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.”
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.