New-mom jokes that poke fun at parenting are for the damn birds. As if a hellish pregnancy, painful delivery, and tirelessly caring for a tiny human isn't hard enough, right? You think any new mom wants to hear a joke at her expense? The answer is hell no. I don't care how funny you think you are, how many moms you've tested your material on, or how well-meaning your intent may be. There are too many new-mom jokes that actually make post-baby life harder, and that's not the goal here, people. The goal is to support a woman recovering from childbirth and adjusting to life as a mom.
When I had my first child, I was already swimming — no, drowning — in anxiety and insecurity. I didn't know what in the hell I was doing, but I definitely felt compelled to get it right the first time. Yeah, "get it right the first time" didn't happen. Becoming a mom and caring for another human being every hour of every day wasn't something ingrained in me. I made a lot of mistakes and it felt as though no matter how hard I tried not to do the "wrong" thing, I did the "wrong" thing. It was learning one lesson after another, and that really hasn't changed now that I'm 10 years into this whole parenting thing. One thing that has and probably will always help, though? A good partner. A supportive family. A great doctor. But what didn't and will never help was hearing jokes that poked fun at my insecurities and made me all the more apprehensive when it came to taking care of my newborn.
So, no: your jokes aren't funny, people. New moms don't need another thing to make them feel bad. Believe me. As someone who sometimes struggled to even get out of bed, I didn't need a jab about how my daughter was dressed, or my appearance, or how "funny" it was that I wasn't getting an ounce of rest. I needed support and compassion and help. So with that in mind, here are some of the jokes that really, made my life as anew mom so much harder.
The One About No Sleep
With a new baby in my home sleep was non-existent. So when I heard anyone made a snide comment about how "funny" it is to be a tired new mom, it just made me angry. It's not even a little bit funny to suggest that motherhood means total and complete sacrifice in the name of "doing it right." It's not healthy to tell new mothers that depriving themselves is the only way to be a "good mom."
Believe it or not, getting enough sleep makes being a new mom easier and more enjoyable. In no way should any woman feel the need to annihilate their internal clock in order to be a decent parent.
The One About A Fussy Baby
"Babies are supposed to cry" helps no one because, truly, it depends. Crying signals they need something. So yes, a baby will cry when they're attempting to communicate a want or need, but they're not supposed to cry for significant periods of time when they're newborns. So not once did I break out in laughter when someone said anything along the lines of, "Wow, what did you do to make her so mad?"
Motherhood's not a game, and as a new mom joking about why the baby is crying didn't make me feel better. It made me feel like I was the source of my baby's frustrating. It made me feel like I was failing.
The One About Your Sex Life
Hahaha it's sooo funny to make light of the fact that my partner and I had a difficult time finding our way back to one another after I brought our daughter into the world. The fact that I had postpartum depression (PPD), a long, painful healing process following childbirth, and a demanding newborn that put a damper on our relationship, made the, "Oh man, I guess no sex for you!" jokes far from hysterical. My relationship just had a baby thrown into the mix, so maybe don't make some joke about how that same relationship was "going to die" as the result of becoming a family.
The One About Finding "Balance"
When you've just had a baby, finding some so-called work/life balance isn't possible — and I get it, because I lived it — but I don't need to hear about it. Motherhood is hard enough without someone taking the time to say something condescending like, "By the time your baby graduates, you'll find the time to clean the house!" as if I'm incapable of finding my footing once the dust of new motherhood settles.
The One About Breastfeeding
There's nothing funny about the way you feed your baby. As a new mom who struggled with breastfeeding, I didn't care about the toll it took on my nipples, how someone else's baby eats "like a horse," or literally anything else anyone wanted to say in regards to nursing. Breastfeeding defeated me, and for a long time I felt like a failure because I couldn't make it work. Not once did I laugh when hearing something about breastfeeding "ruining babies" or how jealous my partner must be or whatever other gross remark someone felt it necessary to make.
The One About The Baby Weight
My body doesn't exist for anyone else's viewing pleasure. My body did an incredible thing when it grew and birthed a human. So you can go right ahead and leave your comments about my "giant" pants, and jokes asking if I'm "pregnant again," to your damn self. I will not be made to feel worse for simply existing.
The One About Postpartum Depression
There's nothing funny about going through postpartum depression, whether you have a clinical diagnosis or realize you were silently struggling long after the fact. It doesn't matter how often a new mom cries, how depressed she looks all the time, or how overwhelmed you jokingly tell her she seems to be. Never, ever, ask her to smile. Instead, support her in getting the help she needs.
The One About Loving Every Minute Of New Motherhood
"Better enjoy every moment now, because before you know it they'll be off in the real world and living on their own." Really? I mean, I just had a baby, am questioning how bad of a job I'm doing, and definitely don't enjoy every moment. You really think I need to have my feelings diminished? Girl, bye.
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