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.

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

The Shame is Real

I see you there. You read the title and started nodding vigorously. Anyone identifying as a parent has been shamed at some point in their quest for survival and joy.

Here is an exhausting list of things parents get shamed for. It's okay to laugh.

...then sigh. And remember, live and let live. We're all on the same team here.

  • Having an epidural

  • Having an emergency or elected C-section

  • Having a home birth

  • Having or acquiring a baby any kind of way

  • Not losing weight fast enough after birth

  • Losing weight too quickly

  • Dropping a bite of guac on the baby's head while you desperately try to eat your first meal in 12 hours.

  • Breastfeeding in public

  • Breastfeeding for over a year

  • Pumping at work

  • Breastfeeding at all

  • Formula feeding

  • Bottle Feeding any liquid

  • Not picking your baby up fast up enough when they're crying

  • Not letting your baby cry for a minute before picking them up

  • Holding your baby as they fall asleep

  • Putting your baby down, swaddled, to sleep

  • Nursing your baby to sleep

  • Not dressing your baby warm enough in the winter or cool enough in the summer

  • Not putting a towel on your baby fast enough after a bath.

  • Bringing your baby out in public too soon because you needed groceries

  • Not having a partner

  • Having a partner, but they're not standing right next to you at the moment

  • Having a child whose gender is too hard to guess

  • Having a child whose name is too “weird”

  • Having breasts

  • Not having breasts

  • Having a body with limbs and moving blood.

  • Breathing

Did I miss anything? Of course I did!

But seriously— be kind to yourself. You’re doing great, ok?