How to Get Help (Without Asking)

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?

Photo by nappy from Pexels

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!

  1. 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. 

  1. 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!

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels
  1. 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”.

  1. 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!

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels
  1. 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

Feature image: Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

Planning for Postpartum

Have you thought about day to day life after giving birth?

Photo Courtesy of Kendra Deen

Most people consider and chat about birth plans. I’m the first to admit that I wish I had made a birth plan, or at least made an effort to be more informed about birth. But you know what less people plan for?

The realities of postpartum. Postpartum is the time from after you give birth until always. But for our purposes, we will talk mainly about the first 6 weeks post birth.

Are you familiar with juggling? Holding several balls in the air at the same time will acting like its all easy-peasy.

That is a lot like postpartum days in our western culture. We are shaped by society to act like we have everything under control and we are loving life meanwhile, we are:

– Greiving the loss of a baby or the loss of life before baby (yes both forms of grieving are normal and valid)

– Bleeding… enough to wear or consider wearing adult diapers. But really, they work!

– Learning how to care for a super tiny, wildly dependant HUMAN BEING Sometimes. Or trying to move forward in life without a tiny dependant human.

– Healing with a dinner plate sized wound in our uterus. No exaggeration.

– Dealing with hormones, Baby Blues, or Postpartum Mood Disorders.

– Feeling unsexy.

– Wondering when we loose this “I’m still pregnant” look.

– Trying to find time to shower or sitz bath.

– Feeling anxious, worried, and unlike a good parent.

– Feelings of joy and overwhelm

And so much more.

It’s okay not to be okay during this time. It’s okay (and historically normal) to need extra care and support.

Setting expectations for this time in your life is important. Planning for things as simple as how you will get meals and snacks, who will take care of house chores, and how can you get the most sleep are all things that will make postpartum easier.

As well, in depth conversations with your partner or loved ones about what you may need is excellent. Keep in mind not to take every piece of advice as evidence-based knowledge and consult with professionals when it comes to healing and infant care.

If you are ready to make your Postpartum a success, start with my Plan Your Postpartum Virtual Workshop. It consists of 3 online live videos posted weekly (each saved for anyone who can’t be live), handy snack recipes for after birth, handouts and worksheets to help you thrive, and lots of supported discussion with yours truly.

Cost for this workshop is a sliding scale – Pay what you can between $20 – $40 CAD. It will be held in a private Facebook group. If you would like to join, register below!

Wishing you and yours an informed, planned birth and postpartum experience.

Lauren (Mama) Miller