“Let me know how I can help!” We all say it, and it’s meant well, but not usually very helpful. So let’s real talk — things people have done for us in this and other pregnancies:
- Brought fresh soap in case the smell bothered me
- Brought snacks
- Brought dinner
- Watched my kids for appointments
- Sent their big kids to be mother’s helper so I could lie down
- Sent their husbands who work only part-time to be mother’s helper so I could lie down (my husband insists this isn’t be a mother’s helper but a “dad-in-training”)
- Taken my kid to preschool or picked him up
- Sent flowers
- Left cookies
- Mailed encouraging notes and prayer cards
- Walked my dog when it was snowy and John was out of town and we didn’t have a fence
- Helped me do laundry and straighten up
(My friends and acquaintances, let’s be clear, are awesome, and if I name this child after them, it’ll be about twenty names long.)
A friend was recently saying she felt like she was failing at modeling generosity for her kids because she wasn’t making a lot of time for soup kitchens and other volunteerism. And while those things are definitely important (and an area in which I regularly fail), this same friend has been helping me in big and small ways, from showing up to dinner to helping me lug the toddler around preschool events. No doubt her kids see these acts of friendship and generosity, too.
A lot of this, of course, applies to more than crippling morning sickness or even newborn babies: to grief and all kinds of hardship. For more really concrete advice, check out Sheryl Sandberg talking about what helped her in the wake of her husband’s sudden death. What have people done for you in tough times that’s helped most?