You got through all the pregnancy stages relatively unscathed, gave birth, and are now so very grateful strangers won’t touch your belly without permission for a long time to come. Or maybe you went through an adoption process and listened to all sorts of guidance and counsel from everyone and their dog.
Either way, finally, your baby is here, and just when you think you’re out of the woods, you realize that having a baby-in-arms means a free-for-all of free advice from basically everyone.
Welcome to motherhood.
While some advice may be welcome (depending on the new mom), there are six things you should NEVER say to anyone with a brand-new baby, so let’s make a pact and stop saying these things altogether, m’kay?
Within three days of bringing home a new baby, she will have heard this phrase about 22 kajillion times from well meaning friends and family members. By the time that baby is a one month old, that mom is surviving on caffeine and hope. For each additional sleepless night, her list of items she’s willing to sacrifice in order for six consecutive hours of sleep grows exponentially.
She knows she should sleep, she’s not an idiot.
But there are numerous reasons why she may not be sleeping while the baby sleeps, including - but not limited to - she has other kids in the house, she’s not used to day-napping, or perhaps she’d like to shower for the first time three weeks.
Trust me, she gets it. She doesn’t need to hear it from you.
(Insert age and sleeping through the night, eating solids, walking, talking, or whatever else your precious little angel was doing here.)
Comparisons suck ass, and they only serve to make other people feel bad about their own babies. Just stop it.
Stop. It. A fed baby is a happy baby no matter how it gets done. Also, see comparisons, above.
Yes, it gets harder in many ways. Toddlers are mobile, and can demolish a playroom, and tantrum their way into timeouts faster than you can say valium; school-aged kids bring home math homework; and teenagers can do things like drive cars and buy condoms.
But don’t ever forget what it was like when you were in the thick of it. Walking around in a fog, hormones wreaking havoc on your body, caring for this little being who is consuming your life 24/7 and for just one millisecond, you want to feel like a human being again.
Can you imagine running a marathon, you’re on kilometre 30, and someone says to you, “Way to go, you made it this far, but now it’s only going to get harder.”
I’d kick that person right in the shins. And that’s exactly what that new mom wants to do to you when you say that.
Or alternatively: I lost the baby weight by the time he was six months old.
Full stop: It’s not okay to comment on a person’s body. Ever. Let alone when they’ve just given birth to a human being.
This one’s my favourite! Wheeeeee! (Looks around for a sarcastic font.)
If you were sent away on a dream vacation this VERY SECOND, a trip of a lifetime you only ever imagined, you wouldn’t enjoy every moment. You’d enjoy most of them, for sure. But waiting for your lost luggage? Not so much. Or realizing that boob sweat is going to be a problem for the next ten days? Mmmm… nope.
And you know what? Not enjoying those things is completely okay. You’re still enjoying the trip and creating amazing memories.
And that’s motherhood in a nutshell.
You don’t necessarily love every single moment, but at the end of the day, it’s a journey of a lifetime.