What not to say to a new mum
This was not going to be my next post; I already have 5 more partly written just waiting for my attention to finish them off and publish them. But I heard something today that really got my back up, and I decided it needed to be written!
A friend (whom shall remain anonymous), was describing a recent encounter with her Mother in Law. She has a young baby, and when her husband was due home from work her MiL told her it was time to get dressed properly, put some makeup on, tidy the house and do the dishes to prepare for his imminent arrival. And also that her husband was doing too much around the house. I was flabbergasted. She then proceeded to tell me the MiL had also told her that if the baby wasn’t sleeping through the night by 12 weeks old they were failing as parents.
I was absolutely livid. I simply cannot believe that someone would say that to a new mum, to make them feel inadequate, and to essentially say that she is failing as a wife and a mother. The amount of pressure we feel to be good mothers and also good wives/partners is already huge. Becoming a new parent is one of the hardest things we will ever do in our lives. We are exhausted and overwhelmed, and all we need is help and support from our loved ones, not judgement. I’m sure this MiL meant well and was trying to help in her own way, but we are not living in the 50s, and the toll that comments like that can take on a new mum are immense.
I shared a link on Facebook recently about things a husband/partner can do to help new mums, and I found it really spot on. Support her, tell her she is doing a good job, tell her you love her, tell her she looks beautiful, help around the house, and let it go when the house is a mess. This will go a long way to boosting our emotional selves. But as well as this from our partners, we need support from our families (which luckily I have loads of), and possibly more importantly, we need to learn to accept the support and the help offered. This is something I have been working on, and have definitely improved on after baby 2 came along!
We need to be kind to ourselves. We are doing an extremely important job; bringing life into the world and raising a beautiful baby, and all this while we are in the worst shape, emotionally and physically, that we may ever be in. The house and cleaning can take the back burner for awhile, the world won’t end because of it!