As the world begins yet another week of social distancing because of COVID-19, the responsibilities of parenthood weigh heavily on new moms. One could normally look forward to having supportive loved ones in the delivery room, a parent to stay over and help with nighttime feedings, or a visit from a friend that provides time to shower. However, there are still ways you can help support a new mom while practicing social distancing.
Though TyWana Hill, mom to 5-month-old Brian, is grateful to have extra time with her baby, she admits that juggling motherhood while working from home is exhausting.
“I started scheduling feedings and naps around the many Zoom and team meetings we are now doing at home,” she said, “keeping him on a schedule is a must.”
For Brittany Grant, mom to 3-month-old Willow, simply finding enough supplies to last while stuck inside has been stressful.
“My biggest fear is passing the virus to her because I went to the store,” she said. “I went to multiple stores and still had trouble finding formula because people have been buying in bulk, so I finally ended up buying some from Amazon.”
Faced with scarce supplies, frightening news reports, and limited adult interaction new moms are greatly in need of support to help them persevere while quarantined. Here are 3 ways that you can lend a hand.
1. Let her talk about how she feels
While most new moms experience “baby blues” like crying spells and difficulty sleeping after childbirth, having no outlet for their well-earned frustrations leaves these women at a greater risk of facing postpartum depression and debilitating anxiety. Remaining in a constant state of stress causes the body to break down internally and externally, limiting the nurturing capabilities of a new mother.
Interaction with family and friends reduces stress and boosts moods by offering a distraction from responsibilities.
For Chantel Millender Bry, being able to talk to her sister-in-law and friends has helped her feel more supported.
“Consistently checking in on their mental state is paramount,” she said. “Whether it’s sending a funny meme or just catching up so none of us feel overwhelmed, making sure my ladies are good means a lot to me,”
Try giving the new mom in your network a call and be sure to turn on your listening ears. Try discussing topics that aren’t child-related or simply sit back and let her vent. Offer to read a bedtime story via Zoom or send a video that’s sure to make her laugh.
2. Send Groceries and Supplies
Empty store shelves have become normalcy as the coronavirus pandemic extends, leaving moms with few choices other than scouring the internet for baby supplies at the risk of paying inflated prices.
Show your support by having packages delivered or sending gift cards to a new mom you know to help cut down on trips to the store and save money. You may also consider a subscription to a grocery delivery service.
3. Set a future babysitting or moms night out date
Brittany Grant’s job required her to work from home pre-quarantine so now that she’s been staying inside to follow safety guidelines, she’s found little opportunities for relief.
“I usually leave the house to unwind but now even when I’m off the clock I can’t go out,” she said. “Sometimes I just need someone to watch her for like 2 hours so I can take a nap or go to the store without the risk of exposing her to the virus even more.”
Though it can feel as if life while quarantined may never end, provide a new mom you know with hope by offering a “to be determined” babysitting date. Schedule it as far out as you feel comfortable or leave the date open with your commitment secured. Everyone may be anxious to safely leave the house again but those new to motherhood will definitely appreciate a promised opportunity for me time.
Can you think of any other ways that you can lend a socially distant hand?