The first few weeks post-birth are painful, exhausting, tense, and emotional. When you try to navigate those weeks with a partner, sometimes they know just what to say to make you feel supported and loved. Other times, well, they just don't. We're all human so we all make mistakes, to be sure, but make no mistake about it: there are things every loving partner never says postpartum.
Recovering from childbirth is no joke. It actually takes a lot of energy just to remain upright and keep your baby (and yourself) alive. The last thing you need is to hear comments about your weight or your body. When you are postpartum, sleep-deprived, and likely doubting your abilities as a mom, you don't need to hear more doubts from someone else, either, and especially not from your partner. It also gets seriously old when your partner tells you the baby is crying every single time the baby happens to make a noise. I mean, if they can hear the baby crying, they are perfectly able to get off their ass and diagnose the problem. Also, never wake a postpartum mom, unless the baby needs something you can't provide, or it's actually her turn. Seriously.
I love my husband. He is a great partner and a great dad. Turns out, though, that even loving partners put their feet in their mouths once in a while. The good news is this is perfectly normal. Your partner can't possibly understand what's going on with you, and they are probably tired and stressed out, too. That said, there are some things they just shouldn't say, including the following:
"Wow, You Still Look Pregnant!"
My now ex-husband said this to me and it didn't feel very good. Like, at all.
I mean, I get it to a certain extent. I was surprised by my postpartum belly, too. Why didn't anyone tell me I would look pregnant for a few days after childbirth? But, seriously, comments about my body are not welcome, unless you are telling me how amazing it is. I mean, I did just grow a human.
"Is That All You Are Going To Do Today?"
We have got to stop expecting new moms to immediately bounce back, lose the baby weight, and run marathons as soon as they leave the hospital. Childbirth is hard work, and recovering from childbirth takes more than a few days. Comments about how messy the house is, or the fact that I only fed and snuggled the baby all day long, are unwelcome. Caring for myself and my baby is literally my full-time job when I'm postpartum.
Ummm, I should ask you the same question. Where is dinner? I was too busy recovering from freaking childbirth to cook. Asking me to cook, too, is pretty unreasonable.
"Why Aren't You Happy?"
Postpartum hormones are no joke. I can't just make myself feel happy because you want me to. That's not how this works, people. Add postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety to the mix, and I needed help to feel OK. What I didn't need was to hear comments about my mood.
"I Need A Vacation"
My now ex-husband went on a trip with his buddy when our second child was just 3-week-old. I am not joking. I wish I could just take a vacation from my life when things get hard, too. But, loving partners just don't say that when you are recovering from childbirth, and they don't actually take one until you both agree that you can handle it.
"Can We Have Sex Now?"
The only thing I want to do in bed the first few of weeks postpartum is sleep. After that, my desire for postpartum sex is highly dependent on my partner refusing to say stupid sh*t. You would think this would have motivated him to think before he spoke, or, I don't know, say something nice. Nope.
"Can You Cover Up?"
No, if breastfeeding in my own damn house, or anywhere for that matter, makes you uncomfortable, you can go ahead and cover up. Let me feed my baby in peace.
"The Baby Is Crying"
And? I mean, that baby is your baby, too, so what are you going to do about it? Your hearing seems just fine, and I know your legs work. I am not going to play a game of chicken with my partner about who will get out of bed to get the baby. It's so infuriating.
"Are You Even Trying To Lose Weight?"
My body is mine. I don't exist for the male gaze, and that includes my partner's. Besides, I don't ever make comments about my partner's weight, ever. It's just not nice. Me being postpartum doesn't make it OK to make comments about mine.
"You Look Tired"
I don't just look tired. I am tired. I am so damn tired it physically hurts, and I am getting pretty tired of bullsh*t comments. I just grew a human and am trying to recover, while learning how to be someone's mom and not getting any damn sleep. Besides, saying I look tired is really just another way of saying I look like crap, and that is not something a loving partner says. Next time try, "Do you want to take a nap?" I promise it will go over much better.