Typically, a newborn brings about immense joy to the new mum. However, this joy comes with a myriad of other emotions due to the new adjustments in life. Days and a couple of weeks after the birth of a child a new mum is still healing, learning the baby’s communication cues and readjusting normal routines. Some new mums have it harder than others due to several issues. Some babies are colicky and cry so much that it is not uncommon to see a new mum crying out of frustration.
The announcement of a baby’s birth leads family, friends and colleagues to naturally want to visit the new mum and child. While many mean well while making conversation with the new mum, some questions are quite insensitive. Here are a couple of questions that you might want to rethink before asking a new mum.
Is it a boy or a girl?
Newborns tend to look alike especially in the early days. Additionally, with the current trends of naming kids, it can be difficult to identify the baby’s gender from the name. While you might think, it’s polite to ask the gender, this question can be very offensive. It’s even worse if you use the incorrect pet name on a child. For example, calling a girl ‘lil papa’ because you think the baby looks like a boy. You could also guess from the colour of clothes but many modern mums are colour neutral. Gone are the days when pink was the colour for baby girls’ clothes or blue for boys. Mums mix it up and this might not be a good criterion to determine the gender.
Instead of guessing or asking the gender of the baby, just wait and you will know in the course of the interaction. Alternatively, ask one of the people you visited the newborn with. Don’t ask the new mum since she could have her own insecurities and is still quite sensitive emotionally.
Did you give birth naturally?
Unless you are a close friend, this is probably none of your business. The issue of vaginal birth and C-section is touchy for many mums. Some mums feel like ‘failures’ for having a C-section. Others feel like admitting to having a vaginal birth makes people think about their sex life after the birth. Either way, you are likely to make the new mum uncomfortable so avoid the question altogether.
Some people will outright ask this question right after the birth of a child of a particular gender. It could be that the mum has more girls and they ask when she intends to try for a boy or vice versa. This question is wrong for several reasons.
First of all, the timing is wrong. The new mum just had a baby so another one is the last thing on their mind at that time. Secondly, the mum could have been trying for another gender and so they are struggling with the issue mentally. Another reason is that you don’t know the new mum’s gender preference. She could be one of those mums who do not care about children’s gender.
This question could elicit or reveal a string of issues depending on who asks it. For example, if a mother-in-law asks this, it might send wrong signals to the new mum.
Do you still have time for your partner?
Unless you are close to the new mum, this question is simply nosy. Families are different. The new mum could be a single mother with lots of bitterness towards the baby daddy. It could also be that a couple is struggling with adjusting to life with a newborn in their relationship. If a new mother wants to discuss this topic with you, they will bring it up. Otherwise, keep off the issue.
(Rolls eyes) This is probably the most insensitive question to ask a new mum. A mum with a newborn is concentrating on the baby and this part of life takes a back seat temporarily. Additionally, even without childbirth vaginas change over the years. Avoid the question because it will result in an awkward moment for all of you.
Are you trying to lose weight already?
Weight gain is a natural process during pregnancy and after childbirth. The intention behind this question can rub the mum wrongly. Are you insinuating that she is too fat? Should she compromise her baby’s welfare for a fit look? Let the new mother focus on taking care of the new baby without making her self-conscious.
Discussions with new moms require careful thinking especially if you are not that close with the person. She is still hormonal hence emotionally sensitive. It’s best to let the new mother introduce sensitive topics. Try to stick to neutral baby and life topics during the visit of a newborn.
Maureen Rita is a writer, creative and poet who focuses on issues that affect women, relationships and wellness. I’m constantly exploring the complexities of human experiences and I often challenge societal norms. I also love discovering African music, films, and art. You can
also check out my website on Home, Living and Productivity - www.kallistead.com.