When you are away from something, even a part of your life, for an extended period of time, you can forget what it was like. We recently acquired a couple of adorable puppies, and they are wonderful. They are, however, puppies and do not sleep through the night. This reminds me of when we were babies and didn't actually sleep through the night. We were younger and could afford to take time off, but that is not always the case for everyone. So, now that I'm back in the realm of someone or something waking me up in the middle of the night, I'd want to bring up new parents and small children.
This period in a person's life is extremely difficult. They are learning new things despite being sleep deprived and stressed. They are frequently trying to function in the world while being sleep deprived and stressed. This is where we, as present parents, come in. As someone who was involved in that industry, the advice was quite beneficial, and I appreciate it all. However, just being back reminds me that we need to reach out to new parents and offer something other than wisdom. I mean, we can give advice, but we also need to give time. We must provide special attention to any lone mothers out there.
Women and new parents used to have extensive support networks. They had family in the house, big religious networks, and even local neighbors who came over to assist. When I say help, I mean they had people take the child away so the new mother could sleep and eat. This is what I mean when I say "Give them your time." While ordering door dash for them is necessary and appreciated, it is not as necessary for most as taking the child for a few hours so that the new parents can sleep or go out to eat. While this sounds like a perfect job for a babysitter, leaving a newborn with a stranger is really difficult.
Consider joining a church program where you go help ladies and new parents with their new children. If your church does not have one, consider starting one. If you have a friend who has recently had a child, I am sure you can share, offer to watch the child while the parents sleep, eat, or simply take a minute to breathe. We used to be a closer community, and while I appreciate the increased privacy, I think we should refocus on taking care of each other. Just a thought as I email our network to see if we may be of greater assistance.
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Dr. Matt Chalmers
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