in the childless past. This also applies to in-town grandparents who think it’s okay to drop in on the new family, with no intention of doing any chores or helping. Not helpful: “We’re going to swing by in a bit to meet the baby!” This is the cruelest thing you can do to a new mom, especially if you come empty handed. The house is a mess, I JUST got the baby down for a nap or I have full tits out trying to feed her and really don’t want everyone to just “swing by” on a whim to share their germs with my newborn or overstay their welcome or, heaven forbid, need me to entertain them. Big one is don’t come to my home and tell me to change my routine to make you more comfortable in the days after I just gave birth and had an extended hospital stay with my premature son. Instead let’s have a conversation about what I need and options for us to both be comfortable that aren’t more taxing on me. Rearranging my kitchen during your five days stay, folding laundry different than how we are used to after being asked multiple times to not do the laundry and telling the neighbors the baby is “yours” when they ask. Just tell them you are his grandparent. “While you’re up will you get me ‘xyz’”- when I’m oneweek post-partum and my MIL invades my space and doesn’t help and expects me to wait on her. I was up getting myself water after she refused to get it for me. Any advice or “buck up” reply after begging for help or opening up about having a hard time. A simple “your right that sucks” or “your right that sounds difficult to experience”. Or “go nap/eat/ shower/get your nails done and I’ll pick up/fold laundry/cook some freezer meals/do dishes” would’ve been nice when my MIL & SIL ‘visited’ when our baby was 1 week old, and I was still having uterine contractions that took my breath away. Helpful: “I’m here to ACTUALLY help you. I stocked up the fridge and freezer, and I’m going to go clean your kitchen.” - My mom took full charge of keeping our house clean and had three meals a day, plus snacks, ready to go for all of us. She knew we wanted 36
to bond with the baby and made sure we had a clean/calm environment and sustenance to help us focus just on the kiddo. My mom and mother-inlaw cooked and did the dishes for weeks, along with some tidying and laundry, after my babies were born (they took turns staying with us). When my babies would not sleep on anything but a person, my mom would sit in the nursery holding a sleeping baby for hours so I could shower, nap, etc. The best thing my mom ever said to me when I was going through a lot of issues with my first (breastfeeding, sleeping, etc.) and was not in a good mental place was “I know this is so, so hard, but remember that now you have a daughter for the rest of your life”. It helped put things in perspective without downplaying my feelings. Grocery shopping, bringing water while I pump/feed, cleaning the kitchen while we were in the hospital. Being respectful of masking up and covering clothes with a receiving 37
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