When a baby finally arrives after forty (or thereabouts) weeks of pregnancy, it’s understandable that friends and family are over the moon and excited to connect with this new little life.
Lost in the hustle and bustle
Photographer Alex Michele was charged with capturing the birth of her close friend Tammy Wright, and she shared a photo of the new mum in the minutes after she’d had her baby. The shot shows Tammy hanging onto the rail of a hospital bed. It’s clear that she’s exhausted, overwhelmed and in some pain following her delivery.
Alex points out that mums are almost always left feeling varying degrees of similar feelings after they give birth, and notes that newborns are not the only ones who have endured a gruelling journey.
“In the hustle of the room, I peered over at my friend bent over in pain. Baby had just been born and everyone was surrounding the miracle that happened before our eyes and naturally, everyone was in awe of him,” Alex wrote as she shared the photo on Facebook.
“But I was especially in awe of her. I saw you, mama. I saw the pain in your eyes and in your face and in your body,” she continued.
“We tend to forget our mamas when babies are around. We ask how baby is, what does baby need, can we hold the baby, can we buy this for the baby but… what about mama? Let us not forget the hard work she endured to carry this child AND the hard road ahead to mother and heal and feed and rest and parent her other children also.”
Alex pointed out that there are so many ways we can let new mums know we’re there to support them, and practical help is top-of-mind.
“Meals dropped off, someone to watch baby so they can shower, solid childcare for her other children, house cleaners to stop by and help out,” she suggested. “Heating pads and coffee and comfy PJs. Maybe fast food. Or a friend to fold laundry. Maybe a new movie to watch or your Netflix login.”
“Let’s not forget the mamas”
In her call-to-arms, Alex urged a focus shift during this postpartum period, one that values the mother as much as the child.
“Let’s not forget the mamas. It’s just so easy to because women are incredibly strong and seem to have it all together but they need the support and the extra hands more than ever entering into that fourth trimester.”
Commenters on the post wholeheartedly agreed, chiming in with the supportive gestures that meant the most to them after they’d given birth.
“When both my sons were born when my dad came in the room he first came over to ME and gave me a kiss, how are you, good job, I’m proud of you then went to the boys. It was so sweet, I’ll never ever forget that!”
“When I had my second child, a friend tucked a gourmet teabag into the card with a note saying that i was not to bother writing her a thank you note, but to use that time to make myself a delicious cup of tea. Such a gorgeous gesture! I have always done the same ever since.”
“When my son was born my sister-in-law sent a gift for him but also sent a gift card to me to my favourite store. It touched my heart so much that someone had thought about me. I had 3-year old twins at home too and I was so overwhelmed. Her gift made me think about myself.”