I’m kind of a Huffington Post addict. When I click on one article, I go on a click-through bender that I don’t come out of until for hours. When I read their article on 5 things you should never say to a new mom, an idea many sites have weighed in on, I knew I wanted to go the other way.
We don’t need to police what we say around new moms & new babies. If you’re friend’s recently had a baby, you’re celebrating a big change in her life. You don’t need to worry for the same reason you don’t worry about what you shouldn’t say to a bride and groom on their wedding day. You’re there to celebrate a big change in change in their life. When you’re in the mindset of being welcoming, supporting and celebrating, you don’t need to worry that you will say something accidentally offensive, you won’t.
When you’re friend becomes a new mom, you have an opportunity to say some of these 6 things. If you do, you’ll make her day.
You are so great with the baby.
Even if she looks like she’s handling the baby perfectly, there will be times when nothing she tries is what he wants and he will scream endlessly. In those moments, it’s hard to remember that sometimes this baby coos and gazes at her face. She will cling to the idea that she is good with this baby. If you see her taking care of a happy baby, say so.
You are the zen master.
Just like the first reason, there will be a moment one day when she isn’t. Even if she doesn’t lose your cool, slam a door or scream into a pillow, she’ll be that frustrated and it’s nice to know that someone noticed when she did have it all together.
You look radiant.
Pregnant women are known for their glow, but new mommies have it too. Newlyweds and people in new relationships have it too. It’s the look of people overcome with love and it makes you look like the most deliciously beautiful version of yourself. The radiance on your face shines through greasy hair and stained clothes. Everyone loves to hear it, call it if you see it.
You look so happy.
Of all the things on this list, this is my favorite to say to anyone. For me, this is the least related to new motherhood – I say this to anyone any time I see them beaming or have that contented calm air about them. I think it’s one of the best things that you can hear, second to hearing I love you for the first time. It’s a great way to stop and honor what brought you to this happy place in your life.
I believe that it’s important to know what lights you up in general. When I’m ‘down’ I can’t picture ever being happy –when in my life I was happy, what makes me happy, anything. Of course, she knows she’s happy right now. When someone else articulates it, it sticks in your memory more.
She has your eyes, or something about your personality
You might think the baby looks like her dad, and why not? There’s a 50/50 shot and some people, including the fine folks at NY Times, think that evolution predisposes babies to look like their fathers. Every baby pretty much has the same mouth, which doesn’t look like ANY adult mouth, so that’s a major part of the face that can’t be attributed to mom or dad. Does she look like mom at all? Any characteristic or does she have the same
Moms are predisposed to think that her baby is the most beautiful thing on Earth, so if she can look at the baby and see something of herself it will make her day. And she will take that as the biggest compliment.
Besides, looking alike is part of being a family, so you pointing out some resemblance might help mom feel closer to her new baby.
I care about you.
We like to wait for the right moment to say when we care about people who are important to us, don’t we? It feels awkward otherwise; it’s socially risky. I’ve said before that one of the most beautiful parts of motherhood is that it is an opportunity for people to tell their loved ones about how and why they love them.
Anyone who has attended a funeral can tell you, life is short. If you’ve shared with the relatives standing next to the casket how much the deceased meant to you, you probably felt the extra sting of knowing that you’ve never found the right chance to say it.
Maybe it’s just a simple I love you or I care about you or I want you to be happy or I love seeing you this happy. Now is the time to say so. Now is the time to be as schmaltzy as possible. With all the endorphine, oxytocin and dopamine hormones flowing through mommy right now, it’s going to go over really well, and she’s more likely to appreciate and remember it forever.
If she’s ever inspired you or helped you through a tough time, it’s a great time to remind her of that and thank her again. She probably doesn’t know it meant so much to you, and even if she does, she’s probably not thinking about it today. If you can’t think of the right way to say it, just abruptly change the subject whenever there’s a pause, say You’re amazing then jump straight in. We remember the meaningful things people say, not how cleverly they worked it into conversation.
Naturally, moms only want to hear any of those 6 thoughts (and you only want to say them) if you believe they are true. If you’re looking for them, I’m sure you’ll see at least one.
If you really insist, here is the accumulated knowledge from the internet, the top 20 things not to say to a new mom (5 from Huffington Post, 16 from Women’s Health mag, 10 from parents.com, 19 from buzzfeed). When you’re in the frame of mind to help mom feel good about the transition she’s making, you wouldn’t really think to say any of them.
- Enjoy the moment, it goes by so fast.
- Are you loving it?
- Are you breastfeeding?
- You’re so lucky.
- She’s so huge / he’s so tiny.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps – or any other advice.
- Wow, you look tired.
- Your baby sure does cry a lot.
- It only gets worse as they get older.
- Did you really want a boy/girl?
- Are you going back to work soon?
- Are you ready for another?
- You have to breastfeed.
- Anything related to weight.
- Baby looks like a monkey
- Is that drool on your shirt?
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Your baby is too young to be doing this?
- It must be nice to be home all day.
- I’d be so nervous leaving her with a stranger.
Did I miss anything? What completely made your day to hear when you were a new mom? Or, did you say something that went over really well when you met a friend and her baby? Let us know in the comments below.
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Love ya ladies, you’re beautiful baby growing heroes.