Parenting, the first 2 weeks
This information is useful for anyone who is just about to have a baby, has had one, or knows someone who has. There is so much we can do to help.
The early days and weeks of parenting a newborn can be exciting, scary, fun, horrible, mysterious, delightful, confusing, tiring…. need I go on?
Whatever your experience of this time, it is one of incomparable change and transformation.
For parents of the newborn there is a plethora of advice and information. Here is more for you to digest. My only advice is to take all advice, including mine with a grain of salt. That is read it, listen to it but do what is right for YOU and YOUR baby.
My thoughts today are more about how to support each other as new parents in this time. And for those who are not the parents in question, how to support the new parents.
Important note for single mothers:
If you are a single parent, please replace the word “Partner” with Mother, Father, Grandparent, Aunt, Brother, Sister, Friend, Neighbour, Midwife or Doula. If you have none of these, please contact me and I will bring around a crock pot filled with food, some massage oil and clean your house.
Women who have just birthed need support.
The problem with us women is that we expect our partners to read our minds. It’s true, we do. We expect by choosing someone as our significant intimate partner they will automatically know our needs and we get mighty fine pissed off when theses poor souls don’t read our minds.
Newsflash women. Our partner cannot read our mind.
There is however a simple solution to this inconvenience. Partners you have the power to ask the most important six words ever. The words are: “What can I do to help?”
This may sound simplistic even patronising. Hold onto your ego, forget being right and try it.
Okay women you have been asked. This is the next step.
You are on….. Tell your partner what you need or want.
I mean it. Keep it simple. They don’t see mess like you do. They don’t consider life an endless list of tasks to be completed. Tell them , go on….
If you don’t know what to ask for here are a few prompts to get you started.
- Hang out the wet washing in the machine
- Hold the baby so I can have a shower
- Make the bed up with clean sheets
- Make me a sandwich
- Keep a fresh glass of water within my reach at all times
- Change the baby
- Wash the dishes
- Heat up my heat pack
- Call your Mum with an update so I don’t have to
- Walk the dog
- Turn off the damn TV and XBox
Act. These things matter to her. If she has asked you, then they have been on her mind, she needs your help. Don’t question her, try and negotiate or promise to do it later. She has finally told you what she wants, she is vulnerable, she risks having you let her down and she deserves your support. Just do it. While you are at it give her some verbal support, compliment her and remind her how beautiful she is and what an amazing job she is doing.
Sometimes a woman will respond to the magic words (Say them with me “What can I do to help?”) with “I don’t know!”
There is one of two reasons for this.
- She is fearful of speaking up and being let down. To ask for help places her in a vulnerable position of potentially being let down so why ask.
- She really does not know. She may be so overwhelmed, tired, scared, …fill the blank, that she simply does not know.
Your response will be to look up above at my list and just pick one or two and say, “Well I am going to make you some lunch and do the dishes. How about you think about it and I will ask again later. Okay?”
Now women, help is at hand. You just have to be brave enough to voice your needs when asked. Please try to thank them; it’s just manners even if they did the very thing they should have if they could have read your mind.
Here is my process in simple steps. It works like this:
- Woman: Accept your partner cannot read your mind
- Partner: Ask the 6 magic words “What can I do to help?”
- Woman: Tell your partner what you need or want.
- Partner: Listen! Don’t negotiate or question. Just Act!
- Woman: Thank them
Partner: Don’t sulk if they don’t thank you, notice what you did or think you are the most amazing human that ever graced the earth. Get over yourself. She just gave birth and deserves to be treated like a goddess. No questions asked.