Recently, we announced that we are expecting another baby. We could NOT be more overjoyed to have another curly top! HOWEVER, in light of the insane nature of postpartum hormones (and the fact that I won't remember to do this closer to their birthday) I wanted to offer up this handy guide of what not to say to a new mom. "But Jessica!" I can hear you saying. "That sounds so negative! People mean well, so you should just let it go." I hear you. But... I can't guarantee that I won't break down and ugly cry in my impending sleep deprived state. I also can't guarantee that I will refrain from offering you a swift kick to the shins, so for your safety... please. Take heed.
1. You sure there's only one in there?
See also: "Is your doctor ok with how much weight you've gained?". Yes, we're huge. We get it. We're actually rather touchy about our girth (personally speaking). My first pregnancy, the Hippie spent countless hours reassuring my vain self that I was still just as beautiful as I ever was, only to watch the light go out of my eyes every. Single. Time. someone felt like making a joke at my expense. Just don't.
2. Geez, you're still pregnant?
No. I just enjoy the sensation of barely being able to walk, and not having control of my own bladder SO MUCH that I decided to continue to simulate a pregnancy. If a woman is overdue and you pester her about it, you are consenting to her taking out any and all rage she may be feeling on you. Hope you wore a cup, gentlemen.
3. Are they sleeping through the night yet?
Ok. Whether someone's child is 2 days or 10 years, YOU DON'T GET TO ASK THAT. New babies don't sleep easily. Their stomachs are small, and guess what? They need to eat more frequently. Unless you're volunteering to take the night shift, just don't ask. Don't.
4. Make sure you sleep when the baby sleeps.
Well I'll be durned, I had no idea it could be so easy! Thank GOD you came along with your sage advice. As soon as the baby goes down, I'll take a nap. Y'know, right after I feed my oldest, read him a story to reassure him that the little one isn't here to replace him, shower for the first time in 2 weeks, pump so that my boobs will stop throbbing, weep in privacy, and feed the dog. Except the baby will be awake again by then...
5. So when are you trying for a (insert opposite gender of new child here)?
I mean... I still can't walk straight, and there are mysterious fluids leaking out of multiple parts of my body, but yes. I'd love to discuss future family planning with you right now. Also, thank you so much for passive aggressively implying that I shouldn't be happy with the child that was just born to me. You don't know how long I waited and prayed for this baby, so please just keep your gender related comments to yourself.
6. You think this is hard? Just wait until...
Ok. Know what's hard? PARENTING. Period. End of discussion. Each phase has it's own ups and downs, and telling a sleep deprived new mother who is struggling to feed the tiny human she just expelled from her own body that whatever phase of parenting you happen to be in is harder? That tells the woman before you that there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and her life is going to be a living hell from here on out. For the love of all that is holy, keep those thoughts to yourself.
7. Are they a good baby?
I'm sorry, did all other infants you've encountered come out with horns and the mark of Satan? Yes. They're a good baby. They're all good babies. I understand that what you're really asking is "are they happy/easy going?", but I'm still not going to answer. Like every other human, they have their ups and downs. I'm learning to roll with it, and so will you.
8. Really? That's their name?
Yes. The name that my partner and I argued over, made pro/con lists for, and then casually ran by one or two very carefully selected individuals after swearing them to secrecy? That is in fact our child's name. No further questions.
9. Why on earth would you go back to work?
Because my goal in life is to be the world's least engaged parent. WHY DO YOU THINK?!?! Kids are expensive, and I'd really like to be able to feed mine sometimes. So, yes. I will be working.
10. Should you really be eating that?
Ok. Unless you are asking because you know there is a surprise cake in my honor hiding around the corner, brace yourself for a sound tongue lashing. Whether gestating a human or nursing one, babies require a ton of calories. I will eat what I want to eat, and that is that. I personally couldn't care less about counting calories after turning my uterus inside out.
There you have it, folks. My short list of what not to say to a woman who is incubating or recently birthed a new human.
Did someone say something to you post-birth that made your blood boil? Feel free to comment!