So, when we’re pregnant, all you tend to hear is ‘oh, you’ll need this, this and this, and don’t forget you’ll want to do that and you should be doing it like this’, but more often than not, you sit and wonder how much of that is really true- weather it’s a materiel object or not. But my question is, what is it that mum really needs and what is it that she really doesn’t need to hear? What in your opinion are the big ‘ no no’s’. Of course, this list is from my own personal experience and opinion of what I needed and what I didn’t want to hear. Feel free to add your own in! It’ll be interesting to see how we all vary!
1) Tissues. I don’t know about everyone else, but I cried everyday roughly at the same time for the first two weeks. Your emotions and hormones are in absolute over drive and your body is having a melt down. Quite often, Troy would ask why I’m crying, and my reply would be ‘because she’s so pretty’ while sobbing and gasping for breath at the same time. Talk about an emotional wreck.
2) For visitors to lay off for the first couple of weeks. We were over run with people coming over, even the day after I got out of the hospital. As much as we appreciate it, and we want to show off the baby, it wasn’t what we needed. Well, it wasn’t for me anyway. I’ve just pushed a baby out of my vagina, the last thing I want to do is entertain. Plus the fact most partners only get two weeks off of work. This time is important to spend together as a family. So, if your friend has just had a baby, don’t overwhelm her. By all means, drop a couple of texts to see how they’re all doing, but make it clear you will only visit at their earliest convenience.
3) When you do go and visit, Jesus Christ, take some food with you. A frozen lasagne, cottage pie, something to that effect. It’s so difficult to find time to cook when your world has just been thrown into complete chaos with a new born, and I found that we were eating a lot of crap when what you really want is a good hearty meal, and shortbread. Don’t forget the shortbread.
4) Again, on the visitor front, don’t go straight in and ask to hold the baby. Instead, go and make yourself useful. Stick the kettle on, maybe wash the pots or put some washing on. She’ll love you forever.
5) Lanolin. If she’s breast feeding, this will be a life saver on her poor cracked and bleeding nipples! They will at some point feel like they’re going to drop off and this cream causes some mild relief, plus it’s harmless to your baby.
6) It’s a daunting feeling when dad goes back to work, so make sure she’s got something good to watch on TV- this doesn’t mean Jeremy Kyle (although watching people with lives worse than your own may be beneficial) and make sure she’s got plenty of magazines to read, trying to avoid covers which are titled *I lost all of my pregnancy weight in one week*. It will make her feel like shit. While she’s breastfeeding, the last thing she wants to be doing is sitting there staring at the wall thinking *oh God, is this my life now*
7) Get out of the house. You may think a new mum needs to be cooped up at home with her new babe for the first few weeks, but she really doesn’t, unless you want to send her stir crazy. Gentle walks up to the shops or around a park for some fresh air will be a life saver. If she’s a bit worried about venturing out on her own, then go with her.
8) A new vagina. Okay, so maybe this one is a little difficult, but if it were a thing, every new mum would be putting a new one on their Amazon wish list.
9) Sleep. A new mum really does need sleep. The body has gone through a whole trauma, and we are given no time to recover. Literally, a baby drops out, then you’re in charge of a tiny human, when all you want to do is give it back so you can sleep it off. If you have time, offer to watch the baby while she has a nap.
11) Give her praise and reassurance. This is all new to her. She wants to know that she’s doing a good job, and she wants to hear that so far, she’s done a good job in not killing her baby.
12) Dry shampoo. Even if she gets that miracle bath, the chances of her actually having time to wash her hair are slim to non. I go through cans like there’s no tomorrow. In fact, I don’t think I’ve washed my hair since 1875.
Now onto things a mum definitely doesn’t need to hear. If you speak these words to her, be it at your own peril!
1) ‘Well I did it this way’. Great, you did it that way, and I’m sure it worked for you, but she’s new at this, let her find her own way and make her own mistakes (as long as she isn’t going to kill the baby). If she asks your advice on the other hand, by all means, go for it.
2) ‘When are you going to have another?’ Really? Even a year later, this is still a stupid question. I’m not over having the first one yet and I’m still trying to enjoy it and get my head around this whole parenting thing.
3) ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’ Shit advice, especially if you’ve already had a baby as you know this never happens. Sleeping when the baby sleeps (during the day) just doesn’t work (for the majority of people). It’s alright saying ‘leave the dishes, leave the laundary’ but, seriously who the fuck is going to do them? It’s not okay to leave it all for dad to do. He’s probably been up all night, and working all day. Reality is, you’ve got shit that needs to be done and a house that needs sorting.
4) ‘You look rough’ yes, someone actually said that to me. A new mum, or any mum for that matter doesn’t want to hear it, or any other related comment on her appearance. ‘You look exhausted’, ‘when are you going to start losing baby weight’ and ‘were your hips always that big’. These are all BIG no no’s.
5) ‘Aren’t they sleeping through yet?’ Lady, my baby is 5 days old. No they are not sleeping through yet. If they tell you their baby slept 12 hours on the first night at home, they’re talking bollocks.
6) Do not, in anyway, shape or form, criticise what her new born baby looks like. The only words that should be coming out of your mouth are, ‘Aren’t they gorgeous’, ‘aren’t they perfect’, ‘it’s the most beautiful baby I’ve seen’. Even if you do think it looks like E.T, a new mum doesn’t need to hear it.
7) ‘Don’t hold them so much, they’ll get used to it’ what a load of crock. I carried my baby for over 9 months in my uterus, so chances are their already used to being held. If you want to give your newborn constant cuddles and kisses, then do it.
8) ‘When are you going back to work?’ Why on earth would anyone mention that? A new mum is trying to enjoy time with her new baby, the last thing she wants to think about is going back to a job she probably hates.
9) ‘Did you really want a boy/girl?’ No, actually, I did want the opposite sex baby, but unfortunately my warrenty to return has run out. What an awful question to ask, especially once the baby is here. As long as the baby is happy and healthy, that’s all that will matter to a new mum.
10) ‘You got sick/poop/piss on your shirt. Did you know?’ Why no, I must have missed the combo of where they shit and pissed on me while changing them, only to then pick them up and have them projectile vomit all over me.
11) Probably the biggest one of all ‘It’ll get better’ Really, when? 6 weeks, 12 weeks? Can you give me an exac day and time? The future self in me is saying ‘my child is 18, I sleep even less, I’ve got grey hair and wrinkles that make me look like a British Bulldog. Does it still get better?
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this. Let me know in the comments or on Facebook/Twitter if you have any others to add to the list.