Posts in Totum Stories
The Number One Nicest Thing to Do for a New Mom, and How to Do It
 

By Totum Founder, Erin Erenberg

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I had a friend text me the day I gave birth saying, “I am going to make you dinner and drop it off on your doorstep Wednesday around 4PM.”

There is so much to love about that simple sentence. First, she was insistent about it (“I am going to…”). She didn’t say “How can I help?”  “What can I do?” Or even “would it be ok if….” All of those phrases come from love, but they’re tossing a to-do onto the plate of a new mom. Instead, this was a statement and left no room for negotiation.

Second, she gave me a date several days out from when I’d arrive home from the hospital. By being so clear, she removed the need for me to think. It was happening Wednesday, before dinnertime. I didn’t have to open my calendar and schedule something and take myself out of the newborn haze for a nanosecond.

The third point I’ll make came down to execution. And this is the most important part. SHE DROPPED IT OFF AND ONLY TEXT’D ME THAT IT WAS THERE AFTER SHE DROVE AWAY.  Listen, friends, family and loved ones: a brand new mom does not need visitors. She needs food. She needs rest. She needs to lie around in a robe with her baby on her body without thinking that anyone is taking stock of how she looks.  She does not need to feel the pressure to entertain you. Unless you are there to help her, save the visits for a few weeks out, at least. Heng Ou states this much more gently in her book The First Forty Days. For a more elaborate and kind explanation of why this is, check it out.

Listen, friends, family and loved ones: a brand new mom does not need visitors.

This friend happened to drop of a reusable basket complete with dinner for our entire family that could be easily reheated, and she included healthy granola for snacking. It was pretty incredible. Of course, the homemade element gave our whole family a sense of love and nurturing that’s second to none.

But you know what else was awesome: getting food Door-Dashed or Postmat-ed to us. We had one friend send a box of sushi for the grown-ups and Italian for our 5 and 3 year olds.  Another sent a Mediterranean spread that we could reheat all week. Yet another went out of her way to bring over a modular taco salad that could be customized for all the picky eaters in the family.

But for those of you who, like me, fall short of Pinterest-Mom status, are forgetful and harried, yet truly want to serve a friend who’s just had a baby, know that executing a perfect food drop is just the trick.

There are many, many kind things to do for a new mother, and our friends and family did all sorts of wonderful things that I’ll always remember (my goddess of a sister in law made me a hand-curated basket full of luxurious postpartum treats, for one). But for those of you who, like me, fall short of Pinterest-Mom status, are forgetful and harried, yet truly want to serve a friend who’s just had a baby, know that executing a perfect food drop is just the trick.

 
On the Eve of My Daughter's First Birthday
 
Totum Women

Evangeline Koslowsky

Brand-Builder, Mom to Lola, LA by way of Chicago, Food Network/HGTV/Amazon Prime Addict

She is almost one. I just ordered her a cake. I can’t believe how fast this has all gone. I never believed anyone when they said it would fly by—but now she is almost one, and I feel like everything is changing—again. I have just started to get used to being a “new mom”--and now it is time for her to be one. The baby phase officially over. I know it’s just a number, but it feels big and my emotions are mixed.

I was so scared before I met her that I wouldn’t be good enough for her at all of her stages—newborn, infant, baby—but we did it together.

I will soon be the mother to a toddler and I have no idea what that means. Will I still be able to hold her in my arms? Will she want me to sing her to sleep? Will we ever get these quiet times back where she just wants to sit on my lap? I know that my mind is spiraling, and I know things will be fine, but turning one just seems like such a huge milestone—and just something I never focused on. 

The one thing I try to keep telling myself is that I need to trust her. I was so scared before I met her that I wouldn’t be good enough for her at all of her stages—newborn, infant, baby—but we did it together. It never felt scary in the moment because we learned together—albeit sometimes it was insane and involved a lot of diapers, messes, tears—but we got through it and she taught me that not only was it not as bad as I thought—but I was good enough. I know I just need to keep reminding myself we will do this together too--these changes seem like they are going to all come overnight, but it's only overwhelming if I let it be overwhelming. I need to be present--and be excited--for both of us. As much as I would love time to slow down, I need to remind myself this is a happy time, and yes one year is behind us but we have so many ahead.

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Thank you for sharing your motherhood story with us.

Totum means "whole" in Latin. We love the word because our mission is to serve real women and help them stand in the fullness of their powerful identities. A big part of that is welcoming and hearing from a wide range of women in order to best serve them.

This all started because I noticed that there were precious few resources for the woman after she gave birth, and I believe she deserves much more. We’re here to shake up the status quo and bolster women in their identities as they pass into motherhood. We love being mothers, but we’re much more than “mommy.”

We know that no two women have an identical experience, but it’s by sharing honestly that we come to understand each other and our own experiences more deeply. Here we share without secrets -- no shame, no judgment, no fear of being polite, no right or wrong answers. We want you in all your authentic wonder!

Your voice is critical to our mission. The “stories” section of our site is dedicated to maintaining a platform for women to share their motherhood experiences, spanning the topics of pregnancy, labor, breastfeeding, return to work, finding balance and beyond. Your story truly has the potential to change another life. We’re so grateful that you’re here to share it with us.

With love,

Erin

 

YOUR STORY

Tone: Be honest. Be kind. Be inclusive. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. Celebrate yourself and other women as strong and powerful.

Voice: Don’t be afraid to be you -- whether that means funny and crass or soft and soulful. We challenge ourselves to avoid defaulting to industry “mommy” speak wherever possible. We aim to see our experiences through a lens of compassion and strength, without judgment or shame.

Imagery: Please share any photos that are relevant to and help tell your story.  Professional shots -- 900px or larger on all sides -- are preferred, wherever possible, but we welcome all images that speak to the real you. Our style is documentary, behind the scenes, raw and honest. We are not trying to be too “pretty” or made up. Just us, as we are (which is to say, gorgeous).

Please try to keep the word count under 1,000. We will read your story for spelling, grammar and sense check, but we will not alter it substantially. If we have any significant changes, we will follow up with you over email to discuss the issue. We cannot wait to share your story!

 

STARTER PROMPTS

What was the biggest surprise to you when you became a mom for the first time?

How did you feel about returning to work?

Did you plan to breastfeed your baby? How did it go? Better or worse than expected?

What were your expectations going into nursing your baby, if you had any?

Please share your labor and delivery story.

How was your recovery from labor?

How has entering motherhood changed with successive births?

If you lost a pregnancy and want to share your story, we would be grateful to hear from you in order to support other women going through the same thing.

Do you want to share a fertility journey with us?

Was your partner supportive of your decision to go back to work or stay home with baby? What did that decision look like for you?

Did you decide to hire support after giving birth, e.g. baby nurse, nanny, housekeeper?

If so, what has that relationship meant for you and for your family? How has your relationship with your partner evolved since becoming a mother?

Can you share your values before entering motherhood as compared with your values now (may be helpful to think of your top 3-6 values before/after)?

What do you miss most about your life before becoming a mother?

What has been the best thing you've given up since becoming a mother?

Has your journey into motherhood been marked mostly by physical, emotional, relational or psychological change? How have these dynamics affected your identity as a woman now that you're a mother?