Our bestie. That girlfriend who saw us from high school through college, crushes to break-ups, jobs and lay-offs. She was there to vent, confide, or listen. You've got more dirt on her than anyone else and know she probably does, too. She got engaged and you eyed Mr. Right suspiciously, wondering if he was good enough, before agreeing that he was great. She got married first and now the baby is on the way.
The first new mom in a group of twenty or thirty-something friends is always a cause for celebration. But enthusiastic singles and newly-weds often find themselves wondering how they can be good friends to someone who is about to experience something so wonderful and different. What's a single girl to do?
New moms need their girlfriends like never before. Friendship makes pregnancy and motherhood more fun and a strong support network is one of the best ways to protect the mother and baby’s health by helping to prevent post-partum depression.
So, although it can be tricky to navigate friendship during big life transitions, Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, author of Depression in New Mothers, outlines the important ways a community of friends can support new moms:
Value the weeks after the baby is born as much as the pregnancy. Pregnant women spend months being pampered, but that first-class treatment often ends after the baby is born. Rally to her side and help the new mom set aside these first few weeks as distinct and special. Make sure someone is at home with her during the day or try setting up a schedule for other friends to come for a visit.
Make sure she’s important, too. No matter how excited you are to see the baby, always greet your friend first. When you bring the baby a gift, bring something small for her too — even if it’s just grocery store flowers or a gourmet cupcake. Baby blues or post-partum depression may be aggravated by feeling ignored.
Lend a helping hand. Don’t play with the baby and leave your friend washing the dishes! Clear up after dinner. Water her plants. Offer the gift of time to your friend so she can focus on her newborn.
Don’t ask. Most new moms are desperate for help, but reluctant to ask for it or even accept it when you offer. Instead of asking, “What can I do?” bring over a dinner to share. Do her laundry. Here's where those years of friendship can help - you know what she likes!
It might seem like a new mom is moving to a new stage of her life, but she won’t want to leave her girlfriends behind. Sharing in the joys and trials of pregnancy and new motherhood is just another step in a meaningful friendship between mature, adult women. Be there for her as a best friend on whom she can truly rely.
How have you been able to help your friends through major life changes? How have your friends supported you?
(Image via Shannon Lee Miller Photography)