close
Community InvolvementFamily Life

More Than Casseroles: Why Bringing Meals to New Moms is an Important Ministry

My husband and I brought home a beautiful baby boy a few weeks ago. For various reasons, my recovery this labor & delivery was more complicated. (The details aren’t pleasant so…let’s just leave it there.)  Our church friends, family and local community was incredibly supportive and delivered meals immediately upon our return from the hospital.   I’ve been trying to convey just HOW thankful we are for these precious deliveries.  Saying “thank you” seems trite.  I started to journal my thoughts and decided to share publicly.

It was strange being on the “receiving side” of meals and I experienced a range of emotions.  At first I was grateful, then felt guilty, grateful again and then…even more guilty.  As each day passed, I felt stronger and less comfortable receiving help.  I no longer felt “worthy” of receiving the blessings.  Then one night while up at 3:00 am feeding a starving newborn…I felt the Lord asking me to detail HOW the meals blessed me.   In a sleep deprived, half awake mental state…I began listing how these people were impacting my life.  I no longer felt guilty…now I felt convicted.   These meals weren’t about ME or my comfort.  They were about bringing the Lord glory.

AGH!  It’s just like me…to make it…about me.

Then…I started thinking about what “blessing” meant.  God told Abraham:

“I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others” (Genesis 12:2 NLT).

My friends and family were blessing my family and being obedient to the Lord.   Again…it wasn’t about me, my family or the baby. (Well…maybe a little about the baby.  People did want to squeeze him.)
I must admit…I never understood the importance of “Maternity Meals” as blessings.  I brought dinners to new moms before…but never understood how VITAL they really were. So, on behalf of my family and other mommy friends.  Let me thank you.  Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you.  Why?  Because, it’s more than casseroles. It impacts every area of the day.
So….when a new mom says “thank you” for a meal.  She’s really thanking you for:
  • SLEEP:  Knowing dinner was handled, I was able to take regular GUILT FREE naps.  Giving birth (regardless of HOW) is serious physical feat.   Some recoveries are brutal and topping it off….only sleeping 3-4 hours a night makes a long day. Even though “physically” moms are healing… they are sleeping less often.   We are mentally and spiritually exhausted.  With dinner arranged, we can climb into bed and stock up on sleep. Every mom knows…sleep wards off frustrations.  When rested you’re more likely to have nicer interactions with your husband and an overall better day.  Basically….sleep makes or BREAKS a day.   Thank you for sleep.
  • HELPING MY HUSBAND:   A lot of attention is given the mom & baby postpartum.  But what about dad?  He’s equally tired and trying to balance the changes and chaos in his home.  Mom may be unable to walk or move.   Bringing dinner takes one thing off DAD’s plate (pun totally intended) so he can serve his family.  Thank you for helping my husband.
  • CLEANER KITCHEN: Bringing home a baby doesn’t stop the desire to keep a clean home. Except now, you haven’t slept, you’re covered in poo, breastmilk, spit up and other questionable liquids and chores stare back with judgment.  A newborn…while small…creates HAVIC in a home.   With someone else bringing dinner…your kitchen stays mostly clean and your mind at ease.  (At least…my mind anyway.) It may sound trivial…but walking into a clean kitchen after not sleeping all night…is truly magical.  It can’t be discounted.  Thank you for my cleaner kitchen.
  • BONDING: Bringing home a new baby is amazing.  Everyone is generally pleased EXCEPT the first born child.  His/her world has been turned upside down. They don’t understand the changes. Having a dinner handled allows time to bond with not just the baby, but attend to other children.  My oldest son was/is emotional, confused and clingy.  This is seriously devastating to watch. BUT… dinner with coming …left me precious moments to cuddle and reassure my oldest of my love.   Thank you for giving me these memories with my children.
  • PAPERWORK:  Oh my word. The freaking paperwork.  Filling out social security forms, securing the birth certificate, adding the new kid to health care, notaries, setting up appointments with the pediatrician and dealing with hospital bills/claims.  This all happens about 30 minutes after you get home.  It’s ALL time sensitive, irritating and requires your full attention.  Again…dinner magically arriving leaves time to handle these mundane but crucial milestones.  Thank you for helping complete paperwork.
  • GROCERY STORE:  Not preparing dinner means…you aren’t required to brave the grocery store. Unless your Amy Adams from the movie “Enchanted” … Who wants to interact with strangers postpartum?  I don’t.  I’m tired and want to stay in my pajamas. I smell and don’t want to answer the barrage of questions in line about my labor. I don’t want random people touching my baby. Thank you for saving me from this place.
So… again…when a new mom hugs you and says “Thank you for dinner” …she’s really thanking you for much more.
Thank you for the casserole…but more importantly…thank you for letting the Lord use you to bless my family and bring Him glory.
    Brendie Heter

    The author Brendie Heter