The post partum stage is a very delicate stage, especially for new moms. There are many things you can say to her that will unleash the tears, the screams, even the fists. There are many things a new mom goes through (whether her child is a newborn or toddler) that other people will not understand. A little sensitivity goes a long way for us.
I made a list of all the things other people have told me in the last two years, post partum, that really rubbed me the wrong way, that no one should ever tell a woman, mom or not.
1. How many months pregnant are you?
A friend of my mom asked me this once as I carried my one year old. I couldn't help but reply in a very sarcastic tone, "No tita (auntie), I'm just fat!" After giving birth, a woman's abdomen does not immediately shrink back to the way it was pre-pregnancy. It stays a little inflated so a woman will still look kinda pregnant. Regardless, sometimes it's simply a case of gaining some weight. So, a little bit of sensitivity here, please!
2. You should plan for number two already.
Seriously?!? My daughter was barely six months old and people were already asking me when we would have a second one. At that time, I was just beginning to enjoy the smiles and tricks of my little girl and was finally getting a little bit of sleep. It's a physical and emotional roller coaster to care for a newborn, so it's never ever a good idea to ask a new mom when she plans to have her number two, much less insist that she should have three.
3. Don't pick her up every time she cries, she might get used to it.
I'm her mom and I will parent her how I want. I believe in attachment parenting because I have seen the personalities of kids who were cuddled by their parents as opposed to those who were made to cry it out. Those who were always comforted by their parents grew up to be more patient and caring. Besides, my little girl will never be this small again and will not always want me to pick her her up when she's down, so I will carry and comfort her now while she needs me.
4. "You should formula feed so she'll gain weight" or "She's not getting full from your breast milk."
First of all, not breast feeding, not going through post partum blues, no opinion! What we hear is, "You're not enough! You're not doing your best for your baby." Majority of moms put a lot of effort into breastfeeding their child. There are moms who are blessed to have a lot of milk and there are moms who have barely any. Many of us will do everything to be able to produce enough breast milk for our children because we believe it will make them healthier. We do believe that fed is best, but please let us try to feed our baby the way God intended us to.
|Breastfeeding in a restaurant|
5. Does breastfeeding really make you that hungry?
What moms hear — “you eat a lot” or “you’re eating too much!” But yes, breastfeeding makes us feel hungry because we are literally producing food and feeding a second person.
6. Did you have a natural birth?
There’s really no competition between giving birth naturally or via c-section. It all depends on what is best for both the mom and baby. And please don’t judge moms who opt for an epidural. I had a vaginal birth but with epidural. You have no idea how absolutely painful labor pains are until you’ve experienced it and the relief of an epidural is just the best thing.
7. We didn't have car seats back in the day, just carry him.
Back in the day, drivers were not as reckless as they are now. There were also fewer cars on the road which meant less traffic and fewer hot-headed people. But people who created baby car seats have studied the best way to keep a child safe and accidents have proven time and again that a car seat keeps a child from getting hurt in a wreck. When I insist on putting my child in her car seat, it means I don’t want to risk anything happening to her.
8. Don’t be maarte!
First of all, no uterus, no comment! You need to have gone through what moms went through to understand what we feel. After a mom gives birth, she goes through a drop in hormones so if she seems sad, depressed, clingy, compounded by the lack of sleep… those feelings are all very real.
So to non-moms and non-women reading this, a little sensitivity goes a long way for us. We’re not trying to oppose you, it’s just that, sometimes, we can’t help but feel the way we feel. We do our best to help ourselves feel better, but we also need space to feel that we are not being judged for our every move.