by Atlantic Toast Conference
When I got married two years ago, I went back to a “family” ward for the first time since high school. My current ward in a major metropolitan area, where the vast majority of ward members are newlyweds and very young families. Because of the demographics, we have a steady stream of (adorable!) babies being born into the ward, and subsequently a steady stream of Relief Society emails asking for volunteers to bring meals to the babies’ families.
When I first moved into the ward and started receiving these emails, I was pretty surprised to realize that the Relief Society provides a week’s worth of meals to every family. In the ward I grew up in, the policy was that the Relief Society would provide one post-baby meal to a new mother as a gift – the rationale being that a baby is not an emergency, but rather something that a family has nine months to plan for. (Obviously, this wouldn’t apply to premature or complicated births.)
As I’ve thought about these different approaches, I see pros and cons to both. On one hand, a young mother in a transient ward may need more support than someone who is at a more-established time in their life. On the other hand, although my current Relief Society seems pretty responsive to these meal requests (one email is usually all it takes to get seven volunteers with no follow-up badgering), most months I receive three to five requests. That means that someone in my Relief Society is bringing another family a meal almost every day.
I can’t help but wonder, in the unlikely event that I am ever called to be a Relief Society president, what policy about post-baby meals would I make. Given that my ward sample size is only two, and that I’ve never been the recipient of a post-baby meal(s), I’m curious:
How many meals does your Relief Society provide to new mothers after they have a baby (if any)? What do you think about your Relief Society’s policy? If you have received a meal(s) after you had a baby, how many did you receive? Did you think that number was too few, just enough, or too many?
Atlantic Toast Conference is a life-long East Coaster who loves college basketball and carbs, and she currently has what she considers to be the best calling in the Church: junior Primary teacher.