10 important rules of meeting a new mom.
I had always loved having friends and folks around. I have cherished their company the laughter and light they bring into my life. They seemed to have sparked joy in me. I was looking forward to their visits once my baby was born. I thought their visits would take my mind off the rigour of sleepless nights and help me unwind for a bit.
A lot of our friends were understanding enough to know how to deal with a new mother. But for a few, it wasn’t the case. There was a lot of unnecessary advice and comments that I wasn’t expecting. Few of their comments were enough to dampen my spirits.
Don’t comment on a new mother’s weight:
First things first, a new mother is supposed to put on weight during her pregnancy. It is completely normal and necessary for the well being of both mother and the baby. Commenting on a new mother’s weight is unwarranted and cruel.
Also, please refrain from advising her to lose weight right away. She is aware of her new body and most probably not comfortable with it. The poor woman is sleep deprived and groggy. Weight loss advice is the last thing she needs at the moment.
I was supposed to hold my head in shame because I opted for a C-section. The amount of tch-tch I got because I missed out on
normal vaginal delivery. It’s fine if I have a stitch on my belly but few of the folks felt as if my baby’s DNA is changed somehow.
I have no interest in knowing how glorious your
normal vaginal delivery was. I am happy for you that you get to birth to your baby the way you want but it’s not a free pass to put me down because just because I had a C-section.
Comments on the baby’s skin color or weight:
Why is baby not fair? she not chubby is she? Why doesn’t your baby look like you or the father?
A new baby looks like a potato if you haven’t noticed. Pink potato to be precise. A baby’s skin color is what it gets from the mother or father. Babies, miraculously don’t become fair just because you ate a certain food or drank that magical concoction.
It’s very rude to advise a new mom of all sorts of home remedies (dadi ma ke nuskhe) to make her baby fair. Apply sandalwood paste, turmeric paste et al. In a country like ours, this happens more often if the baby is a girl child. This is 2021, can we get over the skin colour obsession, please?
Don’t kiss the baby, will you?
I know you are tempted to kiss a newborn. We all are. They are irresistibly cute after all. But as adults, we have a million germs and infections on us that we are not aware of. By kissing these new bundles of joys, we are simply exposing them to all of these. It’s not responsible behaviour, is it?
And now that we are living amidst a global pandemic, the usage of hand sanitizer should be a norm before meeting a newborn.
When is the next baby?
Folks advised us to start saving for gold/ schemes for my daughter’s marriage. She was barely a week’s old. People disguise such sexist remarks under the tag of well-wishers. Now that I have a daughter all I should think of is her future wedding where I am suppose to drown her in a copious amount of gold.
Also, now that my firstborn is a girl, I will certainly be going for a second baby, otherwise, how would my family be complete without a baby boy? This baby boy obsession is still prevalent in our society irrespective of how educated people seem to be.
Take something for the mother as well.
As per the culture, I come from, we are not supposed to see a newborn empty-handed. It’s always something of a gift, baby hampers, clothing and the likes. But I have rarely seen folks buying gifts for the mother. It all becomes about the baby and the mother somehow is left out.
A little bit of pampering of the mother, a gift card from a salon, restaurant or online shopping will certainly make her feel good.
Do offer to drop off some food:
Not everyone has the luxury to have a mother/family member staying with them after the delivery. It would be good if you can drop off some food for the family. It would take the pressure of cooking from the new mom/ the caretaker and allow them the extra hours of rest, even if it is just for one night.
Listen to the new mother(stories and struggles).
Being a new mother is a different state of mind. I went from the phases of excitement, frustration and nervousness in a span of a single day.
I wanted to share my birth story with everyone. I wanted to check with them if breastfeeding is always this difficult. I wanted to share with them my days when I felt like a total failure and if they felt the same. I wanted someone to listen to me.
It should not the other way round. Nobody like free advice, refrain from offering any.
Ask before clicking a selfie or posting a picture online.
Many women love clicking selfies and have no problem posting them. While few of the moms believe in nazar, dristi (evil eyes) and may not be comfortable with you clicking selfies or posting them. Do ask for their permission before you chose to do so.
Follow the new mom rules, no questions asked:
Last but not least, do follow the new mother and her rules, no questions asked. It doesn’t matter how much you know of life or experienced you are in raising kids. Let a mother follow her instincts and respect her boundaries and opinions.
The same way you would expect someone else to abide by your way of lifestyle.