10 Times You Can Choose to Affirm a New Mom Part 1
I felt inspired to write this because--plainly and simply--many people don't know what to say to a new mom, so they choose to simply regurgitate something they've heard before. Unfortunately, this is almost always unhelpful. I've discovered a lot of support and encouragement through the company of other moms. Their affirmations are almost always helpful. So I thought I'd write down some situations I and other moms I know have encountered and the helpful and kind words people have given us.
1. When she announces her pregnancy.
Try not to say: "I knew it!" or "I thought so". It's a nice notion to want her to know that your intuition is up to par. She could take this as you saying you thought she looked pregnant (usually by the time she announces she still isn't really showing) so it can be hurtful. Even if that's not the case, the fact is, you didn't know until she chose to tell you.
Instead say: "Congratulations!" or "what a great blessing!" Babies are a huge blessing. Speak positively to her about her pregnancy. After all, she is already pregnant, the deed has been done. Speaking negatively about children or pregnancy is not only unhelpful but it is unnecessary,
**Side note: If she chooses to tell you earlier than twelve weeks, don't shame her for it. I told someone around 8 weeks and their response was "Are you sure you want to tell me this? Not all pregnancies make it" While that is a true fact, it is unhelpful and even hurtful. Firstly, we should not stigmatize miscarriage as a silent grief. Secondly, the last thing a pregnant woman wants to hear is how a baby did not make it. It's her biggest fear at this point.
2. Around her baby shower time
Try not to say: "You look huge" or "better get sleep now while you can" These are unhelpful. Most women feel huge already and the reminder isn't needed. Many pregnant women have a really tough time sleeping, so this not only shows that you may not have a good pulse on the situation, but also you are speaking negatively about her life to come. Choose to speak positively to her about it.
Instead, say: "You look great!" "Your bump is adorable" "You are glowing!" or "You're going to be such a great mom" or "You already are such a great mom" If you don't think she looks great, better to not say anything. But these are some nice words that are flattering to her looks and also helpful, positive affirmations of motherhood.
3. When her baby is born
Try not to say: "Was it natural?" "Is he/she a good baby?" These are potentially not helpful because all babies are natural. & if you're not close enough to them to say "vaginal" then you're not close enough to ask that question. All babies are good! Some sleep more than others. She might not want to forget about it and talk about something else for a while.
Instead say: "Congratulations!" "Your baby is so cute!" "How can I help you?" "How have you been?" and then if she shares that it's been difficult try saying "hang in there" "it'll get better" "you got this!" "you're doing great!" and again "How can I help?"
4. When it looks like she has her hands full
Try not to say: "You have your hands full" This is unhelpful as it only states the obvious. Speak positively about her life!
Instead say: "What a beautiful family!" "It's great to see families out and about" "Can I help you..."
5. When she looks overwhelmed
Try not to say: "You look overwhelmed" or go off on a long story about someone you know who was overwhelmed.
Instead say: "You're doing great!" "How have you been?" "You're doing what's best for your baby"
Stay tuned for part 2 !