Whether you are experiencing baby blues, like the majority of new mothers, or postpartum depression/anxiety, like 15% of mothers, your loved ones will try to give you advice or pep talks, and they usually aren’t helpful. So here’s what not to say to a new mom or what not to listen to for new moms.
1. “Look at your beautiful baby. How could you not feel blessed?”
Here’s how: I have slept for 3 hours in 30 minute increments over the past 24 hours.
2. “I raised [insert large number] kids and made it.”
Well, I’m glad you survived raising four children. I have one child and I can barely eat a meal during the day. Your comparisons are so unhelpful.
3. “Get your big girl panties on” or “buck up.”
Ok, this is tough love, but guess what? The big girl panties are on. Getting out of bed, nursing the baby, bouncing her for hours…these were all impossible feats, and the fact that I can’t muster a smile about them doesn’t make me weak.
4. “Just wait until they are teenagers.”
Are you fucking kidding me? Do you see the desperation in my eyes? And you’re trying to tell me it gets worse? And here’s the thing, everybody thinks their stage is the best and the worst, so keep that shit to yourself.
5. “Cherish this time. It goes by so fast.”
That may be true, but you saying that isn’t going to make me cherish my baby anymore. My baby will do that work with her smiles and coos. But right now, I haven’t showered in four days and I just went grocery shopping with my boob still out, so I’m gonna pass on cherishing those moments.
What should you say?
Bring food. Do laundry. Hold the baby. And listen.