I did not know these things when I was a first-time mum and if I did, I wouldn’t have been bold enough to say them. Some things you need to know:
I am more than just my boobs.
When G1 was little and having a cuddle with someone, her dad included, the second she was unhappy it was suggested to me that she was hungry. Dutifully, like an unsure first-time mum, I’d feed her. And she seemed happy. The cuddler was happy to have made the right call, I was happy to be doing my God-given job. Right? Wrong.
G1 was regularly overfed until she puked. I am a wiser mother now.
Sometimes my baby just wants me because I smell right, because she knows me, because I was her home environment for 9 months. So if my baby cries with you, hand her back but do not tell me that she’s hungry. She just doesn’t like you as much as she likes me. And that’s fair enough. I have more to offer than just my milk boobs.
My baby is a good sleeper for an 8-week-old.
Yes, by all means ask but do not put words in my mouth or make a liar out of me. And don’t use my “yes, she’s a good sleeper” to assume that I’m not getting up in the middle of the night to feed her. And do not assume that because I’m feeding her at night, she’s not a good sleeper. She is! For 8 weeks old.
I look good.
I am 10kg lighter than when I was pregnant and I am 10kg heavier than I was before I was pregnant. And you know what? I look good. I don’t mean I’m so proud of what my body has achieved and created (I am, though). And I don’t mean my love for my children has eclipsed my superficial body image. I mean: I. Look. Good.
My milk boobs are heavy, my mummy-tummy is bigger, my skin is glowing, my ass is squat-tastic. Yoga and harem might be the only two varieties of trousers that fit from my closet but I am smiling. Because I look good.
So be very careful with your sympathy or assumptions of how I must feel about my new, heavier body. I feel fine about it.
And maybe I’m delusional. So what? What’s it to you?
My baby is asleep if I tell you she’s asleep.
I don’t care if she is cooing, crying, or giving you the evils with one eye open. My baby is asleep if I tell you she’s asleep. This is not a time to disagree or try to prove me wrong by poking, touching, making eye contact, or telling me how alert she looks, 6cm from her face. Back off. She is between sleep cycles. This is the time to ignore her, because I say so.
I am not the kind of mother who can lock myself indoors for two years and schedule all sleeps in a dark room. Partly because I am an extrovert who loves the world. Partly because I am a mother to three kids, spending regular intervals picking up and dropping off said kids. G2 has regular sleeps but some of these are in the bucket seat between educational institutions and the car. Do not mess with them.
You are not my baby’s voice.
You do not know my baby as well as I know my baby. Simply because I spend almost every minute of every day with her. Do not ask her if she’s cold. Do not ask her if mummy forgot to put a hat on her. Do not ask her if her parents are ignoring her.
Do not ask her questions to passive aggressively tell me how to parent. You think I’m not parenting well? You might be right but ask me.
However, you are welcome to ask my baby a range other things like: Why are you so beautiful? Do you know you have hands? How lucky are you to be landed with such an awesome family? Shall I hold you so you don’t cry? Do you want me to buy your mummy a coffee so she can be more alert to appreciate this miracle of life?
I have been sleep deprived for at least 8 weeks if you don’t count pregnancy.
I am doing a good job. Do not mess with me.
**End note: Baby number 2 may have had a raw deal during the pregnancy but she’s getting a real deal mother, not like the mummy-in-training her sister had.