What an interesting question. I love the answer here, which is from the wonderful book 'The Boy, the mole, the fox and the horse' by Charlie Mackesy. Put this book on your baby shower list! It's a gift for you and then for your baby as they grow up. Much wisdom and comfort within it's pages.
Getting back to the bravery it takes to ask for help. I think it's so true of motherhood. It got me thinking. Why is it so hard to ask for help?
I think that for myself, I'm afraid of rejection. Of the person saying no, or even worse, saying yes, but then helping me in a huffy way.
Then of course, they might say yes, but bull doze me and do it their way, which might be miles away from how I would do it. Then I might feel I've got to do it again but won't have the energy.
I guess that for braver and bolder souls than me, there might be a
tension within, to not appear that they aren't able to do something. Perhaps some of us would feel it was an admission of failure or weakness. Our friend the horse has something to say about this; asking for help, can be seen as refusal to give up.
Perhaps it's not that deep at all. It's quicker and simpler to do things ourselves. Asking for help takes energy to: firstly choosing someone; then working out if they can do the task well enough; wondering if they're likely to be available and willing; and, finally, being comfortable that we won't be putting them out too much. This is a lot of thought to go through in the sleep deprived parts of motherhood!
I think making an actual list of those around us who could help us with our new baby is helpful. How often are they available? What skills do they have? Some people might be best placed to cuddle your baby while you have a nap or a shower; others are better off going to the shops for you; still others are best placed to bring a meal for your freezer. Having a little think about your support network before the birth is helpful, but anytime is good.
What if there are not enough people around you to make such a list? How could you tackle that? Can you pay a postnatal doula like Anna pictured here?
Could you ask for gift vouchers for a cleaner? Could you set up a 'collect and deliver' laundry service? If money is an obstacle, could you call Homestart and see if you're eligible for support? Could you contact a school of midwifery or nursery nursing and ask for some students to come and help you, whilst fulfilling their requirement of work experience? What about doing an NCT course to make friends or trying MUSH to meet likeminded mums. Do you need some extra support emotionally? Try signing up to the Blurt Foundation. PANDAS foundation is amazing for postnatal emotional and mental health. Your Midwife, Health Visitor and GP are very well placed to support with any concerns over emotional or mental health with a newborn too.
My final thought: Whenever you need to, Be brave, don't give up and ask for help.