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How to Ask for Help as a New Parent (Even When You Feel Like You Can't)

Being a new mother is hard – but asking for help is tough, too.

asking for help after baby arrives

When I looking back on my journey as a new mom, I can definitely think of some times when I needed help from other people, but felt like I couldn’t ask for it.

Has that ever happened to you? Was there a time in your past when you needed to ask for something specific, and you felt like you couldn’t (or shouldn’t) ask for help?

The process of becoming a mother is a big transition for many women.

Perhaps it is for you, too.

Maybe you were a fiercely independent woman before you had your baby – someone who didn’t like to ask for help, and rarely felt the need to do so.

Maybe you used to be someone who regularly helped other people. Were you the person who always reached out to your friends when they were going through tough times, showing up at their doors with casseroles and care packages?

For many moms, asking for help might mean feeling vulnerable. It might actually feel like you’re weak or less worthy.

But asking for help during periods of extreme stress – and let’s face it, having a newborn is incredibly stressful – is actually a sign of strength, not weakness.

When I had my son, I remember our pediatrician trying to cheer me up during our early appointments. He kept repeating, "The first 100 days are super hard. Just hang on."

And it’s true. The first 3 months of infant care is really hard.

You’re dealing with the stress of figuring out how to feed and comfort your newborn. You’re recovering from the birth and your hormones are fluctuating wildly. And you’re dealing with all of these crazy changes on very little sleep. It’s a tough time for anyone, and we all need a little assistance to get through it.

How to Ask for Help As a Pregnant Woman or a New Parent

First of all, please remember that it is okay to ask for help. It’s highly recommended, actually – and the more you’re struggling, the more important it is for you to reach out to your loved ones and get some assistance.

Start with a small favor, like "Will you bring me chocolate pastry when you visit?" or "Would you get me a glass of water?" It’s easier to request something small, especially when you’re not used to asking for help and you’re out of practice.

If you feel like taking it a bit further, try making a list of people you’d be comfortable asking for help.

Then add notes to your list, and write down what kinds of favors you would feel comfortable asking each person for.

Some of your friends are probably great at listening and allowing you to vent about what’s on your mind. Other friends (or family members) are great housekeepers who can help you fold laundry or give the kitchen floor a quick mop. Perhaps you have someone in your social circle who could take you out for a drink or a coffee, and let you have a little down time while your spouse takes over childcare duties.

Once you’ve got your “help” list, try to use it at least once a week.

Practice asking for large and small favors.

The more you use your “ask for help” muscles, the better you’ll get at it.

And if you’re ever unsure about whether to pick up the phone (or write an email) asking a friend or family member for help, remember this: It is absolutely, positively okay to ask for help. Everyone needs support sometimes, and asking for assistance is vital and necessary for your baby’s health, your sanity, and your marriage.

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