Becoming a mother is one of the most incredible times in any woman’s life. After nine long months of carrying your little human (and thinking, wondering, worrying, and googling), you finally get to hold your little bundle of joy in your arms and bring it home.
It’s a beautiful time, but for an introvert, the “normal” rules for welcoming this new member of the family may be different than what others expect. As the mother of an amazing one-year-old boy, I wish I had the knowledge I do now, so I could have asked my loved ones for these things — it would have helped ease everyone into this new world with us. So, here are eight things an introverted new mom needs from you.
What Introverted New Moms Need
1. Let us settle in.
All introverts need space. After delivering a human being at a hospital (birthing center, or even your bathtub), you are a little out of sorts, not to mention you have a new person in your household that you’re trying to get to know. Be that amazingly supportive friend/family member who allows the introverted mom at least a day (or two, or hey, even three) to get settled in before asking to stop by.
2. Never drop by without permission.
Speaking of stopping by, please please please do not come over to our home without asking first. We understand you’re excited, but dropping by unannounced will only stress this new mama out, and goodness knows she has enough on her mind right now. Introverts need time to mentally prepare to see people, unlike extroverts, who are usually excited by opportunities to socialize, even when they weren’t planning on it.
3. Know how to help.
This one is so important, but hard to explain (I will do my best). Since introverts are often in our heads, we can be hyper-aware of our own shortcomings, and can be fighting a losing battle within ourselves during this transitional time. If the house isn’t perfect and we haven’t had a chance to shower, odds are we’ve already thought about it, stressed about it, and may be texting to cancel your visit any minute.
So, if you get the okay to come over anyway, and you notice the house looks like a bomb exploded, or the introvert hasn’t slept or had a proper shower, you may want to casually offer to do the dishes or watch the baby while she does some much-needed self-care. If cleaning or babysitting isn’t your forte, you could always help by bringing over some ready-made sandwiches or easy-to-heat-up and serve dinners. Being a new mom is an extremely busy and tiring time, so any practical help you can offer — not just chit chat, which isn’t very meaningful to introverts, anyway — will be highly appreciated.
4. Keep the visit short and keep your germs to yourself.
This is a general rule for anyone who visits new parents, but it’s even more important for introverts because We. Are. Watching. You. That tiny ball of love we’ve begrudgingly handed over to you to hold for a few minutes is the only thing on our minds 24/7. So please use common sense and don’t kiss the baby. If you or someone in your household was recently sick, delay your visit until everyone is well. As introverts our brains rarely turn off, so please don’t give us another thing to think about.
Also, if you can reassure the introvert that your visit will be short-ish (say, an hour or hour and a half tops), that will help ease their minds, too. As introverts, we only have so much social energy to give, and that energy is even more limited when we’re recovering from giving birth.
Oh, and wash your hands!
5. Don’t take it personally if we don’t respond right away.
After I had my son, I got an overwhelming number of text messages and phone calls, and it stressed me out trying to get back to everyone in a decent amount of time. I know there is nothing more exciting than hearing the news that someone you love just had a baby, but know that for an introverted friend or family member, it might be an overload for them.
With all the “newness” going on, it can be hard to stay on top of these things, which are generally anxiety provoking enough for introverts, even when they haven’t just given birth. Besides, she’s probably too busy googling everything under the sun (and silently freaking out) to respond anyway. She will get back to you, I promise.
And I can also promise that your sweet words of love and excitement mean the absolute world to her, even if she doesn’t respond right away.
6. Tell us we’re doing a good job.
Buuuut don’t over do it, or we may wonder if you’re being sincere. Introverts are tricky ones, that’s for sure. A lot of times, we can’t help it. We introverts are always wondering if there is more to what people are saying than just their actual words, so please don’t be overzealous — we just don’t need that. Keep it simple and genuine. Your words can be our anchor in a difficult time, giving us the confidence we truly need but may be too scared to ask for.
This one is probably the most important point of all. If you’re the loved one of a new parent, you may want to give advice, especially if it seems like we’re floundering. But please, just give the introvert the space and time to talk first. I know for me (and many introverts), it can take time to formulate my real thoughts/emotions into words, and I can easily get discouraged if I feel misunderstood; I may even stop myself from continuing.
So please be patient with the introverted new mom in your life. This is such a fragile time for her, and it’s easy for us introverts to shut down and get lost in our insecurities. Your introvert needs to know she has a safe space to talk, vent, and/or cry without any fear of judgement or critique in the weeks and months following childbirth.
However, please don’t take this to mean you should never check in with her. Continue to do so, especially if you are seeing signs that she is struggling. Postpartum depression is very real, and introverts may be more prone to depression than extroverts. Getting the support she needs from you and others will help her through it.
8. Remind introverted new moms to enjoy this fleeting time.
It’s so easy to get lost in the daze of diapers, feeding schedules, and sleep deprivation that these blissful days with her new precious baby can go by in a blink of an eye. Remind the introvert to essentially “stop and smell the roses,” as they say. Help her focus less on all the things she thinks she could be getting wrong about parenthood, and instead on inhaling the intoxicating smell of a newborn as often as she can. As an introvert, she may not be able to stop being future-focused, but she could use a loved one like you to gently pull her back into the present.
Becoming a mother and entering the world of parenthood is one of so many emotions. You will forever be in your introverted mama’s heart if you can try to understand and love her the way she needs to be loved.
Introverted moms, what would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.