My daughter recently celebrated her first birthday. It was significant for many reasons; some, of course, were very personal. When I finally took time to contemplate my own journey of motherhood, I immediately thought of all the amazing memories filled with happiness and the abundance of love, but I also couldn't help but remember some of the hardships I endured as a new mother.
As a first-time parent, I faced some normal challenges including trying to create boundaries in my personal life, for my daughter and for my little family of three (plus pup.)
At various times, I found it difficult to deal with opinions of others. I still don't understand, and may never will, why a new baby brings out many unwarranted judgments and beliefs. If you are loosely, even somewhat of an expert, I will probably welcome your opinion. However, if you haven't been around a child in decades, I, and others in my shoes, may find some of your thoughts to be questioning.
Here is my list of top 10 comments that were said by people that would be considered to be in my "inner-circle." Of course, some of these comments were discussed after they left the anonymous lips, amongst trusted confidants. It was somewhat comforting to find that most new moms I talked to had a similar list.
1. "Get over yourself. We all did it without our mom's help."
Actually, in your era, the village did raise a child (or children.) But since you're my grandma, I'll let this comment slide.
*She would not care that I'm giving her up.
2. "We never had a sleep or feed schedule and they turned out just fine."
Your decade also thought it was ok to smoke cigarettes and pot, drink cocktails, eat processed food, etc., while pregnant. I am happy for advancements.
*These comments are also by the same people who continually say I am "so blessed" to have such a well-behaved child. Although I feel blessed every single moment of every day, I do think my husband's and my parenting abilities (including her schedule) have at least something to do with her behavior.
3. "Who is watching the baby monitor?"
Once, someone asked me in a grandiose tone who was watching my daughter's baby monitor. I absolutely lost it. The same person who has tirelessly watched the monitor over the last six months, usually all through the night without getting much sleep: me.
*I told him how I annoyed I was by his comment and we hugged it out. Everyone makes mistakes.
4. "You have changed."
This was one of the hardest situations, especially as it was said, at different times, by two of the most important people in my life. Yes, I have changed. I carried a baby for nine months, then became a mother. And, if you love me and think something is wrong, please do something about it. Postpartum depression is a very serious, lonely and scary thing. But also realize that becoming a mother changes a woman's entire being. (At least, it should.)
*It is important to note that this was said by two people that have never had children, yet I still think it was selfish. Although I am starting to feel like a better version of myself again (because that's what my daughter has done for me) it was still difficult.
5. "She is too attached to you."
Well, this is actually not a bad thing. It would be odd if she wasn't attached to her mother or if she was too attached to a grandparent, nanny, etc. A baby attached to her mother is a natural and beautiful thing.
6. "She looks like you, but don't tell 'XX,' she would be upset."
Someone might be so upset that my child looks more like me than she looks like my husband? Wow.
7. "It looks bad when you're not in the pictures or on video chat."
So, the few minutes I get per day where I am not holding my daughter, I now should be worried because it appears that I'm not around, which makes me look like an inadequate mom?
*Please God, I pray my daughter is not surrounded by judgmental or naïve people throughout her life. Please guide me to raise a strong woman.
8. "What's her social security number so I can start a bank account for her?"
I'm sorry that we haven't set up a college fund fast enough as some would like. First though, please tell me about your child's college fund/bank account.
*This was definitely said in a light and caring tone. But, still...
9. "What have you accomplished this year, besides having a baby?"
This was said clearly by someone who has not endured a pregnancy nor given birth or taken care of a newborn. This is an accomplishment worthy of at least two years.
10. "Who do you think loves her more, me or you?"
This was the most appalling comment by far, especially for a sleep-deprived new mother to hear and try to process. Please note, these were not my husband's words.
What do you think?