Last week I wrote a post about ridiculous things people say to pregnant women and whilst sharing on Facebook, I had a few people comment about things people had said to them when they were new mums. Hence this post.
If you bump into a new mum today, try to avoid all of the following:
1. “What is it?” I had this quite a lot especially with my youngest who is becoming a typical ‘pretty boy’ in terms of looks. When he was a newborn, strangers in the street would actually ask “what is it?” As if even his species was unfamiliar. I admit that sometimes it’s hard to tell what gender the baby is unless the pram is adorned with pink or baby blue (and even then, who are we to assume?!) The best way to get round this is to speak to the baby and say “you’re beautiful – what’s your name?” And just pray they have a gender obvious name like John or something. Whatever you do, just try to avoid asking “what is it?” as if you’re not even sure if it’s human.
2. “Is he good?” One of the more ridiculous things I’ve been asked. Yes, surprisingly, my four week old is not yet inherently bad.
3. “How’s she sleeping?” Don’t even ask unless the information is offered to you. When people ask this it’s as if it’s the Holy Grail of parenting. And as most new parents have yet to find it, asking if they’ve found it just rubs salt into a very sleep deprived wound.
4. “Are you having anymore?” Most new mums are still padding themselves ‘down there’ with the equivalent of a folded hand towel and are still wincing when they use the loo. “Having anymore” would require things happening ‘down there’ that I don’t think any new parents want to think about very soon.
5. “How are you feeding him?” I don’t visit friends with toddlers and ask what they’re planning to feed them for the next week. It’s a personal question and, even if it’s well meant, people can get a bit defensive and feel a bit guilty. New mums do not need to be made to feel guilty, even if it’s by accident.
6. “When’s it due?” Someone asked me this whilst I was pushing my first in the pram which I thought was hugely unobservant and it made it a bit awkward when I had to point to him and say “last week.” It can be hard to tell so possibly just avoid this question altogether to avoid new mum on day 8 feeling like a big fat whale.
Really the only questions you need to ask new parents, especially new mums are:
Are you ok?
How can I help?
Do you know how amazingly well you’re doing?
Do you want chocolate?