When People Stop Asking About Mom

The baby is out of your body.

You both survived—are thriving even—and your loved ones have stopped asking about you.

The question you get now is a version of “How is baby?” on repeat.

Maybe you get the “How are you” from a kind distant relative who isn’t sure what to ask, and you don’t believe they are looking for an honest answer.

The most common question you get directed to yourself, mom, is the kind of question that is designed to get information about your parenting style and not you— the “Are you breastfeeding baby?” “Are you staying home or going to send your baby to daycare?” “Are you letting the baby cry it out?” The kind of questions that incite very strong feelings of judgement. The kind of questions you don’t have to answer, not from family or coworkers.

These are questions very deeply engrained in our culture, but what if we shifted our mindset?

What if we trusted mothers?

We don’t need to mine moms about how they feed and put their children to sleep.

Trust that mothers know their babies best.

So what can you do, when you can’t change society or the people around you?

You can respond to these questions in a way that takes a stand.

“Mary, I appreciate your concern about how our baby sleeps. Our baby is sleeping biologically normal for her age.”

“Mary, you seem very concerned about how our baby is sleeping, but she’s in very good hands in this loving family.”

Be honest

Honesty seems hard to come by in the digital era, where we mostly post happy pictures. It’s ok to answer someone’s question honestly when they seem to care about baby and not you—especially close family. In fact, I encourage you to do so. “Mary, the baby is just fine. Thank you for being concerned with her. I am having a kind of rough time, however. I know you didn’t ask, but it feels good to share that.”

Ask other moms how they are doing without judgement and without giving advice

This one is harder than it seems. Just ask another mom how she is doing and listen. You don’t have to offer any advice. In fact, you really shouldn’t unless someone asks you. Remember all the unsolicited advice you got when you were pregnant? Yeah, you remember now. You probably didn’t love it.

When people stop asking about mom, it sends the message that mom doesn’t matter.

Let’s change that.

How Friendships Change When You Become a Parent and What to do about it

For my entire life, I have valued relationships deeply. I’ve had life-long childhood friends I’ve kept in contact with, college friends who I did most of my personal growth with, graduate school friends I’ve commiserated with, work friends, friends to drink beer with, and above-all else—new mom friends that understand the struggles I experience in a way that I perhaps thought my former friends could not.

None of these friends receive(d) equal time from me. Instead, I found myself wandering between friendships because each one gave me something I needed in a moment of time.

Something shifted recently and that has all changed. A friend I cherish the most reached out and said he felt like I had cut him out of my life.

Did I?

Through the process of becoming a mother, balancing being a supportive wife, and hard working employee, I had unintentionally cut him out of my life.

Which is to say my precious time was spent for me instead of by me.

Instead of meaningfully choosing what I did with my time, I spent it going grocery shopping, putting Ivy to bed, showing up at work early for a training, putting toys into a bin just to be pulled out again, doing laundry when I didn’t need to, complaining about it, staring at my phone mindlessly until minutes passed without me realizing. This

He sent me a podcast that encouraged me to think differently about my time and relationships, and I want to share it below because it changed me.

With the ever-increasing online persona we manager and decreasing in-person contact, it is harder than ever to be in control of how we spend our time and energy and with whom. It’s exponentially harder when you have a newborn and people don't realize in what ways your priorities have shifted.

So I have a few tips below I have summarized from the podcast.

  1. Decide how much time you have

    How much time do you have between feeding baby and putting baby down? How much time do you have to yourself after work (whatever it is you do besides being a mother) and putting the baby to sleep? Do you have three hours at night or in the morning or one?

  2. Who are the most important people to you and what are the most important activities?

    This can be family and friends or maybe just friends, if you have cut toxic family members out of your life. Who are the top ten people in your life? Why are they there? Do a little introspection and ask yourself, “how much time am I giving the ones I love and it is enough?” As an example, I decided on three people I most love and have been neglecting, and I decided how I wanted to communicate with them going forward.

  3. Set boundaries

    Great, I know who I want to spend time with. Now what? STOP overextending yourself by doing a lot of extra activities you don’t want to. Feel obligated to go to every single birthday party, happy hour, work event? Stop. Reclaim your time. Plan that trip with your sister. Ask your college friend over for dinner. The rest can go on hold.

  4. Communicate those boundaries

    Y’all. I’m not going to lie—this part is hard as hell. Most of us hate conflict and don’t know what to do when it happens. Hello, hi, this is me. Share those boundaries with the people you are prioritizing and those you are not. This could be as simple as, “Hi, Sara. I'm sorry I’ve not communicated better. Parenting a newborn has been hard in a way I wasn’t anticipating. Can we get together and talk about what our friendship looks like now that I’m a mom?” OR "Kennedy, we haven’t talked in a while, and I think that’s going to continue. I am prioritizing what’s important to me right now, and I want to spend the few moments I have with my family more. Can we talk about this?” These conversations are best in person, as the podcast suggests.


Processing Your Birth

Birth is not just a physical event. As our bodies heal in the following months from delivery, so do our minds.

There is much to process after baby is born. We continue to process our pregnancy, the stages of labor, delivery (and sometimes the complications that we associate), the journey to feed our baby-- all while our bodies heal, hormones shift, and sleep deprivation sets in (and we mentally process that too! We’re amazing).

The best way to evolve through this complex experience is through talking to someone who is equipped to listen and (when necessary, which is not all the time) provide insight.

Depending on the complexity, us doulas will sometimes refer families to a doctor. We do this when we recognize signs of anxiety, OCD, and depression. I most often see these when a mom has not had the opportunity to process her birth or there remains unresolved feelings of inadequacies, failure, isolation, and disappointment—anything outside of the normal baby blues.

To squash these feelings before they happen (and sometimes talking is enough prevention), It's important to schedule time with a postpartum doula.

The benefits to scheduling time to process your birth

  • Resolves feelings of inadequacies and failure

  • Let's you be heard and not judged

  • Allows you to gain valuable insight into ways/options you can heal (rebirth, skin to skin, etc)

  • Could potentially free you of negative feelings attached to delivery

What that time looks like varies from client to client. To learn more, give the Modern Doula a call.

new mom and baby