Conveying your needs can prove to be very tasking at any point in time, and it doesn’t get easier with the arrival of a baby. During this period of difficulties – some figurative (like dealing with postpartum anxiety) and some literal (like dragging a stroller up a flight of stairs) – it is quite expected to feel awkward about asking for help.
The feeling you get like you’re imposing on others by asking for a hand is only human and natural. But trying to force your way through baby care single-handedly can leave you feeling overpowered, drained, and alone.
Parenting your newborn demands an incredible amount of grit and energy, and it’s totally fine if you cannot bring them all together at the moment.
We’ve put together, some of the best strategies for asking family, friends, co-workers, and even your partner to lend a helping hand, and help you get through this trying period.
Clarify What You Need
Truth be told, new parents don’t always think with perfect clarity amidst the stress of transitioning into parenthood. You may feel overwhelmed by an overflowing list of to-dos. You can find a way around the confusion and get the most useful assistance by doing something as simple as a writing activity.
A journal or a bulleted to-do list can be an excellent way to look into what is really running through your mind. Once you’ve successfully identified your need, you can then focus on how to convey it. Create a list of everything that feels overwhelming. After that, arrange them in the order of preference.
Maintain A Handy To-do List
Having a list at hand isn’t just beneficial to you for sorting your thoughts; it can also help give directions for others.
When you have guests over, they may want to help you hold the baby. Prepare a list of chores that may seem hectic to handle, and when they ask what they can do for you, offer it to them. That way, it doesn’t seem like you are imposing any of the chores on them, as they get to pick whichever one they feel comfortable helping with.
Don’t Be Afraid To Follow Up
Reaching out for help once is hard enough, doing it the second time may bring you even more discomfort. So when someone who promised to assist you with a chore or a food delivery doesn’t show up, you may feel unsure about following up. Don’t be.
Having your needs ignored can be heartbreaking, especially when you’re devoting the whole of your life to the needs of your infant, but you still deserve all the love and care you can get. Remain persistent in seeking to meet your needs; if your spouse feels indifferent at that moment, reach out to close friends and family members.
Make use of a Meal Service Template But Not Just For Meals
Some meal websites are excellent for organizing home-cooked dinners for family and friends. Amazingly, their helpfulness can go beyond meatloaf and casserole.
These templates can also be used to plan different types of services from loved ones, ranging from babysitting to chores around the house. You could even use them to say things that seem difficult to say in person.
Try Out Other Supportive Online Platforms
Thanks to technological development, there are now numerous websites and applications that can help to lighten the loads on new parents. Consider utilizing one of them to digitize your baby-related needs.h
Some apps and websites like sign up genius, Trello Boards, and Google’s Keep can help you build communication with your partner on the baby’s upkeep or even request help online with taking care of the baby.
You may be surprised to find that online communication is a great way to stay on the same page with your partner if you both have busy schedules.
Choose Someone To Represent You
When the thoughts of reaching out to others weigh you down, you can try identifying with someone who can reach out to others and make requests on your behalf.
It is usually advisable to go through a good friend or family member with the capability of making things happen, so you don’t have to worry about imposing. You surely have that one family member who is never afraid to speak their mind. Make use of them.
Use Social Media (Wisely)
You must have learned from experience that social media can be a blessing and a curse. It all depends on the way it is being used. This is no less true when it comes to feeling supported after the arrival of your baby.
Social media can be used as a tool for finding support from other moms and actually connecting with parent groups and other resources in your vicinity. You can scroll through social media to keep yourself awake while trying to put the baby to sleep at night. You might even come across tips that are helpful from other new parents.
Regarding seeking help from friends and family, it is not advisable to broadcast it on social media. Instead, it is advisable to reach out to them personally. Sharing stuff like that can send this feeling of vulnerability, and you don’t want the added pressure from people you don’t know or trust commenting on your post.
Outsource Your Needs
If you can’t bring yourself to ask your family members or friends for assistance on some basic duties like doing the dishes and all, you can ask a stranger to do it. There are sites with people willing to offer such services for little cash. Just make sure to run a background check on them.
If your budget permits, this kind of help could be your one-way ticket to less stress.
Try A Support Group
This can be a good idea for anyone with a less-than-perfect relationship with family members and friends, as it may be easier to share the burden with those outside your immediate circle. Ensure you join parents’ support groups.
Seek professional help
Family therapists, pediatricians, and lactation consultants exist for a reason. Help from family and friends can only take you so far with certain post-baby issues. You should try to see a professional.
For questions on baby care and feeding, get in touch with your baby’s doctor. Many pediatricians have lactation nurses on ground, and if they don’t, they can make recommendations for you.
If you are wondering how to find the right mental health professionals or struggling to find a therapist that can help you reach out to other new mothers who have applied for help, they’ll help with some recommendations.
Rely On The Kindness Of Strangers
There are times when you just have to ask for a stranger’s help, especially when you’re out of the house. You might find it difficult to simultaneously handle your groceries, car keys, the car seat, and diaper bag, you just simply have to rely on strangers’ kindness.
How then do you take the plunge? The best way is to have direct eye contact with the person while smiling so that they know you are looking at them. After that, ask for their help. Be sure to say thank you so that they feel appreciated for their kind gesture.
Start Having Frequent Conversations With Your Partner
One of the trickiest conversations about getting the help you need is one with your partner. In this most intimate relationship, it is important that you know when to communicate and communicate honestly.
Know when both of you have free time and are in a relaxed mood, pick that time, and discuss you and your partner’s needs. Ensure to ask your partner if it is a good time to discuss the topic before you dive into it. As much as possible, try to avoid the middle of the night discussions when both of you are exhausted.
Once you’ve initiated the first conversation, don’t stop at that; make it a regular conversation. The best thing for you and your partner is being open to flexibility, knowing that you will need more help on certain occasions than others.
It can be tough to admit that you can’t do it on your own, especially in this culture of self-reliance. But new parenthood is a time of adjustment, and there’s no shame in conveying your need for help. When you do so, you get the help you require, and you’ll be glad you did.