Having a baby is one of the most wonderful things to happen to a person. It’s also one of the most traumatic, lonely and half-crazed-from-sleep-deprivation times to endure.
Here’s how to be a good friend to your pal who’s just pushed out a progeny.
Be persistent in your offers to visit
In the normal run of social intercourse, someone offers a date and if the other person refuses that date it’s down to them to offer an alternate one.
This is not a normal state of affairs. And don’t say “let me know when you’re ready for a visit” because that time will never come, but offer specific dates until they feel ready to see other humans.
Be available during the day
Normal, adult time will have lost all meaning to your friend with a newborn: if you suggest meeting at eight they’ll genuinely wonder if you mean AM or PM. And if you mean PM there’s no way they can make it. Weekdays can be hella lonely for new mums, if you can make time on e.g. a Tuesday afternoon she’ll be grateful.
Go to her
But if she wants to meet outside the house as she feels like the walls are closing in, arrange to meet somewhere within walking distance of her house.
Meet in a place that serves coffee and cake
This is non-negotiable. Your friend runs on caffeine and sugar now.
Tell your friend their child is the most beautiful human a woman has ever produced
Even if you think the baby looks like a tomato or a wizened old man.
If your friend says “he looks like a tomato, don’t you think?”
Do not agree with your friend. Tell them that they are deluded and this is the most beautiful baby you have ever seen.
Food that you’ve cooked and labelled and put in portion sizes in Tupperware. Food made with love just tastes so much better than anything Deliveroo can bring.
Offer to push the baby round the park while your friend has a bath
A bath makes everything better.
Offer to hold the baby while your friend goes to the toilet
You don’t know what a luxury going to the toilet on your own is until you can’t do it anymore.
Be prepared to talk. A lot.
News from the adult world! Yes please.
Be prepared to listen to chat about poo
And breastfeeding, nappies, the exact number of times the baby woke in the night and how long they were awake for each time. This period will pass, for all concerned, but right now these are your pal’s primary concerns. Get your active listening hat on.
Keep checking in
Being alone with a baby for ten hours a day or more is an incredibly isolating experience. It takes seconds to send a text. Keep doing that.
Originally commissioned by and appeared in Mother&Baby.