, look for a teeny-weeny-dry-clean-only summer dress, with loads of tulle, and don’t forget the saddle shoes and headband with a dinner plate sized flower. Make sure to only get items in newborn sizes for the ultimate widdle-mini-winny-tiny-whiny experience.
Be Attentive (Yet Frank)
At some point, your friend may confide in you that things have been hard and she’s not adjusting well to all of the changes. Listen attentively, but be on the lookout for the tone of the conversation to change from venting to complaining. The second she starts to sound like she’s whining about her new situation, you can gently remind her how lucky she is and how this is such a special time in her life that she shouldn’t squander away with a piss poor attitude. If the tears start flowing you may have to pull out the big guns and say something like, “You chose this life you know. You didn’t HAVE to have kids” or “That baby didn’t ask to be here.” This will help your friend put everything into perspective and she’ll be thankful for your insight.
Having a new baby can bring a lot of joy, and also a lot of questions. New mothers are often confused about the right thing to do in any given situation, and you can help alleviate this confusion. Do a lot of research, preferably on the internet where information is plentiful, and come armed with your opinions on everything from car seats, to breastfeeding, to antibiotic usage. If you don’t have children of your own, your opinions will mean a lot more because they are coming from an unbiased source!
Don’t Overstay Your Welcome
New mothers like to have company to break up the mind-numbing isolation and feel the thrill of a stimulating adult conversation, but too much excitement isn’t good for your friend. Plan to keep your visit to about fifteen minutes, twenty if you have a lot of opinions to give. You’ll probably notice that your friend, who was once so beautiful and put together, now looks like a piece of bread that was left in water overnight, and it will undoubtedly be hard on you. Once you make a hasty exit from your friend’s spit up covered hovel, take yourself out for a nice sushi lunch at that swanky new place downtown and try to forget about how greasy her hair was or how you swear you could smell the stench of afterbirth about her. Resist the urge to help again too soon (new moms need to learn!) and promise yourself you’ll call again in six months when the baby isn’t so sleepy and boring.
About the Author
Kristin Hirsch is a writer, improviser and funnymaker in Grand Rapids, MI. She knows the heart wants what it wants and hers usually wants guac. She also knows the Twitter is very popular but was just never been by that particular bug – you can find her on Facebook @kristinhirsch.