So groggy that you can’t form a coherent sentence? Been there.
In the weeks leading up to the birth of my daughter, more people than we could count told my husband and me, "Better sleep now while you can!" We laughed them off, foolishly thinking that our situation would be different. We'd work it out. We’d be parents of the year.
It was only after her arrival in April that we realized how important sleep really is. Without a proper amount of Z’s, I found that tiny issues turned into big, end-of-the-world problems. It seemed like nobody was on my side—I felt like my daughter and I were the only people in the world who made a lick of sense. (And since her favorite things in the world were her feet and a Vaseline container, at times I doubted even her.) It was during this time that we got a lot of well-meaning advice from the people around us. Unfortunately, a lot of it only made our cloudy brains even cloudier. Here are a few things I wish I had mustered enough energy to say to friends and family right after bringing my baby home.
“Please don't tell me, You'll bounce back.”
Prior to having a baby, tabloids (misleadingly) provided my only insight as to what happens to your body after giving birth. While I’m not the first person in my family to have a baby, I rarely asked my sister to see what her post-delivery tummy looked like. (We’re close, but we have boundaries.) What I quickly learned was that after delivering a baby, you look the same way you feel—deflated. It may take a year to bounce back. You may never bounce back. But you know what? Your body created a cool, tiny human, which is incredible. So enough with the bouncing, thanks!
"Hello, I'm still here, too!"
When you’re pregnant, you’re the center of attention. People want to ask you questions and touch your belly—with permission, of course. But the second that baby arrives, you’re shoved aside. You may get asked for your birth story, but that’s about it. It would have been nice to hear, “How are you feeling?” or “How have the first few weeks/months been for you?” But in the eyes of your well-meaning family, those conversations only take away time that could be better spent cooing at the baby.
“Thanks, but no thanks.”
Some family members try extra hard to be helpful. But sometimes you just need a minute or two to chill out with your significant other and new child. Figuring out how to live with the new addition takes time, and having your in-laws lingering for a week or two after the birth isn't really all that helpful.
“We do some things differently these days.”
If this is your first baby, a lot of older moms in the family may try to “momsplain” things, or tell you that you're doing something wrong. Case in point, bottles: We washed ours thoroughly, but a family member made sure to pull me aside and tell me they should be boiled. And, no, my baby’s crib is not be decorated with colorful pillows and bumpers as cribs were in the past—but we now know that’s the best way to keep the baby safe.
“I actually don’t think she looks like anybody right now—she was just born!”
People love to remark that the baby is “100 percent his Daddy’s child,” or point out, “She looks nothing like your side of the family.” Maybe it’s true, but saying outright that the mom and baby don’t look related is a bit of a slap in the face after all our hard work! Besides, all babies kind of look alike, and their features will change in a month or two anyway.