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 Post subject: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:09 am 
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id go so far as to call this "things not to say to a new mom"

i feel like someone read the inside of my brainz

http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/worst-thing-woman-just-had-baby-115600786.html

if one more person tells me to enjoy every second of motherhood with a dopey grin on their face exclaiming how wonderfully magic motherhood is im gonna lose it.

id like to make peace with a shitty pregnancy, tramautic birth experience, and child with a heart defect before i start shooting rainbows of glee out my asparagus and that doesnt mean i dont love my child or enjoy a lot of things about motherhood thankyouverymuch

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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:06 pm 
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TRVTH. What I hated (along the same lines as "enjoy every second") is "Doesn't it just go by so fast?"

Because no, not really. Sometimes the days just crawl. Before I had kids, when we'd travel and eat at nice restaurants and read lots of books and have hobbies, then the days went by fast. Now? Eh.

Actually there was a good TED talk on the 'what if you don't fall in love with your child instantly' idea.

http://www.ted.com/talks/rufus_griscom_ ... aboos.html


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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:11 pm 
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This is so good! I know people are just trying to make conversation and don't really think about the implications of what they're saying, but that stuff is so incredibly annoying.


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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:27 pm 
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But you NEEEEEEED to expose them to germs, how else will they ever build up immunity?!

And OMG the whole "Oh so when is the baby due" after you have given birth made me go off on someone. I told her the first time that the baby was 4 months old and then the next time, I just tore her a new one. Seriously, stop commenting on other people's bodies!

And "Oh is she sleeping through the night?" - mostly I said "No, but she isn't supposed to." But once I said "Oh yes! Of course! She eats dinner, makes her bed, and then sleeps all night. NO YOU IDIOT SHE IS A NEWBORN!"

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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:38 pm 
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"How are you holding up?" seems like a pretty normal question to ask. sorry for giving a shiitake?

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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:45 pm 
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After I had Alice a few people asked me if she was a good baby. Ummm...as opposed to a horrible baby?

The thing that annoyed the heck out of me the most was people who said I would have no problem with two kids because my mom lives in the area. For one, if my mom was over here every day, or even multiple times a week, I might go nuts. Also, for me it just seems like more work to have someone here all of the time, even if they do offer to clean or cook. I likely my alone time. That and she is not the most reliable person because she always has some health problem or is spontaneously going out of town. Not to say that it hasn't been helpful when she has come over to watch Ada for a little bit if I need to go to take Alice to the doctor or something. But that doesn't magically make having a new baby and toddler a breeze!


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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:45 pm 
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Quote:
"How are you holding up?"
"A few people assumed that life with a new baby was terrible. I got sympathy phone calls as if something awful had happened to me. 'I know you must be really overwhelmed/miserable right now,' friends would say. I was doing really well, but if I wasn't, I'm not sure constantly hearing how bad things are expected to be would be helpful!" — Caroline, mom of one (4 months)


As I read it, its not the question, but the assumption that things must be really hard. Before I had L, everyone urged me to have people over to "help" and warned me that it was going to be really difficult to adjust etc, but I had a pretty easy time when L was born, because I had an easy birth with almost no recovery time needed and my husband was around.

I think its useful to ask questions that leave room for your friend to talk about what they are experiencing, not assuming that its going to be one way or another.

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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:50 pm 
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sashi wrote:
After I had Alice a few people asked me if she was a good baby. Ummm...as opposed to a horrible baby?


This.

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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 2:58 pm 
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Re: the good baby thing. I saw some of my brother's friends (who had their second baby last November) yesterday, I was saying hi to the baby and generally remarking about how much she'd grown since I last saw her when she was like 2 weeks old. Her mom said, "Yeah, and she's a bisque, too." Of course she was joking, but what she meant (and her husband later made the same remark) is that this baby is much more intense than their older daughter, who is much more easygoing. Neither is evil, just different personalities/habits/temperaments. That's usually what I take that question to mean...

Since I am not a parent right now, what are the things that new moms want to hear? What made you feel good?


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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:08 pm 
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Like I said above, I think you can just ask open ended questions, and then listen to your friend. "How are things going?" And letting them natter on about stuff without judgement or giving advice is super-appreciated - I think so many people just launch into judgments or helpful advice without listening to what the parents are actually dealing with. So my sister-in-law annoyed the crepe out of me by launching right into a long diatribe about how I needed to let L cry it out or she would never develop lungs.

But most things are going to depend on your relationship. I really appreciated it when my friends said that I looked pretty - because I felt kind of tired, old and frumpy (because my clothes didn't fit right). Just a nice sincere compliment was also very welcome, both about me and the baby. I felt like I was just learning all these new skills, so one of the compliments I still remember was at the hospital, one of the residents said "Wow, is she your first? Because you really have breastfeeding down!" And I felt competent and proud :)

I think the "good baby" thing is rough for me, because it makes you compare your child to this ideal NB baby who doesn't cry, sleeps through the night, doesn't have gas issues or get colicky, and it makes you feel like if you were a better parent then you wouldn't be dealing with some pretty major challenges. And everything feels like a bigger deal than it is when you're sleep-deprived :)

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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:15 pm 
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I always compliment the baby. 'Oh, s/he is gorgeous!' followed by a 'how are YOU doing?'. Since I'm childless I have no advice to give.

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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:07 pm 
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It seems like a lot of those could be rephrased just ever so slightly to take out the judgment and be nice things to say. Like instead of "is she sleeping through the night?" which carries with it the implication that she should be, you can just ask how the baby is sleeping or if the mom is getting any rest. Of course, any commentary on mom's body or how the baby is being fed is completely unwelcome ever. But some I think just depend on tone of voice and phrasing. Even the comment about the baby being tiny. All babies are tiny, and I admit to swooning over newborn tinyness any time I encounter it. But I think a comment about how all babies are such small little people and isn't that wonderful is different than saying that this particular baby is small compared to other babies. At least I hope so, or I have inadvertently offended many people.


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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:19 pm 
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butterbobbin wrote:
sashi wrote:
After I had Alice a few people asked me if she was a good baby. Ummm...as opposed to a horrible baby?


This.

I HATE the good baby thing. They just are! How can a newborn be good or bad?

And LisaPunk, my baby was really petite for the first several months, I guess until she was a year or more, and people constantly commented on how little she was. It drove me nuts. Way to go on zeroing in on the one thing I'm most worried about, people. It's like lemon juice on a paper cut.

Also, my partner had a huge problem with random strangers on the street telling him the baby wasn't dressed warm enough. Who does that? Apparently lots of weird people.


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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:02 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
Quote:
"How are you holding up?"
"A few people assumed that life with a new baby was terrible. I got sympathy phone calls as if something awful had happened to me. 'I know you must be really overwhelmed/miserable right now,' friends would say. I was doing really well, but if I wasn't, I'm not sure constantly hearing how bad things are expected to be would be helpful!" — Caroline, mom of one (4 months)


As I read it, its not the question, but the assumption that things must be really hard. Before I had L, everyone urged me to have people over to "help" and warned me that it was going to be really difficult to adjust etc, but I had a pretty easy time when L was born, because I had an easy birth with almost no recovery time needed and my husband was around.


Yeah, but the question as described, is NOT the assumption that things are hard. It's pretty much asking how things are going. I think that article is sort of good, but also kind of stupid.

For example, "sleeping through the night" _means_ 2 or more 3-4-hour stretches. It's a dumb way to put it, but that's what it actually means! The woman who's like, "Oh man, only sleeping 5 hours? I am a FAILURE!" needs to talk to her pediatrician (or pay attention to her pediatrician) or just check online or something, because heck, 5 or 6 hours at a stretch is LUXURY.

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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:23 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
And "Oh is she sleeping through the night?" - mostly I said "No, but she isn't supposed to." But once I said "Oh yes! Of course! She eats dinner, makes her bed, and then sleeps all night. NO YOU IDIOT SHE IS A NEWBORN!"

I always get, "is he a good sleeper?" and if I say no, lots of advice about formula, cereal, and pacifiers ensues.

Beet & Raygold were small babies, but when people said they were 'so tiny,' I didn't mind. I mean, babies are tiny compared to everybody else. I thought Percy seemed so tiny at first (meanwhile the midwives were all, "he looks huge to us!").

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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:56 am 
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Also: "Oh my God, you did NOT just have a baby!"

I actually love this, even when I think they are lying through their teeth. I recently posted my P90x 'Before' photos, where I am 6 weeks post-partum, and the skinniest girl I know (she is this lovely, teeny-tiny Korean) said I looked awesome and she couldn't wait to see how ripped I got after P90x. Man, that just about made my day.

My mom (I know I am always dissing her, but for once I am not) even said something like that 5 years ago after I had Beet. "I can't believe you just had a baby, you are so skinny!" 5 years ago when I couldn't even get my fat jeans above my knees and felt like a big fat lump. It was so nice to hear, especially after my MIL had told me at 20 weeks pregnant that I'd already put on enough weight and started serving me Weight Watchers bread when we were visiting.

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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:29 am 
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The best thing I ever had said to me when Sven was a newborn was, "Is this your first? You really look like you know what you're doing!" I think he was a week old and I was at the grocery store with him in a carrier. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing so it was really nice to hear.


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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:50 am 
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I appreciated it when people acted impressed by my birth story, even if they really didn't care. So many of the people I know said/say stuff about how awful natural births sound and how women who stick to it are "crazy" and it irked me a lot. I 100% get that it's not for everyone and not always an option and I didn't need to be congratulated on my choice or anything, but having someone be like "wow! you're strong" felt really nice.


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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:47 pm 
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I didn't have a natural birth and also appreciated (and still do) being complimented on my strength/perseverance in labor and delivery. I even got a compliment on it from a nurse who had been my L&D nurse for one night and then visited us three days later in postpartum (all the other nurses sucked, but this one was working on becoming a midwife so I think she was especially interested in the midwife-assisted deliveries).

I appreciated people commiserating on how difficult having a newborn was. I know it isn't for everybody, but it was for me, and I liked knowing that that's normal and that I wasn't doing anything wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:51 pm 
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"Why yo kid not going to inherit the throne?"

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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:11 pm 
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interrobang?! wrote:
"Why yo kid not going to inherit the throne?"


Best.

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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:46 pm 
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like a lot of people menitoned a lot of the things in the article arent bad in and of themselves but it's the tone/reaction.

i have A LOT of people ask me how she sleeps, that seems to be the big one.
my answer is always the same because she's been steady in how she sleeps for awhile and that's that we get up 2x a night to nurse. once in the 1-3 hour and once in the 5-7 hour.
a lot of people think that's great for a 2-3 month old (and i agree) and that's cool. some people give me the pity look like she should be sleeping through the night and poor me and the underlying tone (though not spoken) is i shouldnt be nursing her so much. i should have her on some sort of schedule
that peas me off.

alot of people out in the world comment on her tininess. that in itself doesnt bother me because she is tiny. she is like in the 3 percentile for her age. if it bothered me for people to comment she was small then i shouldnt leave the house. alot of people ask me if she was a preemie and when i say no they get the look on their face that something is wrong with her and what am i doing to my baby that she is so small. im really sensitive about her size because i got shiitake about it when i was pregnant and it has continued so im OVERLY sensitive about it. but for every one who gives me "the look" i have 2 people who say they had a small baby too.

so it's really about the reaction/comments/tone to me and not necessarily what they say all the time.

though to be honest the "omg isnt it the greatest, didnt you just fall completely in love with her the moment you saw her" comments bother me.
i know these are totally meant as positive comments and there is nothing malicious about them but there are many people (me included) who struggled with birth and didnt hae the instantaneous moment of true love and had to work up to it. it doesnt mean we dont love our kids it's just every one has a different experience and it makes me feel like a horrible person sometimes when i cant say how rainbows of happiness shot out of my butt hole the second i saw her.
after she was finally out i wanted to curl up in a ball and die.

and i also disagree that people cant tell me how faboo i look! bring on the compliments i shall take them!

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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:16 pm 
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It's so funny how people can say seemingly innocuous things without meaning them to be douchey, and they just come across so wrong.

My in-laws used to tell me constantly when the Emperor was a baby that he was "such a GOOD baby", "such an EASY baby" etc. I love them to pieces and I know they meant this from a super non-judgey place of love but it was excruciating to hear because I absolutely did not feel like he was an easy baby, and it just made me feel like wow, if he's an easy baby, I must just be REALLY shitty at parenting.

I tend to be pretty vocal about how much I think it sucks to have to care for a newborn. Though, M was such a genuinely pleasant newborn to be around that I'm now a bit slower to jump on how gross and boring they are and usually try to feel out how the other parent's doing first, heh.

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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:21 pm 
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LisaPunk wrote:
so it's really about the reaction/comments/tone to me and not necessarily what they say all the time.


This! Which is why articles like this are so hard.

I also just think some things become annoying because of the frequency with which they are asked. There isn't really anything wrong with asking how a baby sleeps, but at some point that is just no longer an interesting question to answer. Change it up. Ask who the baby wants to win Top Chef.


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 Post subject: Re: things not to say to a woman who just gave birth
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:21 pm 
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"Hey wanna have sex?" Because she probably doesn't. Though heck, maybe she would appreciate the offer. Its hard to tell being that we are all unique individuals with our own complicated interpersonal relationships.

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