Friday, July 27, 2012

10 things you shouldn't do to a new mom

A new entry on my 10 things... "series" (if two can be called a series. I plan to do more, though)

I have learnt a lot through my pregnancy, and found many pleasant surprises. The ones that follow, though, weren't that pleasant (some did not happen to me, but would have annoyed me very much, so I thought I should share, too).

1. Call her names because you do not agree with something she is doing (or not doing), not even as a joke.

As evident as this sounds, some people need to be reminded. I have been called "step-mom" (not that I have anything against step-moms, but it was used in a very pejorative way) for not wanting to give Oath a pacifier. By my mother-in-law, no less.
I know she meant it as a joke, but anyway: Do Not Do It.

2. Buy her something she has specifically stated she does not want, need or have space enough for, just because you like it.

If she says she does not want pink frilly clothes, do not buy her a very pink and very frilly dress; if she said they are co-sleeping, it is working for them and, anyway, there is nowhere in the house they could put a crib right now... do not hand her down a crib, and much less two!
If she has been wrong, and she ends up wanting, needing or finding a place for it, she will tell you (or remain silent due to shame and pride, and that is another issue altogether).

3. Try to convince her to do things your way.

If the two of you do not agree, it is okay. Tell her your point of view, if you want, and let her explain hers, listening whether you want to or not. Do not insist that yours is the right way: even if it is, she will feel attacked and stop listening to you.

4. Appear at her doorstep unannounced.

You may understand that life with a baby takes time to adjust to, and that it is normal to have a messy house, still be in pajamas by mid-afternoon and not having showered for some days, but she will probably feel ashamed. Call in advance, ask if it's okay to pass by, and give her time change, put on deodorant and hide all the stuff.

5. Snatch the baby out of her arms.

Would you like it if somebody snatched your most loved thing right out of your hands, without warning? She may feel too weak or ashamed to say anything right then, but if you do she will probably resent it and stop trusting you.

6. Expect her to be a great hostess during your visit.

She might be, but she might as well feel overwhelmed by everything. If that is so, the last thing in her mind will be offering a drink, or a snack, or even asking how are you doing. She's there to care for the baby, not visitors.

7. Tell her there's a set time you're allowing her to not let the kid stay the night with you (applies specially if you are a grandparent).

So, if it ever crossed your mind to tell her: "Darling, you have three months until I make you leave your kid to stay the night with us.", do yourself a favor and think again. Giving her an "ultimatum" like that won't make her more prone to leaving her baby with you, or push her to do it sooner. Tell her that if she ever needs to leave the child with you for a weekend, or if she wants you to go to her house to spend the night so she and her partner can go out together: you're more likely to get what you want this way.

8. Insist if she does not pick up the phone if you are calling unannounced (unless it is an emergency).

You can be sure you will be calling while the kid is sleeping (luck works that way). Maybe she has the cell phone in silent mode, maybe she has unplugged the land line so it would not wake up her baby... or maybe you did, indeed, wake up the child and she has a crying infant in her arms and the last thing on her mind is picking up the phone. They are not dead, promise.

9. Complain that she is not giving you enough photos of the baby (another one for grandparents).

First of all, ask yourself: why should she? Unless you don't have a camera (and even then) she is not responsible of providing you with photos. Ask her if she has some that you could copy, she'll probably say yes and give you as many as you want (but do not expect her to make the copies and then drive to your home to deliver them. Maybe she will, but she has other things to take care of!)

10. Ignore her in favor of the baby.

I know it's tempting and quite instinctive to focus all your attention on the new arrival, but do not ignore the mother. She has been carrying the baby around for 9 months, has been through a very physically and emotionally exhausting journey that ends in the apotheosis that's a birth (which has probably been very scary and painful), so pay a little attention to her every time you see them. Make her feel loved and do not give her reasons to think that she's only the way to get through to the baby. She is way more than that and deserves the recognition.

Did I miss something? What annoyed you the most when you were a first-time mom? What would never cross your mind to do to a new mom?

Oath's Mom


  1. This post really brought back memories from when I had my first baby (who turned 11 in May!). I remember many of those and the feelings that went with them. Hang in there!

    1. It's good to know I'm not the only one feeling this way :)

  2. Hi OM,
    Just stumbled upon your blog and found this post interesting. It gave me a consolation of sorts to find out that I am not the only new mother who finds such behaviour irritating to the extent of paranoia. And oh yes, I have been planning to write about '10 things' too, before I read your post.

    1. Hi Gunjan! Thank you for taking the time to post a comment ^_^
      I know how you feel: I felt better (kinda) when I learnt I was not alone in feeling this way. I still hold some grudges because of things that happened those first months, many of them shared in this post, so I hope you do not get to that point!
      And, by all means, do a "10 things" post, I'd love to read it! I really like getting to see different points of view about the same things or situations :)


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