12 ways to help women in grief or after bringing home baby

You might be asking why I chose grief and postpartum (bringing home baby) in the same post. Because for me, they were one in the same and I’m guessing I’m not alone.

And it was in this season that I learnt to accept help (reluctantly) but gracefully from the people I loved most. While difficult for me to embrace my weakness, I see now that it was my vulnerability and willingness to let others carry me, that make both my heart and theirs feel whole, connected and loved.

So if you know someone who may be grieving or perhaps has just arrived home with baby, here are a few ways to show them you care, courtesy of those who loved me well in my own season.

DSC_0603

12 ways to help women in grief or after bringing home baby

 

1. Deliver their favourite treat

For me that was a grande caramel macchiato from Starbucks with an oat bar. For her it may be something else. But a little dose of treat-a-cheer goes a long way at bringing a smile!

 

2. Take the dog out to go pee or for a walk

For some, Simple things like taking the dog outside can became an overwhelming ordeal, especially if they live in an apartment. It’s far more than just opening the door in your PJ’s! It’s an exercise in getting yourself dresses, possibly a baby and presentable enough to not scare people on your way down.
Quite honestly, there were days when I completely forgot about the needs of said animal until halfway through the day. My own needs were screaming louder and realizing my own forgetfulness made me feel nothing short of a failure and bad person. Help a woman out!

 

3. Have someone else answer the door

If you’re planning to drop things off, make arrangements for someone else to collect the goods. Better yet, leave them on the porch, giving them a heads up once it’s done and you’ve departed.

Some days, the thought of even hello was paralyzingly for me, let alone the thought of making small talk or having to muster up the energy to show my true appreciation.

 

4. Pick up and Drop off the laundry

My bet is that the laundry basket is bursting and everyone would appreciate a clean pair of underwear! She’s probably worn her favourite pair of pjs or loungewear for far too many days in a now and would love to continue without smelling!
So grab those clothes and do a couple loads for them! If possible, take them to your house and drop them off clean along with a special treat. See number 1!

 

5. Grocery shop but ask someone else for a list

In the midst of new seasons and grief, simple things can become overwhelming, even paralyzing at the thought. Not to mention that food is likely last on her radar at the moment.
If you know what they like, grab some groceries when you’re at the store next. If not, ask someone who would know whats needed, other than her.

 

6. Send encouraging texts and scripture – let them know you’re praying for them

When you’re knee deep in fear and isolated at home, you can easily slip into despair, doubt and hopelessness. Reach out with a word of encouragement, perhaps from your own encouragement. Let them know they’re not alone and you’ve got them in your thoughts.

 

7. Make your visit a work party

If you’d like to drop by and visit, plan to help out a little. Don’t ask; look around and just start doing something around the house. Vacuum, dishes, clean the bathroom! Heck my mother-in-law took to reorganizing my kitchen drawers with new racks and organization systems.

 

8. Deliver meals – freezer meals

Better yet, have them put out a cooler on the porch to collect them without any need to make small talk.

 

9. Share your experience so they know they’re not alone

I think grief and change surprises us. Even if we’ve seen others go through it, it’s a whole other ballgame when you’re in it yourself. The darkness can feel all consuming and the voices taunt telling you there’s some wrong with you!
And in the after math of pregnancy and giving birth, your hormones are running wild! Yes you’ve seen it in the movies and witnessed pregnancy hormones be the bait of endless jokes, but you feel “crazy” when you’re in it! No amount of ratiouslizing or fact can make the habit seem sane, even for a season. Let her know she’s not alone by sharing your personal experience. Give her space to laugh and be angry about how’s she’s feeling, assuring her it’ll pass and she’ll feel normal again soon.

 

10. Give them permission to just be and not acknowledge you or your efforts

There will come a day when they will, but right now, their life feels all consuming. You can bet your bottom dollar you’re making a difference, they may just not know how much until later!

 

11. Take the kids so they can enjoy a leisurely bath or shower

It’s the small things, people, like taking a shower without rushing or enjoying a hot bubble bath in quiet. So, if they’re comfortable with you watching their wee ones offer in persistence or just show up and run the water.

 

12. Commit to short and sweet

Last and most certainly not least; possibly the most important! If you say you’re coming for a quick visit, make it one! And don’t wait for them to [politely] kick you out the door.
For me, that equated to a 45 minute max before I was antsy to see them leave. If you want to stay longer, make yourself busy. See number 7.

BONUS

After publishing this post, I listened to an amazing podcast on God Centred Mom, where a woman battling stage 4 cancer shared ways people have blessed her socks off. A few things she suggested that I thought were worth adding:

 

13. Give her a foot rub

Or a back rub or whatever else might feel amazing!

 

14. Offer up whatever you’re good at and enjoy

Like decorating? Offer to set up their christmas tree or wrap gifts. Good at graphics? Design birthday or holiday cards. Perhaps write in them or address the envelopes and mail them for her. Like to organize? Tackle a project in the house for spring cleaning. Sell somethings on craigslist. Deliver parcels to the post office. No thing is too small!

 

15. Be specific – include your plans

It’s way easier to accept help when people are specific. “Hey, I’m going to target. Need anything?” streamlines the thought process much easier than, “I’m running errands. Can I pick something up for you?” Knowing you’re already heading there can make her feel less like an inconvenience.

 

16. If you offer, be prepared to help.

If you say no once, she’ll likely never ask you for help again because let’s face it, we all hate rejection. It takes courage to ask for help! So, if you reach out and offer to help, be prepared to make it work. If your schedule is not so flexible, or your uncomfortable with something they may ask, then be specific with what you’d like to help with.

 

And finally, remember…

Being there for people and helping sometimes requires sacrifice on our end. It’s not always convenient and flexible with our schedules.

 

Have you yourself experienced a hard season? Remember the mommy boot camp of bringing home baby? Share your ideas in the comment below!
Advertisements

For a long time I felt unnoticed and longed for community- to find “my people.” You are it! Please know your presence here means something to me, so don’t be a stranger. I read every comment both on the blog and on social media and do my absolute best to respond to every one!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s