If the first year of motherhood is “tough,” the first few weeks of motherhood are fucking impossible.
Between the sleep deprivation, leaky breasts, afterbirth, and lists of do’s and don’ts, it’s no wonder why many of us are a manic mess. So from one mother to another, let me be the first to say: I empathize.

I also have this message to everyone around a new mother. These are the well-intentioned things you shouldn’t say to her, the questions she really doesn’t want to hear, and sure as hell doesn’t want to answer.

  1. So what are you doing with yourself nowadays? Oh, you know, I stay at home and catch up on TV. Some days I take a nap; some days I don’t. Really, I don’t do anything. Oh wait, you were serious? You were being fucking serious? Let me fill you in on “what do I do these days:” I take care of a human being, you know a little person who depends on me for everything and anything. Sure I sit on my ass for hours on end, but that is because I have a small one suckling, gumming, and gnawing at my nipples. I get up at 1 A.M., 3 A.M, 5 A.M., 7 A.M…see a pattern here? I clean up shit no less than 10 times per day (seriously, I have no idea how someone so small, and on a liquid-only diet, can poop so substantially).  And on special occasions, or a good day, I try to go to the grocery store. I spend 20 minutes packing a diaper bag and picking out a semi-clean shirt for myself, i.e. one without visible spit-up stains, and another 35 minutes feeding my tyke and shlepping her, myself and the stroller downstairs. But guess what; by the time we reach the first floor my little fecal factory always, and I mean always, manages to have some sort of diaper blowout (on me and her). And this is all day, everyday. No weekends, holidays, smoke breaks or sick time.

  2. Did you shower today? I have white crap flaking out of my hair and my skin has the complexion of Crisco, do you think I showered today?

  3. You look exhausted. Really? It’s that bad? I had no idea I looked exhausted because I am so deliriously tired. Newsflash: Of course I look exhausted; I am exhausted. I only slept two hours, non-consecutively, last night thanks to three feeding sessions, two diaper explosions, a whole slew of spit-up and an endless amount of broken swaddles. (No, my daughter doesn’t have superhuman strength which allows her to tear through fabric, I was just too wiped to remember how to roll a baby burrito.) So, while I appreciate your astute analysis, and genuine concern, please don’t remind me I am just a second away from becoming a functionless mess.

  4. You should get a haircut. Sure, and then I’ll go get a pedicure, run to the store for a new wardrobe — one that fits my still swollen waist — and perhaps sip on a chai latte while reading the latest trashy romance novel all the housewives are raging about.

  5. When are you having another one (or, the inverse, do you think this will be your last kid)? Um, did you miss points one through four? The answer is never. Never, ever, ever again. Alright, alright; I know that is a bit dramatic but I won’t discuss it any further until I’ve had a nap, the stitches in my perineum have been removed, and I can return to semi-normal activities, like wiping with toilet paper when I pee.

  6. Awww, he/she looks exactly like his/her Dad. Don’t. Say. This. Even if this is true, you better make a concerted effort to find an endearing trait of the mother’s that the child does have (because after 30-plus hours of labor that little goofball better look like me). Some suggestions include: Awww, her feet are nice and long; just like yours! And, my personal favourite, What a chunker! Mom, you must be the one with the thunder thighs, no?

  7. Are you planning to go back to work? Loaded question alert! You see, new mom’s are damned either way; we know that, and no matter how you ask this she will be upset. (If she is going back to work it will be a reminder that she has to leave her little one with a complete stranger soon — and this will almost certainly be “too early” — and if she is planning to stay-at-home she knows she will have to endure the stares of disapproval and “that must be nice” statements.)

  8. Oh wow; I didn’t even realize you were pregnant! If you need me to explain this one you probably should avoid talking to women, period.

Just stick to talking about the weather or, better yet, tell the new mom in your life you’ve got this, let her nap, and skip the conversation altogether.


Kimberly Zapata is the creator and voice behind Sunshine Spoils Milk, a blog dedicated to mental health and mommyhood. She is a regular contributor for Sammiches & Psych Meds, and her work has appeared on HuffPostBLUNTMoms, Scary MommyMamalodeThe MidBonbon BreakThe Good Men Project, and APIARY. When Kimberly is not working, writing, or keeping her daughters fingers out of light sockets she can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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