Do you have a new mother in your life? A sister, friend, neighbor or daughter? In honor of Mother’s Day yesterday, I thought it’d be nice to “talk” a little about what is helpful and not helpful for these women.
As you interact with a new Mom, be mindful about the words you use. It’s normal for women to feel overwhelmed and insecure about how to take care of a brand new baby. But, that doesn’t mean Mom benefits from advice, not even the great advice that I know many of you readers have. As a general rule, unless a new mom asks for suggestions, don’t offer any. Instead, I’ve made a list of ideas of things you can say. And to help elucidate my point, I’ve included what NOT to say as well.
Do say: I love the way you are holding (feeding/rocking/etc) your baby. Just like a pro.
Do NOT say: This is how I held (fed/rocked/etc) my babies….
Do say: This is a lot to deal with and you’re doing a great job.
Do NOT say: I don’t know how you are dealing with this! What a nightmare.
Do say: I would like to help by ___________ (taking older child to park, going shopping, babysitting a nap, bringing a meal).
Do NOT say: Let me know how I can help.
Do say: You are such a good Mom.
Do NOT say: Are you sure? What about…?
Finally, when Mom expresses worries about just about anything and you think it’s “silly”:
Do say: I’m not worried about that, but it makes sense to me that you are because the baby is so important to you.
Do NOT say: Don’t worry about that! The baby is fine!
And don’t forget. If you are worried about Mom and you don’t think it’s silly at all, she may be one of the many women who suffer from Postpartum depression or anxiety, click here to learn more: http://katefergusontherapy.com/transition-to-motherhood/