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Beyond the Registry: The Ultimate Gift Guide for Expectant Parents

Here are 10 creative gift ideas for expectant parents that you won’t find on a typical baby registry.

Salina Beasley

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Registries and wish lists. Pinterest and gift cards. The beauty of these forums is that they can take the guess work out of gift-giving. Every parent-to-be can attest that a fulfilled registry = happy Mom and Baby, but there are two things every new parent needs even more than bibs and bottles: time and sanity. Unfortunately, you won’t find either one on a registry at Babies ‘R Us. Consider one of the following suggestions.

Parenthood Gift Idea #1: Meal Coordination/Grocery Delivery Service

This is a popular gesture for friends and family of expecting loved ones, but it cannot be overstated what a huge blessing this can be for first trimester to postpartum moms. During the first trimester, many women are so sensitive to various smells that they cannot even enter the supermarket or walk into their kitchen as everything from the seafood department to the leftover tuna casserole in the fridge is enough to turn them green. If you choose to provide a nutritious meal to a newly pregnant woman and her family, it will be as big of a blessing as bringing a meal after the baby is born. Go the extra mile by packing everything in disposable/freezable storage containers so Mom doesn’t have to track you down later to return your grandmother’s casserole dish.

Parenthood Gift Idea #2: Housekeeping

Nesting mothers notice every crumb and dust bunny within a 50-yard radius. Unfortunately, pregnancy is not the time to be climbing on chairs to reach the ceiling fans or bending over to scrub the baseboards. If you have the resources, do your friend a favor and pay for a couple of visits from the housekeeper or perhaps just one deep-cleaning service before the baby arrives. Oh, and don’t forget the laundry. Do a little research to find a local wash and fold service that delivers, or for major “friend points,” opt to provide laundry service yourself!

Parenthood Gift Idea #3: Counseling

Baby blues do not always fade after two weeks for every mama. Postpartum depression can be a terrifying thing for Mom, Dad, and Baby, and sadly most women avoid seeking help when they should because they are either embarrassed or they simply cannot afford to see a therapist. If you are a family member or a close friend, perhaps include a voucher in the baby shower card that says, “Redeemable for post-delivery counseling.” If Mom or Dad already has a trusted counselor, go ahead and contact the office directly to notify them that the next session is on you.

Parenthood Gift Idea #4: Child Care

Babysitters do not come cheap. Chances are that after a few weeks, Mom will be ready for a little break to go out shopping or to have tea or to have a good cry (refer to Gift Idea #3). Slip a couple of coupons for “free babysitting” into her shower gift card. If the family already has a regular babysitter, contact him or her directly to pre-pay for services. Be sure to follow up a few weeks after delivery to remind Mom that she has child-care credits to redeem.

Parenthood Gift Idea #5: Stamps and Return Address Labels

Baby showers are memorable celebrations, and a grateful mom-to-be will likely want to send thank you cards to all her generous well-wishers. You can give her a head start by putting together a basket complete with thank you cards, envelopes, stamps, and a pretty pen. You can even go the extra mile by having some custom return address labels printed with the family’s name just for the occasion. She can also use them to send out birth announcements after the baby is born.

Parenthood Gift Idea #6: Professional Newborn Photo Session

Speaking of birth announcements, a professional family photo session is the perfect keepsake gift. Granted, this can be pricey, so perhaps go in on this one with the baby shower hosts, a Bible study group, or a few work colleagues. This timeless and priceless idea is sure to be on this mom’s top favorite list of baby gifts.

Parenthood Gift Idea #7: Audible.com Subscription

 
While Mom and Baby spend the first several weeks becoming a nursing couple, a new mother can easily start to feel isolated and uninspired. Give her something to keep her occupied during long feeding/rocking sessions with an audio book subscription along with a list of your favorite parenting book titles (a few inspiring, a few practical, and a few just to make her laugh). Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
  • Operating Instructions by Anne Lammott
  • Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross
  • Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel

The Ultimate Gift Guide for Expectant Parents

Parenthood Gift Idea #8: Something Just for Dad

It is called “The Ultimate Gift Guide for Expecting Parents” because Dad had a crucial role to play in this whole event too. Many times, Dad’s needs get overlooked amidst crucial discussions like how to choose the right lactation consultant. Give Dad something that only he would enjoy — a magazine subscription for his favorite pastime or a goodie basket filled with Game Day foods like Rotel cheese dip, Ruffles, chicken wings, a pack of Double Stuff Oreos and his favorite two-liter. Either one would be a thoughtful gesture that he is sure to love.

Parenthood Gift Idea #9: Sibling Attention

While everyone in the house is adjusting to the new addition, it can be an especially difficult time for siblings. Mom and Dad are inevitably consumed with the needs of their newborn, and yet siblings still need someone to take them shopping for new rain boots or to chaperon their upcoming field trip to the farm. Make yourself available to the older kids in the family by offering to take them out to their favorite restaurant or taking them to see a movie of their choice. This will give Mom and Dad a break, and it will help a brother or sister who might be feeling a tad bit uncertain about the new home-invader.

Parenthood Gift Idea #10: Transportation

This can include temporary carpool service for older children to church, school, and extracurricular activities. Like meals and grocery runs, this is a welcomed service for newly pregnant moms who struggle just to get off the couch and postpartum moms that have yet to master getting everyone out of the house and to a destination on time. Most women who have had a Cesarean birth are not able to drive for the first several weeks after delivery. You can offer to pick her up to run some errands if she’s just dying to get out of the house, or you can always offer to run her errands for her. Either way, free taxiing is always appreciated.

Whether Mom and Dad are first-timer, veteran, adoptive, or foster parents, adding to a household can be both thrilling and daunting for many families. Many parents either cannot anticipate some of their needs before their little one arrives or they don’t want to burden their friends or family with requests beyond the gift registry. You can stay one thoughtful step ahead of them by making practical and/or extra special provision with one of these gift suggestions.

Let’s add to this list. What are some of your favorite new parent gifts?

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Salina is a worship leader/songwriter with her husband, Clark. The two spent the early years of their marriage touring with Grammy-Award winning worship leader/songwriter, Matt Redman. They are now living in Atlanta, Georgia, where they enjoy leading worship for their local church. Salina is also a freelance writer and mother of two children. You can follow Salina on twitter @salinabeasley.

1 Comment
  • Great suggestions! Especially for moms who may not be having their first child! I’m due with my 4th in January and I can say I’d appreciate housecleaning, childcare, and professional newborn photos! Also, audiobooks saved my life when I was nursing my first babies–twins! So that’s a great idea (especially for a first time mom with no other kids to take care of)!

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When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

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One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

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Articles

Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.

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“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

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He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.

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Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

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Beyond the Registry: The Ultimate Gift Guide for Expectant Parents

by Salina Beasley time to read: 5 min
1