Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Mother
I’ve already blogged about Pumpkin (new baby’s new blog nickname, as suggested by Grandma) and his struggle with weight. But this post began writing itself at the baby clinic this afternoon, right after a comment from another Mum which made me flinch inside.
Whilst I was pregnant (during each pregnancy, as it happens), I got lots of comments about my bump, mainly about how huge it was. There isn’t always time to say to the speaker that you have gestational diabetes and therefore have a bigger bump and the bigger baby will lose the excess water when they’re born and anyway it’s really none of their business. Sometimes it’s quicker and easier to
punch them smile and move on. I don’t understand why people don’t understand that comments about bumps and babies may not be helpful and might be hurtful.
Here are some of the things that have been said to me during my pregnancy with Pumpkin, and about him since he was born.
- Woah, you’re huge. Are you sure you’re not having twins/triplets/an elephant
- Don’t give birth at my checkout will you? (With 3 months still to go)
- I wouldn’t want to be you when that baby is born
Just after he was born:
- Ooh, he’s a little bruiser isn’t he?
- Wow, look at how big he is compared to [my delicate little baby]
- Blimey, what have you been feeding him?
Since he lost weight and had all the issues associated with that:
- Oh, what a tiny baby
- How old did you say he was? Blimey, he’s tiny for his age isn’t he?
- I thought he was a doll
Which just goes to show, that whatever his size, he can’t be “right” – I suspect if he were bang on average people would still find something to comment on. It’s even worse when the comments come from another mother, especially if they are also at the Health Visitors’ Baby Clinic, where the only thing that happens is that babies are weighed, and if needed, measured. Especially when the can see how busy that clinic is and that several of the mums are looking anxious about the results, and at least two mums are in tears because their baby isn’t gaining weight as quickly as they would have liked. Why would you, in those circumstances, comment on how small a baby looks?
And why, if you work on the checkout at a supermarket, would you think it was your place to pass comment on the size of the bump or the baby? Why can’t people just engage their brain before they speak?