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Becoming a parent unleashes a slew of different emotions. It’s exciting, wonderful, and unbelievable. It can also be overwhelming and intense, especially during a pandemic when so much of what’s going on feels unstable. Even though there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic, things can change on a daily basis.
For introverts, having a baby (especially during COVID) can be even more difficult. Introverted people may want to celebrate the birth of their child, but knowing safety needs to be a priority, they might not be able to with friends and family. They also will need time to rest and recharge without feeling overwhelmed about planning different get-togethers, parties, or birth celebrations.
If you know an introverted couple who just had a baby, showing them your support is crucial. But, how can you do it safely and make sure they’re comfortable? Let’s look at a few ideas that make it easy to be supportive without overstepping your boundaries.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
Although introverted parents may value their quiet alone time at home, they need help and support just like any other parents. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for introverts to feel awkward asking for help.
Showing up on their doorstep probably isn’t going to help them feel less overwhelmed. In lieu of stopping by, use technology to stay connected and provide support. You can take advantage of tech by:
- Having a Zoom conference with the new parents and your family
- Calling via FaceTime
- Texting to ask if there is anything the new parents need
- Having food sent over through apps like DoorDash
- Ordering a last-minute gift for them online to be delivered to their home
It’s usually much easier for introverts to feel comfortable in their own homes and safe behind a screen. If you feel comfortable communicating this way, show your support by staying in touch through technology as much as possible.
If you’re not one for screen time communication, you can always go a little more basic. Sometimes, new parents don’t need fun gifts for the baby or luxury items to make them feel better. Because introverts don’t usually want to ask for help, you can show your support by doing or providing something practical that can help new parents with their basic needs.
One of the most basic needs that new parents are usually lacking in is sleep. It’s estimated that each new parent loses 109 minutes of sleep each night for the first year after their baby is born. Because of this, parents, for the most part, would greatly appreciate a much-needed nap as a gift during this time. Offer to take care of the baby in their home for a few hours so they can rest and rejuvenate. A daytime nap can work wonders in making a parent feel refreshed.
Along with sleep, food is always a welcomed option. New parents don’t usually have time to make homecooked, healthy meals. Consider dropping off a few pre-made items that can either be eaten right away or stored in the refrigerator/freezer to be made later.
If you’re handy with a hammer, talk to your introverted friends about any home improvement projects they might need. It’s normal for new parents to want what’s best for their baby — that includes a safe home. You can offer to do basic home repairs or upgrades like painting a room, so neither one of the parents has to worry about it, and they can focus on their little one.
Be Careful with Advice
It’s not uncommon for introverted parents to deal with some guilt. Even though they adore their baby, it doesn’t take away from who they are and the things they need. For introverts, that typically means:
- Alone time each day
- A quiet space in the home
- A specific room or place that feels like “theirs”
- Time to think
As a new mother or father, however, needing those moments each day can make them feel like they aren’t doing enough for their newborn, even when that isn’t the case. So, if you’re in contact with the new parents frequently, make sure not to add to the guilt by being careful with any advice or suggestions.
If you don’t agree with something they’re doing, or you believe you have a “better way”, it might be best to keep those suggestions to yourself for now. Most introverts don’t like confrontation, and when they’re met with a viewpoint they don’t necessarily agree with, it can make them quite uncomfortable. Your suggestions might come from a good place, but they can cause an introverted parent to feel anxious and fuel their guilt even more.
Instead of offering a lot of advice, you can show your support by listening. If someone you care about is struggling with guilt or anxiety on top of the typical stress of having a newborn, they could likely use a listening ear.
There are plenty of ways to support introverted first-time parents without overwhelming them or crossing boundaries. Keep these ideas in mind to offer help when it’s needed, and some much-appreciated comfort for couples trying to navigate parenthood for the first time.
This is a guest post from Luke Smith. Luke is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but relationship topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.