As a mom with a baby, I am tired AF. And by "tired," I mean, "I haven't really slept more than a couple of hours in a row since my third trimester," tired. It's the, "I'm completely fed up with people's unrealistic expectations and incessant questions about my body, my birth, or my baby" kind of tired. I, for one, would like to heal without having to answer the intrusive, presumptive, and insensitive questions people think are OK to ask. Honestly, there are so many questions moms recovering from childbirth are tired of hearing, and I have heard them all.
I just had my third baby, and since I've already done the postpartum life thing before, you would think I would remember how hard recovering from childbirth would be. Nope. The truth is, I still feel lost at times and a ton of pressure to do everything perfectly (which is totally impossible, by the way). And it's all made worse by people's constant questions.
Am I still breastfeeding? Nope, my baby has food protein allergies and I have undersupply, not that I should have to explain that to strangers.
Have I lost the baby weight, yet? Nope, but thanks for bringing that up. I definitely wasn't worried about my weight-loss struggles until today, at this very moment when you felt the need to make a comment about my body. Seriously, would you ask a stranger who didn't just have a baby if they are trying to lose weight? Probably not.
Is your baby sleeping through the night? I'm not even going to respond to that question, because I am too tired to speak.
The moment you have a baby, the countdown starts for you to go back to being you. The trouble, of course, is that everything changes when you have a baby, so the chances of you getting "back to normal" again are about as high as getting a full night's sleep. In other words: it's not going to happen. Recovering from childbirth is a big deal. So, while us moms are doing this seriously hard thing, we would appreciate it if people would stop asking so many questions:
"Is That All You Did Today?"
Let me see, I grew a human in my body while struggling through 40 weeks (more or less) of hyperemesis gravidarum, prenatal depression, back pain, and peeing myself anytime I sneezed. Then I pushed that baby out of my vagina (my poor, poor vagina). Now, I am expected to care for that baby, feed them, and stay up all night. At the same time, people expect me to lose the baby weight, clean my house, go back to work, and put on real clothes. Nope. My only job is caring for this baby and keeping both of us alive. That alone deserves a high five, so anything else is icing on the cake.
"Did You Deliver Naturally?"
I hate this question. I wish it would die in a fire. I mean, honestly, why do you care? It feels like you are implying that "natural" birth (by which you mean an unmedicated, vaginal birth) is better than other births. It's just not. Also, people who get epidurals or have C-sections did not fail at birth. Birth is badass, no matter how it went down. I need to recover now, not answer questions about the way I brought my child into the world, or worse, feel like I have to defend how I gave birth.
By the way, my epidural was freaking magical — just what I needed to have a healthy baby — not a sign of failure at all.
"Are You Breastfeeding?"
No, I'm not breastfeeding. No, I actually don't owe you any explanations as to why not. How about this? I will explain my medical history, breastfeeding struggles, and my baby's food allergies, if you tell me about your last orgasm? What? That's personal? Exactly.
As a mom who struggled with undersupply, it hurts when people ask me if I am breastfeeding or make me feel like I have to tell my breastfeeding saga to perfect strangers. It's really none of their business, and it almost always ends with them asking me to justify my choices. Just don't.
"Is Your Baby A Good Baby?"
Newborns are pretty much adorable potatoes who eat, sleep, cry, and poop. We shouldn't expect much from them, and there's really no such thing as a "bad baby." Is your baby a baby? Then, they are a good baby.
"Did You Tear?"
There you go again with questions about my vagina (and labia and perineum). Could you not? Besides, as a new mom I have pretty much lost all sense of shame about my body. So if you ask me this particular question, you risk me describing it in detail or showing you my stitches. You should probably stop and ask yourself: do you really want to know?
"Have You Lost The Baby Weight, Yet?"
No, and honestly I might not lose the baby weight — now or ever. That's OK. My worth as a human doesn't require achieving a certain weight or fitting into my pre-pregnancy jeans. No matter how many pictures you see of celebrities on Instagram with flat stomachs five days postpartum, or losing all of the baby weight within weeks of going home from the hospital, for most of us that's not reality.
"When Are You Going Back To Work?"
I get that you think you are making small talk, but the last thing I want to think about right now is going back to work. Besides, when you ask this question, you really have no idea what's going on in a new mom's life. She might not get enough maternity leave, she might have lost her job, she might want to go back to work as soon as humanly possible, or she might not be returning to work at all. You just don't know, so don't ask.
"Are You Interested In A Weight Loss Product I Sell?"
Not only do I think that multi-level marketing schemes are unethical and predatory, but I know they aren't likely to work. Besides, trying to sell me something for weight loss right now, kind of implies that you have "a problem" with my postpartum body. Just stop.
"When Are You Having Another Baby?"
Never. The answer is never. At least, I hope not. Besides, this one I just gave birth to is literally brand new. I get that my baby is perfect and adorable, and you think I should make a dozen more just like him, but the thought of being pregnant again right now is goddamn terrifying.
"Why Aren't You Happy?"
"Is Your Baby Sleeping Through The Night?"
Now that's just mean. It's not as if I have a say in how much or how little my baby sleeps. If I did, I would totally be getting more sleep. Trust me. Besides, my baby is learning how to be a human, and I am learning how to be his mom. Give us some time to figure things out.
In the meantime, how about you wait for me to brag about his sleep, rather than bringing up what's likely to be a sore subject?
Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.