Three Things You Should Never Say To A New Mom
Aug. 15, 2020
When I gave birth to my daughter in the summer of 2013, I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, I knew labor and delivery would be tough. I knew there would be soreness, discomfort, aches, and pain. I knew the newborn days would be trying, and that exhaustion would hit like a freight train. Sleep deprivation, they said, was a b1tch. I knew breastfeeding would be hard, and full of missteps and false starts, and I knew I would be overwhelmed — isn’t every parent? But I didn’t realize how difficult those early days and weeks would be. I didn’t realize how much I would struggle, and how I would lose myself.
So what can you say instead of “it gets better?” How can you support a new parent without saying these three words? Personally, I try to avoid catchphrases and cliches. Instead, I sympathize and empathize. I share my own experiences in a candid, raw and real way. I focus on the positives. I tell new moms (and dads) things like “you’ve got this” and “you’re doing great.” And I listen. I give new parents the space to speak and breathe.
I also try to be honest. I say things like “parenting is tough. It’s okay to be frustrated and sad.” But, I add, “you are not alone.”
Is this failproof? No. The trials and tribulations remain real. The early days of parenting are rough. But if I had a realistic picture of what to expect — if I knew it was okay to be angry, that it was normal to mourn my old life and feel sad about parenthood, I think I would have coped better. I would have felt less crazy and certainly less alone.
So listen to the new and expectant parents in your life. Love them. And listen to them, without telling them about their brighter future on the horizon — the one they can’t quite see just yet. Because everyone just wants to be heard.