Most people know how to celebrate the birth of a baby. We look at these fragile little creations of God and ooh and ah out loud. Even if the baby was born under difficult circumstances, we can focus on the hope and promise of new life.
But along with every newborn, another birth takes place: the mother’s. As soon as a baby puts in an appearance, the woman also is reinvented. For some it’s a welcome change, one eagerly sought and anticipated. At Elizabeth’s New Life Center, however, we meet many women who embrace motherhood reluctantly. Helping them assume their new role, make peace with their change of circumstances and bond with their baby is critical to their wellbeing in the days ahead. Here’s what any of us can do to encourage a newborn mom:
Send a gift to mom along with the newborn. It doesn’t matter what it is, but the rite of passage should be acknowledged. Make it flowers, chocolate, a book, perfume, lotion, cosmetics, a gift card, journal or photo album (see below), etc. Feel free to keep it simple—but make it just for her.
Remind her that her child is a gift to her, not only the world’s or God’s gift to Himself. Some moms will never know the riches of this world. Help them know the riches of God’s creation. Psalm 127:30 says, “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him” (NIV). That means that no matter the circumstances of a baby’s conception or birth, God intends that human being to bless his mother and bring her joy.
Encourage her to make a record of her journey in motherhood. Just as we prepare for an exciting trip with a plan to record our adventure, we should help mothers chronicle theirs. This could be through journaling or a special scrapbook or photo album. Instead of making this particular keepsake all about the baby, however, suggest that the mother make a record of shared experiences or insights gained from their shared experiences. For example, birthday photos in this book would be ones of the child with her cake—and her mom. A journal entry might be the mother’s perspective as she watches her child discover a butterfly or hear her child pray for the first time.
Suggest ways to develop motherhood skills. Whether mom works outside of the home or not, she has a new and heavy workload. Give her help with mothering, the career, with some facts not just about what she must do but how to get the job done. A mom is a cook, nurse, caregiver and chauffeur and wears a whole lot of other hats, too. Although some of these skills come naturally, not all do. Provide her with resources.
Help her see herself as interdependent. Two are better than one, according to Ecclesiastes 4:9, and a new baby gives a mother a lot of companionship. She has someone, even if it’s a very tiny someone, to share her every waking hour.
Remind her that she’s independent, too. As great as being a mom is, sometimes it’s nice to be an independent woman again. You can nurture that aspect of womanhood by treating a mom as a regular woman. In other words, keep in touch with a short phone call or by email. Offer babysitting services once in a while so mom can take a break and pursue an adult activity that she enjoys.
Thank her. Life is still makes the world go ’round, and if all women gave up having babies, the world as we know it would end. Elizabeth’s New Life Center values life as the world’s greatest resource and understand that in our culture mothers choose life. Thank a mom, especially a single mom, for bringing life in the world.