Ministry to New Moms
I asked my friend, Sarah Ward, to teach us how to minister to pregnant and new mothers in our churches. Sarah is the Director of Sage Mama in Campbellsville, Kentucky.
There are many ways in which the church can minister to expectant mothers and new moms. While this can be a joyful time in a woman’s life, there can also be common feelings shared among pregnant women and moms with newborns, those are feelings of fear and isolation. The pregnant mother may experience fear of the unknown, while the mother with a newborn may experience feelings of isolation or loneliness. New mothers often feel as if they can’t connect with people, along with being physically exhausted. Creating a space for expectant moms and moms with newborns is a necessary investment, and is an investment in the future of your church.
This mother needs to connect. So, here’s where you come in.
Five ways your church can extend support and encouragement to expectant and new mothers:
Listen: Listen to the mother. Sometimes, she just needs to be heard. Other mothers who can relate to her position need to be connecting with her.
Know her support system: Through listening, you may discover more about what kind of support system the mother has or will need when baby comes. She will need support at home, especially if she already has a child or children. Does she have childcare for other children? Is she with her partner or is she a single mother? Does she have everything she needs when baby comes?
One simple way for your church to bless the family when mother and baby are home is through supplying meals for the family for several days. Take Them a Meal and meal train are two helpful resources to help organize the sign-up. You will want to include the home address, food allergies in the home, what food has been taken, and how many days you plan to provide meals.
What are her fears?: By engaging in conversation, you may discover if she has fear or concerns surrounding this pregnancy, birth, and/or raising a child. We need to refrain from sharing stories that elevate fear or end in disaster. She needs to be encouraged and needs to hear stories of hope and joy surrounding the childbirth process and raising children. If the opportunity presents itself, you can ask the Holy Spirit to minister to those places of fear, and reveal his love for her and her baby.
What are the local resources?: If this mother is new to the area, she may need to be pointed in the direction of the local resources from which she may benefit. Is there a women’s resource center that can encourage her and offer support groups or classes? Your church may consider starting a mommy group that meets periodically or a mother’s day out day.
Offer a comfortable space for lactating mothers: No doubt, more and more women are pursuing breastfeeding. This can be a difficult undertaking for some women. It doesn’t always come easily, and some women find the transition from home to public to be a difficult one. To help reduce that feeling of isolation, we can create a space for these women, so they can be present, and still take care of their baby’s needs.