This Sunday is Mother’s Day. A day set aside to shower mothers with flowers, brunches, cards, and phone calls, anything and everything to let them know just how much they mean to us.
But what about soon-to-be moms? The supply list for new babies is endless – strollers, diapers, baby clothes, changing tables, etc. and every new mom will be grateful for whatever she receives. But what gift means the most to them? What is something they will treasure forever? I posed this question to several women from all over the world, some with young children and others with whose children now have babies of their own. Here is what they had to say:
Sophie Giraffe was the best present I was given when my youngest daughter was born. It’s a rubber teether in a giraffe shape. It’s certainly not cheap but worth the money. I now buy one for every newborn baby I know.
-Hollie, England, mother of two
For my first child, a friend’s grandma knitted a cardigan for him. All my children had that cardigan for their first months. By the time my friend had his first child the grandma had passed. We gave him the cardigan. He said it was the best present. When I was pregnant with my second child a good friend was suffering from depression. I asked her to knit a blanket as a gift. It helped her to work on something and focus. It was the best gift my daughter received. She still has it even if it now seems really small.
-Christie, France, mother of three
A week or so after delivering my first child, a friend called to tell me she was coming to see us and the new baby. I was living at the Oregon Coast at the time and she lived about an hour and half away near Portland. When she arrived I offered the baby to her, but she said, “First I’m going to clean your house. Show me your cleaning supplies.” She said someone had done that for her and it was the nicest gift she was given. She swept, vacuumed, dusted, loaded the dishwasher, just light cleaning, but it meant I didn’t have to do it. I was struggling with postpartum depression and not producing enough milk to feed my daughter at the time so I wasn’t up for much of anything. It was the perfect gift.
-Wendy, United States, mother of two
When Caleb was one he was teething and it was terrible. He was so uncomfortable. To help soothe him we would lie on a blanket under the apple tree. We’d listen to a pair of doves that lived in the nearby tree while watching the light through the leaves. My hubby bought me a swing and installed it under this apple tree for Mother’s Day that year. Caleb also cut five teeth that weekend – two of the best gifts. Seventeen years later Caleb has lost those teeth, but I still have that swing.
Victoria, United States, mother of one
I was so grateful to receive a traveling nursing pillow, which my son now uses as a pillow in his crib. I was also really happy to get a personalized book from Wonderbly. My mum gave us “The Boy Who Lost His Name.” It’s about a little boy who goes on adventures to find his name. Each adventure gives him a new letter and by the end of the story the letters spell my son’s name. It’s such a cute and personal gift.
-Jaimee, Canada, mother of one
A few years ago I met a traditional Mexican midwife during a workshop here in the Netherlands. When it came time to discuss life postpartum her first question was what kind of gift do new mothers usually receive here? What followed was mostly silence with some mentioning jewelry or flowers. Then she said that in Mexico a cerrada, or closing ceremony, is the customary gift. The new mother is massaged, given an herb bath, and her belly is wrapped and cared for. This several hours of pampering, this “mothering the mother gift,” should be mandatory everywhere. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn about this pampering until after my sons were born, but I found it very inspiring.
-Daleep, Russia, mother of two
I gave birth to my son 27 years ago and still remember the moment of the gift. It was a diamond ring that had been in my husband’s family for at least 50 years. My mother-in-law gave it to me to celebrate the first grandson from both of our families.
-Naldy, Brazil, mother of two
Personally, my father gave me the gift of sleep. When my youngest son was just a few weeks old he woke constantly during the night and refused to go back to sleep. I averaged about two hours a night and could barely function during the day. Fortunately, my parents were staying with me and my father told me to call him if Parker wouldn’t go back to sleep. Sure enough one night at 3 a.m. Parker refused to sleep. I called to my father and he came down those narrow Dutch stairs, took Parker from me, and let me go back to bed. I slept 5 hours that night. Best gift ever!
-Cristin, United States now Belgium, mother of two
Though it’s important to remember that the perfect gift for new moms may not always come from a store, anything designed to make their lives a little easier will be appreciated. Many of the responses I received included books, teeny-tiny clothes, mountains of diapers, and good advice (“always sleep when the baby is sleeping”). Being a new mom is amazing, overwhelming, and often exhausting. For those looking for the perfect gift know that sometimes just being there is present enough. Happy Mother’s Day everyone!