9 October 2010
Yup, its an eyeful alright... Warmer weather and fresh air on the belly feels gooood :) We've commenced full scale nesting mode here. Perhaps inspired by looking at our calendar and realising that the number of social engagements between now and well, you know what, mean that our productive weekends together are extremely limited... We've been moving furniture in the lounge room and making space for the pool, ticking things off the list. I spent much of today in the kitchen, stockpiling. A one woman Mamabake. Turning my thoughts to afterward, as I've done twice before before, filling the freezer... I'm lucky that we'll have my gorgeous Mum here to support us in the first few days and I have a bunch of wonderful women around who are always happy to help or drop off a meal. I remember a time where it wasn't always this way though. When big owlet came along we were the first among our friends to have a baby. After we came home from the hospital, the house was cold and smelled stale. I slipped on cat poo in the doorway, landing on my back to protect big owlet (never mind the stitches, thank-you!). It took an hour to warm the lounge room up, get comfy and settle in. Then the babymoon began. Finally in our own space, we snuggled up and looked after each other and got to know each other - and empty the freezer. But we could have done with a little extra help at times. Just practical stuff. Visitors had come to the hospital, but gave us space at home, which was lovely, but sometimes hard. Second time around the house was warm and sunny and smelled like home, because we never left it. Mum was there and nurtured us beautifully. Friends dropped off meals rather than flowers and we lived off the stockpile for a good few weeks after Mum went home. It was the way a babymoon should be. This time around we have the babymoon thing down, I reckon. Its a lovely quiet time for us, spent breathing in our new tiny person. Generally we prefer no visitors for the first week, but its a wait and see thing on the day, dependent on how we're all feeling...
After big owlet joined us, when I visited a new mother, I'd always take a meal with me. This was sometimes met with a degree of surprise and extreme gratitude. An understanding. But its not always easy to know what to do after a friend or relative has given birth. Wanting to help, but not knowing exactly how. Often its even harder to ask for help when you're the new mum. You want to feel capable, like its all under control... Superwoman is heavily overrated though and you can never get back those first few weeks. Gently is the way to go.
Here's a fantastic list of things family and friends can do to support new parents, prepared by the awesome Canadian midwife and wise woman, Gloria Lemay. I wish I'd had it first time round or I'd read it when wondering how to support people around me who had birthed. Visit her blog for the full post and for a wander around.
1. Buy us toilet paper, milk and beautiful whole grain bread.
2. Buy us a new garbage can with a swing top lid and 6 pairs of black cotton underpants (women’s size____).
3. Make us a big supper salad with feta cheese, black Kalamata olives, toasted almonds, organic green crispy things and a nice homemade dressing on the side. Drop it off and leave right away. Or, buy us frozen lasagna, garlic bread, a bag of salad, a big jug of juice, and maybe some cookies to have for dessert. Drop it off and leave right away.
4. Come over about 2 in the afternoon, hold the baby while I have a hot shower, put me to bed with the baby and then fold all the piles of laundry that have been dumped on the couch, beds or in the room corners. If there’s no laundry to fold yet, do some.
5. Come over at l0 a.m., make me eggs, toast and a 1/2 grapefruit. Clean my fridge and throw out everything you are in doubt about. Don’t ask me about anything; just use your best judgment.
6. Put a sign on my door saying “Dear Friends and Family, Mom and baby need extra rest right now. Please come back in 7 days but phone first. All donations of casserole dinners would be most welcome. Thank you for caring about this family.”
7. Come over in your work clothes and vacuum and dust my house and then leave quietly. It’s tiring for me to chat and have tea with visitors but it will renew my soul to get some rest knowing I will wake up to clean, organized space.
8. Take my older kids for a really fun-filled afternoon to a park, zoo or Science World and feed them healthy food.
9. Come over and give my husband a two hour break so he can go to a coffee shop, pub, hockey rink or some other r & r that will delight him. Fold more laundry.
10. Make me a giant pot of vegetable soup and clean the kitchen completely afterwards. Take a big garbage bag and empty every trash basket in the house and reline with fresh bags.