As a new mum, I've come to learn there are many things you should not say to a new mum. Take for example that blissful 8 hours of uninterrupted, childfree sleep you enjoyed last night. I didn't think it was possible to actually forget what that feels like. I'm happy for you but I really don't want to hear about it.
With a newborn, parents are up at least every two hours during the night. As the months go on, it’s Russian Roulette of what kind of a night you’ll have. Will they be up every hour due to some issue or another or will you get that magical "sleeping through the night" that everyone talks about?
My physio told me that he has a 7,9 & 11 year old and he still has broken sleep. NO! You’re supposed to tell a new mum that it gets easier; that every stage is better than the last. These are the things I cling to and that prevent me from throwing my hands up in the air and saying “Whyyy???” to parenthood.
So rather than berading you about all the things I don't want to hear (and I can safely assume I speak on behalf of most mothers), I'm going to share with you 5 things you can (and should) tell a new mother. Then leave it to her to ascertain if she believes it or not. But at least you gave her a momentary glimmer of hope rather than crushing the little remaining parts of her soul.
#1 - It Gets Easier
Some people say that each stage has its challenges but I choose to believe that it gets easier. Sleep comes more easily and feeding is more in line with what your family does normally so there isn’t twice the time taken for feeding. Even if it doesn’t get easier - I’D JUST LIKE TO HANG ON TO THAT FOR A BIT LONGER PLEASE.
#2 - It Gets More Fun
Yes, this is something I also choose to believe although I hear that potty training is a nightmare. Oh, and if my teenage years are the benchmark for what teenagers are like, I pity my future self and my husband. But I still choose to believe I will have caring, thoughtful and selfless teenagers. Please don’t correct me. I’m happy here on my no idea what’s coming cloud.
#3 - Most Husbands/Partners Don't Hear The Crying During The Night
I’m pretty sure this is a natural thing and I’m okay with it because one of us should be a fully functioning human being to deal with paying bills and dealing with threats from the wild (I'm making a connection back to our tribal ancestors here but even to this day, threats of spiders and cockroaches in the house are very real to me).
If this isn’t true and they are just laying in bed and waiting for you to get up and work your baby boobie magic, well then, their time is coming. Baby will be taught to say “dad” first so that us mums can say, “He wants you,” and roll over and finally get the 8 hours in a row that we’ve been waiting months/years for.
#4 - You Look Gorgeous
Or similar statements like, “How do you do it?” Or “I know you must be tired but you don’t show it.” And then this one, “You’re a natural and such a good mum.” You get the picture. Encourage the new mums in your friendship circles. These are all little pick-me-ups for her when she is feeling like a crusty frump monster who hasn’t showered in days or shaved her legs since pregnancy. I choose to believe that you mean it and I will hang on to that small kind word for weeks to get me through this phase of life.
#5 - I'll Be Over In A Few Minutes To Drop Off A Casserole & Chocolate Chip Boobie Biscuits
This my friends, is like music to a new mum's ears. She has been hit by a steam roller (pregnancy) that was lugging behind it a semi trailer (labour) and needs tender loving care. Even if she has become a primal amazon woman and forgets how to have a conversation and can’t string sentences together, she will remember your kindness for the rest of her life and you will get back more than you’ve given as time goes on. Not that we are in a tit for tat arrangement here. I fully believe that kindness is repaid with kindness but not necessarily from the same person.