7 Things You Should Never Say to a Woman Recovering from Childbirth

7 Things You Should Never Say To A Woman Recovering From Childbirth | Baby Chick

7 Things You Should Never Say to a Woman Recovering from Childbirth

Childbirth is one of the most monumental events of a woman’s life. It is physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting even under the best of circumstances. When it’s over, the work doesn’t end there. In fact, it has only just begun, and it continues through an even more exhausting, challenging, and life altering phase: life with a new baby.

Although a woman may feel more battered and exhausted than she ever has in her life, there is zero time to quietly rest and recover because now she must care for her new baby. If she is a first-time mom, her life will change in ways she never imagined. Even if she has other children, she will still go through a transition period with her new family—and will still have the difficult job of recovering from childbirth.

If you have the privilege of visiting a new mom in the early weeks and months after she gives birth, know that your words and actions can impact her more than you realize. Not only is she dealing with major life changes, but her hormones are all over the place. It’s a perfect storm only women who have been there understand.

Your job is simple: don’t make things harder for her. Don’t say anything that will leave her feeling frustrated, worried, or angry. Be kind!

Here are seven things you should never say to a woman recovering from childbirth.

1. Don’t say anything negative about the way she gave birth.

Maybe she had the birth of her dreams, or maybe she learned the hard way that even the best birth plans can go awry. Either way, don’t pass judgment on the way she gave birth.

Moreover, if she makes any comments that sound like she is beating herself up over the way things went, make sure you tell her she’s a rockstar. She may not realize it, but she needs to hear it.

2. Don’t judge the way she feeds her baby.

Emotions will run high early on as a woman navigates how best to feed her child. Maybe she’ll breastfeed. Maybe she’ll formula feed. Maybe she’ll do a little of both, and maybe it will be even more complicated than that.

A new mom can become racked with guilt if her initial feeding plans don’t work out.

You don’t know the reasons behind why a woman feeds her baby a certain way, and unless she voluntarily tells you, it’s not your business to know. This is also not the time to get preachy about feeding styles and which is best—so don’t even think about commenting on it.

3. Don’t brag about how quickly it took you to bounce back after birth.

Having a baby completely changes a woman’s body. Some women do “bounce back” right away, but many don’t. For a lot of us, it takes a while, and it’s usually the last thing on a woman’s mind as she recovers from childbirth.

The first weeks and months postpartum are an incredibly vulnerable time and playing the comparison game can be devastating. So, don’t give a new mom a reason to feel she’s failed in some way. If you left the hospital in your pre-baby jeans, that’s great—but don’t tell her that. Have some empathy and save the story for another time.

4. Don’t say anything about her “hogging” her baby.

New mothers—especially first-time mothers—can be extremely overprotective of their babies. They worry about germs, whether their babies are eating enough, whether they feel loved, whether they are bonding well enough, and on and on.

If you visit a new mom (first-time or otherwise) and she lets you hold her baby, don’t act put out if she asks for the baby back. Don’t say “you get to hold the baby all the time” or call her a baby hog. That baby may be outside of her body, but it is still deeply tied to her.

During those first weeks after birth, that new mom is acting on raw instinct. Any perceived threat to her baby is incredibly distressing, and that includes refusing to hand the baby back when she asks. Don’t give her a reason to go into beast mode and don’t cause her undue stress.

5. Don’t mention anything about work.

If she’s on maternity leave, don’t bother her with work problems. Don’t even share the latest office gossip unless she asks to hear it, and don’t make her think about when she’ll be returning. For many women, that date looms overhead like an impending storm. Just let her rest and save the drama for another day.

6. Don’t complain about how hungry/thirsty/tired you are.

However hungry you are, she’s hungrier. Same goes for thirst, and don’t even get me started on how tired she is. She’s exhausted—probably more than she ever has been in her life. So, keep your complaints about your own discomfort out of earshot, and for the love of all that is holy, don’t expect her to cook or clean in anticipation of your visit.

7. Don’t comment on her appearance except to say, “you look amazing.”

A woman will never, ever look as ragged or feel as vulnerable as she does when she is recovering from childbirth. No matter how she gave birth, her body is likely thrashed. She feels like she ran a marathon and then got hit by a car.

She hasn’t slept in days, weeks, and months. She’s maybe resting two hours a night and it shows. None of her clothes fit. She feels lumpy and weird. It’s like the feeling of being an awkward twelve-year-old multiplied a thousand times over.

Don’t ask when or how she plans to lose the baby weight. Don’t tell her about the miracle detox you did after your baby was born. Don’t suggest a facial serum. Don’t say anything except “you look amazing.” Tell her she looks great and that you can’t even tell she just had a baby.

Tell her she looks beautiful and rested. She will literally weep tears of joy and appreciation. Ask me how I know.

If any of this sounds unreasonable, I can assure you it is not. It is humane and kind, and the very least you can do for someone you care about and who cares you about you enough to let you into her world while she is recovering from childbirth.


A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.
About the Author /

Candace is a practicing attorney, working parents advocate, freelance writer, and proud mom. Her legal practice focuses on workers’ rights.

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In our culture, it is common for women to feel nervous and even fearful of childbirth. We've all heard scary horror stories from other people about their babies' births. But something that people aren't as willing to share is how much of a turd toddlerhood can be. 💩 Don't get me wrong. I LOVE and ADORE my crazy toddler. But he is the true definition of a sour patch kid. Sour one moment and then sweet the next. He keeps me on my toes almost every minute of every day. 🤪 When I think about the day I gave birth to him, I think, "Psssshhh, that's child's play compared to what this kid puts me through on the regular." Why aren't more people acknowledging that, yes, childbirth can be tough, but wrangling a toddler isn't much easier? This is just my personal experience, but some mothers might agree. Here is why I believe childbirth is easier than parenting a toddler. {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!}⁠
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I often tell my pregnant clients that birth has mo I often tell my pregnant clients that birth has more to do with what happens between your ears (your brain 🧠) than between your legs.⁠ 😳⁠
The fear, tension, pain cycle in childbirth is REAL. The more fear you have, the more tension you will hold, which means the more pain you will feel. The more pain you feel means that you will more likely clench and fight against the natural surges your body needs to produce to open your cervix and bring your baby earthside. That's why the more that you can practice, prepare and educate yourself about calm breathing and positive birth experiences before your baby's birth, the better you'll be able to control what's happening in your mind and allow the labor and birth process to unfold and bloom.⁠ ❤️ The mind is a powerful and beautiful thing. Your birth experience can be too.⁠ ✨
When you and baby are both craving a midday snack When you and baby are both craving a midday snack . . . 😂🤱⁠
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As soon as a woman welcomes a baby into the world, oftentimes, her family and others around her become focused on the baby. The mother can sometimes somewhat be forgotten. If you are wanting to congratulate HER and show her that she is not forgotten, we are sharing the best gifts for a new mom. 💗 Any of these gifts will show her that you thought of her too and that she is cared for. And we promise you, all of these items will be used and loved. {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!}⁠
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Words & 📷: @mrs.caitlin_fought⁠
"You want to help a mom? Support her.⁠
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I breastfed my daughter and plan to do the same with this next baby.⁠
I have friends that formula-fed.⁠
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I decided to stay home with my kids.⁠
I have friends who decided to go back to work.⁠
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Never once has my parenting choices gotten in the way of our friendship.⁠
Never once have I felt the need to lecture another mom about how she decides to raise her child.⁠
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You want to help a mom?⁠
Support her.⁠
Let her know you're there for her.⁠
Tell her she's doing a good job.⁠
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Mama, I support you. I support the sacrifices you've made. Just because we parent different doesn't mean I won't be your biggest cheerleader. ❤️"⁠
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🖌: @spiritysol
When I think back to when I gave birth to my son, When I think back to when I gave birth to my son, I do remember the surges of the contractions, the release of being in the water in the tub, and the pushing. So much pushing. 😓⁠
But I also remember the relief I felt when I first saw Mary Alice, one of my midwives, walk into my master bathroom while I was laboring in the tub. I remember my doula holding my hand in between pushes giving me encouragement, and my husband gently stroking my hair as I came down from the height of contractions.⁠
After giving birth, I remember how my midwives made my bed with fresh linens and with me in it feeling comfortable as I nestled with my newborn son. I remember how a meal was brought to me in bed and how everything was cleaned up and looked as if nothing happened -- not like I had just given birth to a baby. (I had a home birth, by the way.) And I remember how they were all with me by my side every step of the way.⁠
I felt the love, the patience, and the respect that I needed. Those are the memories that I hold with me when I think about the day my son was born. It's how I was cared for and how my birth team made me feel that stays with me.⁠
For expecting women out there, be intentional with the people that you invite into your birthing room. That includes your doctor, your midwife, and your support people. I know that things look very different right now with hospitals only allowing one support person, but you can still receive good support. Take an online birthing class with your partner and practice how they can help you in labor. Speak up to your nurse and ask for what you need and what you want for your experience. Be your own advocate! And if you feel like you can't speak up, hire a doula and receive virtual support during your pregnancy, birth, and immediate postpartum. Feeling supported, respected, and truly cared for is just as important as having a successful birth with a healthy mom and baby. 💗
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One day a pregnant client of mine started having a One day a pregnant client of mine started having abdominal pain. She called her OBGYN's office and they had her come in to check on the baby to make sure everything was okay. Everything looked fine and well with the baby so they sent her home saying that it was probably something that she ate and that it must be gas or indigestion pain.
Days went by and the pain not only continued but it got WORSE. I encouraged her to continue reaching out to her doctor, which she did. She would call the office and the nurse and doctor would tell her that everything was fine. They told her what meds she could take that could help, and that if she wanted to come in again the next day, she could.
The next day she went in and they looked at the baby and the baby was still perfect. They told her to go home and said to her, "You must have a very low pain tolerance because everything is appearing normal." Little did they know that she had labored for days and delivered her first baby withOUT any pain medication. (She had a different OBGYN with her first baby.) This client of mine is a strong woman and definitely does NOT have a low pain tolerance. I would know because I was her doula for both of her babies.
The pain she experienced only got worse the next day. She was in agony. She did her own research and thought it might be appendicitis. She decided to drive herself to the hospital this time without calling and told the nurse that she was in severe pain and that she thinks she has appendicitis. The nurse said, "there is no way that you could have appendicitis. You wouldn't be able to stand or drive yourself here or even talk if you had appendicitis." My client demanded that she see a doctor to get evaluated. Once a doctor was available to see her and examine her safely (since she was 34 weeks pregnant) they realized that, in fact, she DID have appendicitis & that it was so bad she needed immediate emergency surgery since it could be life-threatening. The surgery then caused her body to go into labor. Just hours after her surgery she pushed & delivered her second child.
I tell this story because I have seen & been told countless stories like this. (Continue reading in the comments.)
😐😐😐😐😐😂⁠ 📷: @thedad 😐😐😐😐😐😂⁠
📷: @thedad
The Ultimate List of Grandpa Names⁠ 👴⁠ .⁠ The Ultimate List of Grandpa Names⁠ 👴⁠
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{Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!}⁠
📷: @royalty_europe
Tag your squad 😎⁠ 😂😂😂⁠ 📷: @then Tag your squad 😎⁠
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As soon as a woman becomes pregnant she will hear As soon as a woman becomes pregnant she will hear ALL kinds of unsolicited advice from everyone around her. 🤰 Friends, family members, even strangers will tell her what they went through and what they think she should do with her body and her baby. 😑 And this unsolicited advice continues long into parenthood. ⁠
Something that I think ALL mothers should know and learn is that you do NOT have to own or accept any information or stories someone tells you if it does not serve you. If it's unhelpful and not inline with your choices, hopes, and desires as a mother, then as soon as it was received immediately discard it. Don't harbor any information that does a disservice to you. The mind is a powerful thing. When we are told war stories and how terrible, awful, or painful things were for them (pregnancy, childbirth, or parenthood), that can live and stay with you. You do not have to own someone else's story. It may have been told with good intentions, but if you do not find value in it let it go. Release it and surround yourself with positive talk, uplifting stories, and happy, respectful, and supportive people.⁠ Be bold enough to go against the grain if you must and do what is right for you and your family.⁠
Ultimately, listen to your intuition. And if you're unsure of what your intuition is telling you, seek counsel from people who you admire and trust.⁠
You're doing great and if you didn't know this, you're already are a great mother. 💕 #thebabychick
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As a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit occupational therapist, I find that I take care of the mothers just as much as I take care of the babies. ❤️ Many, if not most mothers, are prepared with the tangibles: a place for the new baby to sleep, clothes for the new baby to wear, bottles, and diapers. But it is impossible to fully prepare for the emotional transition that takes place. New moms are met with not only a little baby who is completely dependent but also a barrage of new and different emotions that you may not fully understand.⁠ {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!}⁠
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Let me just stop you right there! *pew pew* 🔫🤱
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📷: @hallmark
When you become a mother you realize how much your When you become a mother you realize how much your mother did (or didn't do) for you. 💗 Sending love to all of the mothers, step-mothers, mother figures out there.
Happy Monday, mamas!⁠ 👋⁠ ⁠ Lately, with e Happy Monday, mamas!⁠ 👋⁠
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Lately, with everything going on, I've been thinking a lot about mothers with newborns. 🤱 As a postpartum doula, I get the pleasure of supporting new families in their homes and helping them navigate the winding roads and highs and lows of early parenthood. But right now I know that families are bringing home their precious babies and are feeling alone more than ever. They have less physical support, which can feel like they have less emotional and informational support as well. This breaks my heart. 💔 I wish this wasn't happening to families or to our world and I wish that I could be there for these moms.⁠
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That's why today, I am hopping on our stories and answering YOUR questions. Since I can't be there PHYSICALLY to help you with your pregnancy and newborns, I want you to know that I am here virtually for you. How can I help?⁠
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{I've left a question box in our stories. Have a question about your postpartum recovery? About your newborn? About breastfeeding? Bottle-feeding? You name it! I've been helping mothers as a birth doula and postpartum doula for 10 years and I am here for you.💕}⁠
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Okay, grandma. 🙄⁠ 📷: unknown Okay, grandma. 🙄⁠
📷: unknown
To the mamas, papas, dreamers, visionaries, SAHMs, To the mamas, papas, dreamers, visionaries, SAHMs, etc. out there, kudos to you! For going so hard, for not quitting even on the worst days, even on the tired days, even on the days you don't know how you're going to do it, or don't feel like you can. You know it's okay to have some patience, grace, and forgiveness with yourself, right?⁠
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Our children are the future. I had to learn to give myself some grace. Sometimes when I evaluate where I am in life and see that I'm not exactly where I want to be or could've been frustrates me, or gets me down. I'm so hard on myself. But then I realized if the ONLY good thing I've done or successfully done is raise great children, I am in fact doing well!! *Parents, it's so important how we raise our children, and many of you KNOW that is not an easy task.⁠
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There are so many different aspects on this one topic. First, their confidence, self-love, etc. is so important. They need to know who they are, so when they encounter times and people that aren't so kind they are not completely crushed.⁠
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Secondly, think about who you're putting into the world. Do you remember your heartbreak(s), or some of the sh*%$y people you've come across and thought who raised them? Or even when you encountered a child that needed a hug or just some TLC. It's important!⁠
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Thirdly, but not least, for the dreamer or the visionary . . . Yes, we are working so hard for our dreams and goals. And one day we may achieve them, but our building and growing may also be in the building for our children. As we are building a future for them. Show yourself a little love. ❤️"⁠
Words & 📷: @tanishasnell_
"On my headstone, I hope they write, 'Here lies a "On my headstone, I hope they write, 'Here lies a devoted mother who suffocated under her enormous laundry pile.' #kiddingnotkidding⁠
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I'm trying to be more mindful about laundry and use it as a meditation practice (my main squeeze Thich Nhat Hanh talks about washing your dishes like you're bathing baby Buddha. 😊) Sometimes I can do it and feel grateful and grounded (I find cloth diapers particularly soothing for some reason. 🤷‍♀️) And sometimes I consider just turning our living room into one huge laundry pile and letting everyone forage for their clothes each morning. #wildstyle⁠
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So tell me, wise women of the world--how do you do laundry? Are you a load-a-day type or do you wait until it piles up and tackle it all at once?"⁠
Words & 📷: @spiritysol
It's called balance. And motherhood. And it's the It's called balance. And motherhood. And it's the weekend. 💁‍♀️🤪 Cheers!
Want to jazz up breakfast or lunch for the kids (o Want to jazz up breakfast or lunch for the kids (or yourself 😉) in an easy way? Animal Face Toast! 😍⁠
Pop an emoji for your favorite animal!🐱🦉🦊🐻🐷🐵⁠
📷: @weelicious