This article was written by Kristi Grigg
Picture this: You’ve just left the hospital with your brand new bundle of joy.
Your partner has lovingly driven home at an average speed of 7 kph and you’ve somehow managed not to complain about your desperate need to go to the bathroom and the agony of every bump on your stitches.
You arrive home and the neighbours are eagerly awaiting the first glimpse of your new alarm clock. You exit the car with as much grace and dignity as you can manage with a full bladder and the memory of a labour not yet far enough in the distance to be greeted by “Wow, you look rough.”
Well thanks. That became number one on my list of things not to say to a new mother. Apparently foot-in-mouth disease is quite common around new parents.
I’ve heard some beauties spouted to pregnant women:

  • Was it planned? (What on earth has that got to do with you?)
  • Are you SURE it’s not twins/triplets/a baby elephant?
  • You’re taking the eating for two thing seriously aren’t you?
  • When are you due? Are you sure? (No, I’m just making it up.)
  • What are you having? Oh WHY did you tell me?? (Why did you ask?!)

But people seem to take it to a whole other level after bubs arrives. From personal experience, these would be my top things NOT to say to a new mother.

  • You look tired. (Well duh – we know, you don’t need to point it out.)
  • That baby doesn’t look like either of you, what does your postman look like? (Not funny.)
  • Are you expecting again already? (Nope, still fat from the first one.)
  • When are you having the next one? (When this one grows up and leaves home.)
  • Crying babies shouldn’t be allowed out of the house. (Overheard in the checkout on a desperate outing to the supermarket with my screaming four week old.)
  • What a beautiful baby girl.  Me: Boy. Stranger: Girl. Me: Boy. Stranger: Nooooo, that baby is far too pretty to be a boy. (I’m pretty sure mother’s know the sex of their own babies.)
  • When you visit a new mother, do NOT comment on the state of the bathroom/sink full of dishes/un-vacuumed floor unless you intend to do something about it.
  • You’re late again, haven’t you got a watch? (No, the baby threw up on it.)
  • Oh, isn’t your baby smiling/rolling/crawling yet? (No, do you think I should take it back for a refund?)
  • Your baby is tiny, is that normal? (Same goes for huge, babies come in all sizes, shapes and colours.)
  • You look tired. (Did I already mention this one? Sorry, I’m tired.)

That first year or five of parenting is such a shock to the system. Sleep deprivation, lack of energy and inability to leave the house on time is just some of it. Add to that the constant worry about whether you are doing the right thing, is your baby okay, have you eaten today and oh my goodness how long has it been since you last fed the baby and the absolute last thing you need is accidental criticism or to be reminded of the fact that you haven’t had time to wash your hair this week.
People will always make inappropriate comments; your immunity to them grows as your baby does.  It all comes back to the smile; nod and back away slowly manoeuvre. I’m told by your fifth or sixth baby it’s an automatic reflex.
Embrace the tiredness, don’t worry about the washing and remember to think before you speak.
This article was written by Kristi Grigg
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