I am going to get straight to the sharp tipped blunt point on this one. What the new mother in your life really needs…is for you to leave her alone. Seriously. Leave her the heck alone. My blog post today is two-fold and I’m going to get real with you.
First there is this…
“Do you have help?” …
Every single neighbor of an older generation asked me when Mia was born if I had help. Back in the day, I suppose women of the village used to gather when a new baby was born, boil some water and all pitch in. Sounds great except, I can only imagine the drama! Too many cooks in the kitchen in you ask me.
It’s 2017. Women are handling shit. It’s handled. She has this. She might be sleep deprived but believe me when I say, you’re doing more harm than good. Stop knocking at her door. Stop texting. Stop calling. Offer to help ONCE and leave it at that. Because as she’s juggling a newborn, potentially other children, a household and in a few weeks even work…your badgering is just slowing her down.
Your glares and judging as you pop in her house to say hello are not helping. Your nose turned up at the dirty dishes in the sink and the pile of dirty laundry aren’t helping. Your 2 cents about how she should handle her baby, TRUST me, aren’t helping! For the love of God keep your opinions to yourself even if you are the sweetest expert Mary Poppins of the bunch, we don’t want to hear it. Your advice sucks and it’s 100% unsolicited. We now all have expert pediatricians that provide us updated and current medical advice. We have the internet. We have GOOGLE!
The only person who she really wants help from is her significant other. Partners, you are the ONLY person, this blog post does NOT apply to. Get in there and do your job (stated with love).
Disclaimer: Now I get that there are some mothers that want the village moved in. They want their mother or mother-in-law sleeping in the guest room. They hire an au pair so they can sleep. I get it, you’re out there and I applaud you for living your life how you want because ultimately only YOU know what’s best for you and baby. But people, know which type of mother you are dealing with.
This is not about you.
From the minute the baby is born a new mother is bombarded with people. Giving birth is intense. It’s horrifying in some cases. Your body just went through war. You haven’t slept in days in the hospital, you’re overwhelmed that now there is (maybe another) human attached to you, you’re bleeding incessantly from your vagina, in excruciating pain and Aunt Susie wants to know what time SHE can come see the new baby. Oh and let’s not forget to mention the seriously awkward way you feel about your body after baby and how literally nothing fits you right, not the maternity clothes or your old clothes. How many people do you think a new mother wants to see when the baby is born?
But sure, come on in to my tight AF hospital room where I’m in an awkward hospital gown and in so much pain I can barely move so YOU can see the baby. Come on over to my house so YOU can hold the baby. I can tell you as a new mother I didn’t want to see anyone. But before you get all judge on something you don’t understand…let me explain why…
When a family has a new baby, they are LITERALLY fighting to survive.
Let that sink in. The family is trying to STAY ALIVE. This is not an exaggeration. Sleep deprivation with a newborn is intense. Did you know sleep deprivation is one of the most common tactics used in POW camps? But go ahead, get your panties in a bunch because the new mother and family haven’t met you for coffee yet so YOU can see the new baby.
This is not about you. Stop making it about you. Extended family, this includes you too. You don’t get a special selfish pass to make it about you just because you’re related. Your time WILL come.
Baby blues and postpartum depression are very real and affect more mothers that you will ever know. The after effects of going through pregnancy, labor and having a new baby are some of the most overwhelming and most life changing events. So please stop knocking at her door. Give the family some space because Dad and any siblings are going through the extreme changes too. The household has been turned upside down and the family is trying their best to navigate as a family.
The best thing that you can do for a new mother is have patience and understanding. It might take months before she is ready to resurface. She is desperately trying to be a human being, let alone get back to being herself.
To my fellow moms who have whispered to me these struggles in confidence, I hope this helps. Do not be afraid to use the word ‘NO’ in which we as women are painted to be the bad guy every time we say it. This time is not about appeasing others, it’s about you and your new baby. Use your voice for what YOU need during this extremely challenging time and don’t apologize for it. You’re fighting a battle.
So please people. Stop boiling the water.