Something many people know about me is my history of knee surgeries. I have had four pretty serious surgeries (two on each leg) and I could talk to you for hours about them all, but that’s not why I am here writing to you today.
I have seen first hand what people do after surgeries. I was always lucky enough to receive care from family members. Meals cooked, hair washed over the side of the couch when I couldn’t stand up without searing pain, activities given and mailed to me, and so much more. My village of family and friends were a huge part of my recoveries and they did things for me that I will never forget.
I was also fortunate in this way after giving birth, family cooked meals for us, travelled to visit us, and were a source of love and support. However, what I didn’t know at the time was that we needed (I needed) so much more. Of course, they asked how they could help but that question is uncomfortable to answer. I never felt like I wanted to say “can you heat up some food for me?”, or “I would love a shower”. Instead, I did most of the things or my husband did the things while I was nursing.
In a dream world, he and I would have spent days in bed snuggling our newborn. So, the question is, how can I help YOU get the dream scenario?
Obviously, I want to shout from the rooftops to hire someone like me who can come in and wrap you with loving support, but that doesn’t work for all families or all situations.
So, here are 5 ways you can get the help you need, without asking for it!
- Dress the Part
I preach this all the time, check out my TikTok about dressing the part! If you want your guests to come in after birth and be helpful instead of waited on, look like you need help. Stay in your comfy clothes, keep the robe on, don’t style your hair, and forget about make-up. If people see you looking vulnerable and real about the state you’re in, they will be more likely to offer help, even if it’s snuggling baby so you can get some rest.
- Leave the Laundry Out
If you’ve had the time to wash it all, but it’s needs folding, leave baskets of laundry on or near where people would sit when they come to see you. Some (I hope most) people will fold the laundry as they visit. Don’t be afraid to tell them how you like it done!
- Visible To-Do Lists
Leave a list on the counter or coffee table with nice big writing of what needs to be done. Empty checkboxes, of course! Along the same lines as the laundry, if an obvious to-do list is out, visitors will be more likely to say something “I see you need the dishwasher emptied – can I do that for you”.
- Pre-plan The Tasks
Before giving birth there are two ways you can plan for the help of others. Seeing as we’re currently in a pandemic, ask for house cleaning services for your baby shower. This way you won’t need visitors to get stuff done! Even without a pandemic happening, this is a smart idea and will go more appreciated than an expensive diaper genie!
Another tip for planning ahead is to ask anyone who plans to visit or be around more if you can send them your chore schedule. Create an email group or family group chat, and send them the days garbage and recycling goes out, laundry schedule, and anything else you like done on certain days or times. The more people know without asking, the more they will do without asking!
- Meal Train
If you haven’t heard of a meal train, sit down because I am about to blow your mind. First of all, no actual train is involved (although now my wheels are turning!) There is an actual Meal Train service where you can have people in your area deliver meals to you based on your preferred schedule and tastes. Choo-choo!
If working through an app isn’t your thing, consider placing a cooler outside your door and via email/group chat organize family and friends to drop you off meals for the first few weeks after birth. Not having to worry about meals is truly magnificent.
There needs to be a shift in society so that people pay more supportive attention to the birthing person after birth than the sweet baby. Until that happens, use these tips and tricks to get the most village out of your visitors!
With Love and Laughter,
Mama (Lauren) Miller