Most of you already know that I have seven kids. Mama, I’ve heard it all. I’ve been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. I finally narrowed the rudest comments down to the top seven–one for each kid. So, if you’re a bit clueless or if your mouth just tends to go on overdrive, take careful note and DO NOT say these seven things.
1. When are you due?
Okay, it’s true. It takes a while for that belly to go down (if it ever does). In the mean time, everyone who loves this new mom is telling her how beautiful she is and congratulating her on how quickly she is getting her figure back (even if she is not). All it takes is one stranger to come along and blurt out, “When are you due?” and her entire self-image is shattered. In short, if you don’t know for sure, don’t ask. For the love of all that’s holy, please, don’t ask.
2. Well, when I gave birth…
Here’s the deal. A new mom is basking in the pain, pleasure, and glory of her childbirth. Let her tell you all about it, but only if she really wants to. One thing she does NOT want to hear about is when you, your wife, your daughter, your boss, or your cute sister in LA gave birth. She may pretend she’s interested, but she’s not. She’s just being polite. And if your cute sister in LA gave birth naturally in a pool of water laden with lily pads and fit into her jeans the next week so she could make her modeling shoot, then she is probably trying to look interested while she’s holding back vomit, which is especially difficult. Don’t put her through the anguish.
3. Are you nursing?
This falls into one of those “none of your beeswax” categories. Sure, we all know the merits of breastfeeding. I’m definitely pro-lacto and I have the nipples to prove it (ain’t no bragging rights; just the facts, Jack). If she’s breastfeeding, then cool! If she’s not breastfeeding, then cool! I was breastfed and I’m plenty healthy. My husband was not breastfed and he’s plenty healthy, too. Now, if you’re talking about mental healthy, he’s probably one up on me. Do what’s best for you, and don’t try to go saving the world one boobie at a time.
4. You’ll be back in your blue jeans in no time.
She may already be back in her blue jeans. She was just that big when she started. You really don’t want to go there. Idiot’s Guide to New Moms: Tell her she looks wonderful, fantastic, beautiful. But don’t comment on her size or weight unless it is totally obvious she is pulling a Giselle on you and getting ready to walk down the runway with angel wings. Oh, and don’t tell her she is glowing. This is a comment that is meant for pregnant women and it usually means, “you look really flushed, kinda like your head is about to explode.”
5. Are you planning on having more?
If she is, then she is. Leave it up to her mother-in-law and her ob/gyn to do this type of prying, but not you. She wants to talk about the baby or her new life as a mom or maybe she just wants to gripe a little, or a lot. She isn’t thinking that far down the road yet so don’t push her. Right now she is just getting used to her new “normal,” don’t make her think about any other elements. Her brain may turn into syrupy liquid and ooze out of her ears.
6. Did you tear any?
Seriously? I need to include this? Yes, obviously, I do, since I’ve been asked this before. At first, I was stunned. But, then God whispered the perfect word in my head as a response. I just looked at the inquisitive woman in a bewildered manner and asked, “Where?”
7. Do you need any help?
At first, this seems like a nice thing to say. But a new mom will never, and I repeat, NEVER tell you she needs help. She may as well just scream, “I’m a failure!” No sirree, it won’t happen. Even if she is hanging on by a thread, she will smile and say, “No, that’s okay, we’re doing fine. Thanks anyway.” Here’s where you need to take the bull by the horns. Don’t ask if she needs help because she does. It’s inevitable. Just tell her what you’re going to do. “I’m bringing a meal by, so tell me what you like.” or “I’m coming by to clean the house so tell me when a good time would be.” She can’t turn you down. And if she does, she’s already fallen off the edge mentally or she has a hired staff of people to help her out. If she is mentally gone, offer medication. If she has hired help, egg her house.
There you have it. Follow this guide and you can’t go wrong. And remember, if you’re not really sure what to say, then just keep yer ever-lovin’ mouth shut. Smile and wave, Mama. Smile and wave.