Everything is not cheek kisses and an extended “vacay” away from work for new moms. It’s more like constant interrupted sleep, daily pumping and sore breasts (for breastfeeders), a weak body, holding the baby, putting the baby to sleep, washing bottles, changing pampers, bathing the baby, figuring out why the baby is crying, in addition to taking care of themselves and their households.
The stresses on a new mom are real. And can be lonely. A mother isn’t supposed to complain about her role. She’s Superwoman. All tasks should be done with a smile. Babies are a blessing so she should be grateful. That line of thinking is why new mothers suffer in silence.
When Tamar Braxton admitted in Flaunt magazine that she didn’t initially connect with baby Logan the outpouring support from women was widespread. “Me too! I thought I was the only one,” was the resounding response. Women felt guilty and had suffered in silence, but finally a mother was being honest about many of their experiences.
Naturally when one of your friends becomes a mom your friendship shifts to accommodate the new baby. You figure she’s busy being mommy. She doesn’t want to talk your ear off about the Cosco Funsport Play Yard she loves. Your lives are different now, but a new mom needs her girlfriends' support.
According to the CDC, eight to 19 percent of women have reported postpartum depression symptoms. Other moms are having a hard time balancing their new motherly duties plus taking care of themselves plus cooking plus cleaning plus be a loving wife plus remaining focused on their career. New moms like Tamar are figuring out ways to bond more with their new baby.
If your friend has recently had a baby there are ways you can be there for her. Stay in touch. Call or text to ask how she’s doing. Let her vent. See if she needs you to come sit with the baby so she can go get a pedicure or just wants to take a walk around the block.
Understand if all she has to talk about right now is mommyhood. Also talk about the things you did before she was a mom to make her feel like nothing has really changed. If you detect she’s putting on a front about how happy she is tell her, “You know it’s ok if you want to say this is harder than you ever imagined. You’re not a bad mom if you need a day to yourself.” Reinforce that she’s human and can only do so much. Create a safe space for her to feel like she can vent, yell, sit in silence or cry.
As a friend you’re letting her know she’s not alone, and reaffirming that she’s a great mother but also human. You may not understand what she’s going through and that’s okay. New moms need all the encouragement and support you can muster up. As her girlfriend you'll likely get it more than anyone else in her life.