In a word, they just aren’t. Your instincts are never wrong. Every mother I’ve spoken to has echoed this sentiment.
Regrets are always about going against your own instincts
I don’t want to say regret like: to this day I regret doing or not doing something. But, decisions that have blown up in my face, and driven me to go back to what my gut was telling me to do.
And it’s not just me. I was at a wedding shower recently and the mother of the bride told a story about when she was pregnant with her second daughter, her first (the bride) had not been potty trained yet. The doctor put the fear of God into this poor pregnant woman telling her “you don’t want 2 kids in diapers at the same time” and so she dutifully tried to potty train her daughter even though her daughter just didn’t seem ready to mom.
And there was just so much crying. And it didn’t work at all. And she was pregnant + tired so she gave up potty training until her daughter seemed ready, after the second baby came.
I’m not saying you will avoid crying or you will get it right the first time every time.
Sometimes you will change your mind and decide to change your course. Or decide that what was the wrong decision 3 weeks ago is now the right decision, now that baby is a little older. It’s always up to you because you are the one who pays the consequences.
If you follow your gut and your decision doesn’t work out how you hoped, you learn something as a parent. If you follow someone else’s advice and it doesn’t work out how you hoped, all you learn is to not follow someone else’s advice.
How about you? Are you finding it easy to follow your gut with your new baby or your pregnancy?
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.
I went to New Orleans a few years ago and it was an amazing trip. I hold it up as my gold standard of vacations because I felt so relaxed and happy on the trip, so I was able to take advantage of all the city had to offer, and it was all thanks to a delicious sandwich.
I loved my approach to life on this trip. I want it all the time.
What was most special about this sandwich was how much my hubby & I were looking forward to it. We’re self-proclaimed foodies and were visiting New Orleans during a food festival, so we looked up some of the local cuisine. We were particularly taken by the muffuletta, a sandwich with layers of salami, mozzarella, ham, mortadella, and provolone and marinated olive salad on a muffuletta loaf, which is basically lighter version of foccacia bread. The city was hot & humid. We were disorganized but ambitious and sometimes we’d collapse after overextending ourselves sightseeing and bemoan the things that we weren’t doing on our vacation. We weren’t taking advantage of every moment on the trip! This was our only vacation this year and it cost lot of money & we were waaaaaasting it!
I had thoughts like this when I was pregnant and again when I my son was a few months old (& I still have them now, the little guy changes all the time). “This is my last few days before I’m a mother, or before he can walk (or any of the other things that change about babies) & I’m waaaaaasting it!” People kept telling me to savor this time, and I knew it was a beautifully rare time.
What I know now is that most of your life is a beautifully rare time. When you have a baby, you realize how quickly time is moving because their little bodies and faces change and is that you realize that the time is fleeting, when in reality all time is fleeting.
My time as a newlywed in New Orleans will never happen again and neither will my time as a college freshman living in a dorm room. One of the many gifts my son has given me is opening my eyes to how special and fleeting any moment of my life are – watching him grow and the moments before he came along and the quiet moments I take for myself when I want a break.
It’s silly, but we fall into this trap…
…spending time worrying that we are wasting time or not making the most of some time. I was just talking to my friend who was stressing about her daughter’s first birthday party and how big to make it. She said “but she’ll only turn 1 once!” And that is true. She’ll also only turn 2 once, and 3 once, and 4 once… and she probably won’t remember any of those birthdays as an adult. You will only turn 33 once, and you didn’t even take the day off of work.
It’s not a matter of not falling into the trap, because we all do.
It’s matter of how quickly you can get out of it and go back to enjoying without worrying about if you’re savoring it “enough”.
Just say “muffuletta” and I salivate like Pavlov’s dogs.
While trying to get my travel buddy to pull himself off the park bench pity party he was stuck in I tried baiting him with different things we could go do that afternoon if he would just rally with me. “We could go to the aquarium, go on a carriage ride through the French Quarter, go on a swamp tour and see an alligator, or have a muffuletta.” Muffuletta stuck because we were looking forward to it & although it was new to us, we knew quite a bit about it, enough that we could visualize the experience. The sandwich was such a simple and visceral image. I could imagine what it would be like to take a carriage ride, but it’s a long experience, not like the single uncomplicated moment that you bite into a sandwich. I could just say the word and I could see in his face that he was transported to the positive, hopeful and ready to enjoy the experience mindset when we planned the trip. It was a refresh on his attitude & mindset.
There is SO MUCH to look forward to about your next experiences. So much to look forward to about the rest of your pregnancy (the kicking, the ultrasounds, the fact that you are magically growing a human being!!!). So much to look forward to about the birth (Yes, really, even if you’re dreading it. It’s the most surreal thing I’ve ever experienced and it ends with your first moments holding the little baby that you’ve been waiting for all these months). And so, SO, much about the rest of your lives together: the cuddling, the first steps, the birthday parties, the walks to the park.
So…. what can be your muffuletta?
What are you looking forward to? What can you viscerally feel when you say the words in your head?
I had pretty developed ideas of my son as a little boy playing fetch with our dog, but that’s not a great foothold for mindset refresh since I will be waiting years for that to happen. What ended up being a great mindset refresh for me was imagining 5 teeny tiny fingers closing around my index finger. When I stop and give my brain 2 seconds to close in on that thought I can actually feel the tiny fingers grasping my finger one by one. If I need to, I can slowly close my own fist finger by finger and participate in my imagination. Tell us in the comments below… what is your muffuletta? What experience can you imagine so vividly that will transport you to more open, relaxed, peaceful or happy part of your mind. If you enjoyed this post, subscribe and never miss a thing 😉