Because I took both a birthing class and a breastfeeding class with Juliana Parker of Birth ‘n’ Babies, I am still on her e-mail list. Most of the time her updates are on new classes or deals on Madela products, which at this junction I’m over. However, this last Web announcement completely caught my eye:
HOME COOKED MEALS AFTER THE BIRTH OF YOUR BABY, WITH A SICK BABY OR DURING A FAMILY EMERGENCY!
Successful individuals will tell you that the key to success is knowing your strengths and weaknesses… and when the going gets tough, the tough ask for help! Having a baby, having a sick baby or dealing with a family emergency can be exhausting! This wonderful program is offered to you exclusively by Childbirth-n-Babies. We coordinate your friends, neighbors, relatives and members of your community to help you out! Remember, people WANT to help! Volunteers are not paid because they are worthless, they are not paid because they are priceless!!
Maybe I’m totally out of the loop, but I’ve never heard of such a service. Fortunately, my mom was able to come down after baby’s birth to take care of the feeding me and whoever else’s mouth happened to be around. But I sure do have a lot of friends who didn’t have that luxury, as they sorted out the chaos of a new baby without much, if any, support. How great would it be to know that not only dinner is control, but it’s also likely to be something at least slightly healthier (and probably much more delicious) than delivery pizza or Chinese food?
But more interesting is how this thing works. So, if you’re an expectant mommy (or dad), you send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org about 2 weeks before your due date. You supply the organizers with the following info: name, delivery address, number of people in household, dietary restrictions, 2 preferred delivery time windows, and a list of names and e-mail addresses of friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors who would be happy to help you out when you need it.
Then you just contact Birth ‘n’ Babies, when your wee one(s) arrive and the organizers will contact the folks on your list, as well as other kind-hearted, meal-making saints in your area who like to volunteer their time and groceries to help out new mommies, to sort out a meal schedule. Once that happens, you receive a link to an online schedule that will let you know when you can expect some good eats to show up. Of course, you’ll have to fend for yourself some of the time, but just knowing there are days you won’t have to deal with feeding yourself is awesome.
I just think this is such a cool concept. I mean, I feel like when you’re an expectant mommy, especially the first time around, so many people tell you not to hesitate ask for help. You know that they mean it, but most of the time, you never really take advantage of their generosity. Maybe it just feels too weird to ask for help. But this is the perfect way to really take them up on their super kind offer to help without doing all the organizing yourself. (Like you have time for that with a newborn, a sick baby, or an emergency on your hands.) You just put them on this list and when you’re ready for some help, someone is already on standby.
And it’s totally free! That’s even better in my book. Although I would imagine it wouldn’t hurt to pay the favor forward and, once the household is back under control, volunteer to whip up a few lasagnas or other goodies of your own to offer other newbie moms.
Although I’m not going to be expecting another baby any time soon, I’m so tempted to volunteer just to see how this thing works. Sounds good in concept, but I wonder if reality is a different story. Either way, I give Birth ‘n’ Babies props for getting creative for D.C. area moms.