Let's be honest about what it's like being a postpartum new mother. I have multiple friends who are having babies this year, and as excited as I am for them to have a newborn to snuggle, my heart also goes out to them. I honestly think postpartum-hood (that's a word) isn't easy for anyone. It's pretty much always overwhelming to some degree and always requires a type of transitional growth period. Despite being surrounded by a cute snuggly baby, isolating feelings of loneliness start to creep in. Those first weeks (and months) are just plain difficult. That's why, instead of giving a baby gift once a newborn is earth side, I've decided to start giving mommy gifts.
As most of you know, I struggled a lot with my firstborn. I will never forget the care packages I received from friends back home when I was entering into the newborn fog that is the fourth trimester of pregnancy (aka 3 months postpartum). My angel friend Ali made me HOMEMADE and HEALTHY granola bars. Talk about the greatest gift you could ever get as a nursing mom. I cried tears of gratitude when I ate one because I was desperately hungry around the clock and couldn't figure out a way to take care of a baby and eat at the same time. Then, weeks later during Pier's first growth spurt (another huge learning curve for new moms), a package arrived on my doorstep from my bestie Mary Claire. She sent me the sweetest card and gifts and even included a few books for Pier. I cried again because I felt like once I had the baby, and the hard stuff began, the world kind of forgot about me. Then my darling friend Amanda sent me a gift certificate to Pure Barre classes!!! I jumped for joy at that one. Exercise especially helped keep my early postpartum depression symptoms in check. It meant so much that my friends would take the time to send something across the country when I needed it most.
I learned that any type of support is the best gift you could give to a struggling postpartum woman. Emotional support, and prayers, and cookies, and probably a shoulder to cry on. Most of my expecting friends are scattered across the country, so being there for them physically isn't possible for me right now. So what can I do? Taking a cue from my own experiences from my friends and family, I decided to send a "self care" care package to the new mama friends in my life. My mommy gift is a care package full of pretty and useful things, complete with items that inspire a little pampering. Basically I want to encourage that they take the time they need for themselves! Here are a few ideas:
| postpartum self-care care package |
- granola bars | or a snack of your choice. Meals are great (they are so so sooooo great), but when you've been on hour 4 of a nursing marathon, you need quick fuel. Food my friends...food is the way to a postpartum gal's heart.
- body scrub | the time after welcoming a new baby is the perfect excuse to pamper yourself. I like body scrubs because they exfoliate your skin, leaving you feeling refreshed and relaxed!
- bath bomb | now these are fun. Even if you are a shower only person, I think that baths are necessary when you recover from labor. To enhance your relaxation experience, a bath bomb is an exciting way to turn your bathwater into a luxurious oasis.
- candle | are you noticing a theme here? Nothing relaxes me more than a fancy candle!
- coffee mug | let's face it...that new mama is going to be a champion coffee chugger those first few weeks. As her friend, it's our job to make sure she's drinking her 3rd cup of coffee in style right?
- bath salts | pour a little of this into a pretty jar and you have a simple and cost effective gift! Again, baths are so helpful after labor and bath salts are beneficial to the recovery period.
- face wipes | raise your hand if you hate washing your face as much as I do. After, a long day the last thing you want to do is go through the effort of face-washing. Maybe that's just me? But I love these face wipes so much for the days where I just don't have it in me to do the whole nighttime routine.
- chocolate | or wine? or both? I feel like an explanation of this isn't really necessary ;).
- face mist | Rose and lavender scents are my weakness in life. When you're tired and need a little pick me up, a scrumptiously scented mist is just the thing the help you feel alive. Or partially alive.
- chapstick | was it just me or were your lips crazy dry during the postpartum period? Regardless, I love me some chapstick. I think I have an addiction to this one in particular and have gotten so many of my girlfriends hooked on it.
- something pretty | if you know me, you know I love supporting the Jones Market. They make baby friendly necklaces that are both functional and beautiful to wear. I have a few of her pieces and I'm not sure who loves them more -- me or my child.
- an exercise class | take a cue from my friend Amanda and send your beloved friend a gift card to an exercise class. I learned from experience that taking that time to reconnect to your mind and body is crucial after you give birth. You never know, a gentle nudge to get back on the exercise horse with a free class might be just what your mama friend needs!
- a heartfelt card | what is more meaningful than a hand written card? I think the art of letter writing needs to come back into fashion because there is something so sweet about receiving a letter in the mail.
There you have it. Pick a handful of those ideas and I guarantee that a new mother will be beyond grateful that you took the time to think of her. Three cheers for celebrating the amazing women who are tasked with forming the next generation. It's not an easy job, so let's make them feel loved shall we?