10 Things You Should Never Say To A New Mum
When you become a new mum you are extremely vulnerable in every way possible. You have experienced something profoundly life changing and it has possibly been traumatic, both physically and emotionally.
There is no time to recover from the experience as it is straight into caregiving mode. It can really take its toll on you and in the midst of the magical newborn bliss, it is completely normal to feel a bit lost. Your sense of identity feels skewed and you are questioning every single decision you make with very little confidence behind your actions and instincts.
Neighbours, family members and friends will want to offer you their support and help. At a time where a home-cooked meal or help with the cleaning would be amazing the support tends to come in the form of advice. People cannot help but share their own experiences and anecdotes because there is now something that connects them to you in a really meaningful way. Unfortunately, their words can be more damaging than helpful even though the intention is extremely noble.
Here are 10 things that you should never say to a new Mum, and why.
1. Anything pertaining to her weight, shape or appearance. I’d even argue that compliments are not entirely appropriate for a lot of people. The truth is that it can make a new mum feel extremely self-conscious. The idea that someone is looking at her and noticing things about her skin and body can make her feel even more vulnerable.
2. A comment about her holding the baby too much. Let her be the judge of that. Mama and baby are happy when they are close and there is no good reason to make anything negative of that.
3. Anything that is not supportive regarding breastfeeding. During those first few weeks, the new mum and baby will be learning to breastfeed and encouragement and support are what she needs.
4. Asking her about the birth. Many women experience post-traumatic stress disorder following their birthing experience. It is also an extremely personal topic and something she may not want to discuss for a very long time, or at all.
5. Suggestions or questions about how the baby is sleeping. The baby has been earth-side for a couple of days – there is no need to even mention sleep. Sleep deprivation is difficult enough to simply deal with never mind a spotlight being placed on it.
6. A comment about something that they are doing or using that they didn’t have in your day. We know “it’s far from (insert product name)” that your kids were rared but this is a different time and it’s not fair to judge a new mum for wanting to enjoy the new products on the market.
7. Anything implying the child is “a handful” “fussy” “unhappy” or “clingy”. Just no.
8. War stories where the end result or punch line is less sleep, things getting harder or struggling. This mum is already worrying about a million things – tell her something uplifting. Compliment her efforts. Keep it positive.
9. A question about when they’ll “go again”. Let the sutures dissolve like.
10. Absolutely anything that is remotely connected to work. She does not need to think about work right now. THIS is her work. She’s a new mum.