I’m not sure if we’re living in an age where we are becoming more offended from what others say to us or we have useless communication skills which can see us say the worst things at the wrong time. Or maybe it’s a combination of both.
The internet is full of posts telling us 10 things not to say to a pregnant woman, or 20 questions not to ask a woman who hasn’t got kids. These posts can be educational because some of us have dug ourselves into a hole without realizing our conversation error. Or maybe that’s just me?
I love conversing with people. Meeting new people is something I enjoy and I usually can carry a conversation well with someone I don’t know. Occasionally I may ask a personal question, not out of judgement or to make the other person feel uncomfortable, but simply for curiosity sake. Maybe that’s wrong? Maybe I shouldn’t ask personal questions to people I don’t know?
A recent post that I came across was 10 things not to say to a postpartum woman. Some of the things suggested, I would have thought were common sense NOT to say. But it seems some of us still struggle on conversation etiquette.
Rather than write a post on what not to say, how about some suggestions on what to say to a postpartum mum? Here are some ideas, and if you have your own, why not add them in the comments?
1. You’re doing brilliantly. Motherhood can be overwhelming. You can doubt yourself a lot in this stage. Encouraging a mum and telling her she’s doing well will not only bring a smile to her face, but reassurance she’s got this.
2. This is a season. It’s a hard season, but it’s worth it. When a mum is dealing with a baby that won’t stop crying, is suffering reflux or is going through a bout of teething, it can be hard for a mum to look at the bigger picture. Help remind her, but also do it in a way that understands how tough the current season is. Because let’s not water it down, not being able to console a crying baby can be upsetting for mum.
3. Let me make you dinner tonight. Or can I clean the house? Offers of help to a mum can help her relax. Ensuring she accepts the help may be a little difficult. Why not drop a meal to her instead or when she’s sitting on the couch nursing the baby, clean the kitchen or ask where the vacuum cleaner is.
4. Can I look after your baby while you have some time to go shopping or enjoy getting your hair done? Getting personal tasks done like buying new clothes, new underwear or getting much needed hair roots dyed can be difficult with a baby in tow. It’s not often relaxing. Offering to look after the baby will help mum to feel like herself again.
5. You won’t enjoy every day, but find something to be grateful for – even if its eating a Tim Tam with the kids not noticing. Mums need to be reassured that they won’t enjoy every day. It’s normal, but there is always something to be grateful for. And the emotions can change quickly like the tide.
6. Your instincts are usually right. Trust them. If you think something is wrong, there is no harm in making a call or going to a doctor. Reassure mum that she knows her baby better than anyone and to trust her instincts.
7. You’re not meant to know everything. It takes time to learn how to be a mum and how to read your baby. Share instances how you learned something new with your baby. Mine is I still can’t tell between a hungry and tired cry!
8. Don’t stress about bad habits or spoiling your baby. Do what you need to do to help you and your baby. This comes from experience, but the things that were no no’s like giving baby a dummy or feeding baby to sleep were survival mechanisms that I don’t regret doing. Mums can feel guilty they have ‘given in’. This is ridiculous thinking.
9. Let me come over and look after the baby so you can have a nap or shower or read a book. Me time is non-existent for the first year or two. Offering a new mum time to herself is a godsend!
10. How are you feeling? What are you worried about? New mums can worry about many things. Opening the conversation with a question, allows her to share what’s on her heart.
Do you have anything to add to the list? What were some helpful comments made to you after you had a baby?