The things we learn…
In general, people are known for saying things which don’t make sense or sometimes are just plain stupid. Everyone is guilty of saying something which will cause a very significant head shake at least once in their lives. At least once. Even I’m guilty of it, though right off the top of my head, I can’t think of what it would be. (This would not be the time for my husband to chime into the comments and remind me…) But, off the top of my head, I can think of some things which a new dad (even one who has been through this before) should probably never say to a new mom. (Real life examples: though thankfully not all of them are my personal ones.)
1.) Don’t ever ever compare being kicked in the you know whats as painful as childbirth, especially if she has given birth recently and it’s still fresh in her mind. If you are lucky, the only response she will have for you is “Sure, it is. But let me kick you in the balls for 24 hours straight, like the length of labor.”
2.) If your wife has just delivered your child, worked the day of her labor, stayed up 28 straight hours and asks you if you would mind bringing the baby from his little bed to nurse, please don’t tell her you are tired. I’m not saying that you aren’t tired and the event hasn’t been stressful on you, but remember that she has just had a baby.
3.) Also, when asked to do something to help out (like bring the baby from the bed) in the following days of exhaustion, don’t use the phrase “Well, you are the mom. I can’t feed him!” I have a feeling that copious amounts of coffee will help keep the father alert enough not to say too many of these phrases.
4.) If she hasn’t showered in a couple of days, don’t tell her she stinks. Instead, a better solution might be to offer to take the baby and give her at least 10 minutes of privacy for the shower. Believe me, those ten minutes will feel like a lifetime to her. Well, maybe to you too (though not as positive as her experience) if your child is still adjusting to life outside the womb and is screaming like a banshee. Just remember, that’s probably a majority of her day too.
5.) Don’t ever ask her in a condescending way “Well, what did you do all day? Because I had to work.” Believe me, keeping your sanity while trying to control the ridiculous hormones and keep the baby alive and not screaming (not even going to aim for happy.. just not shrieking) is a very difficult job.
6.) If you see the vein popping out in her forehead because she doesn’t know what to make for dinner, perhaps come back with takeout. But don’t mention the vein, that might lead to a much bigger breakdown than you can imagine.
7.) Realize that at least once, she’s probably going to be convinced that she’s a horrible mother. This might be because she couldn’t get the baby to eat enough, or sleep enough, or just had one thought of how peaceful her life was before the baby came along. If she confides in you, don’t tell her perhaps she shouldn’t have thought that or even said it out loud, but reminder her that all mom’s feel this way at least once in their lives. (Heck, I think I say it at least once a day) And perhaps bring her a glass of wine.
8.) Above all (and this is to both new parents) remember to stick together and appreciate one another. Getting into a contest over who did more is often going to lead to more problems than it’s worth. Remember, you are going through sleep deprivation (a tactic that military uses to torture for information!) and it’s enough to drive anyone to saying “Wow, I’d thought you wouldn’t look so pregnant after you had the baby.” Stick together! This little adorable creature is always going to be devising new ways of testing your boundaries and you are going to love
every almost most of the minutes of it.