a friend of mine sent me this terrible blog post from offbeat momma – a doula’s advice: the dos and don’ts of visiting friends after they have a baby.
first of all, let me just say that any time i see or hear the word ‘doula’ i cringe. because i know where the conversation is heading. doulas are like the crazy cat ladies of the baby world. have you ever been out somewhere where there’s a baby and the doula just has to introduce herself and hold the baby and talk all about why she’s a doula?! gak. give it try sometime for a lark. (i recently just left my purchase on the store counter and left to shop at a different store because of this exact situation. unbearable.)
now to the post.
I know how exciting new babies are. I know how much people want to see and smell them when they are brand new. I also know that being a good friend to new parents means taking the utmost care with a new and very delicate situation. As a postpartum doula, I’m here to tell you how you can be a good friend while you visit new babies and their parents.
really? and that’s where things start to go sour. this assumption that you’ve got this package that’s so precious and rare and everyone is just clawing down the door to have a chance to see this stinky thing. not this puppy. i like to put off the initial meeting as long as possible. i’ll even buy and post a really nice gift in lieu of my loving presence so that i don’t step on anyone’s toes. wouldn’t you want to have someone hold your baby who really actually likes it and wants to be there?!
the writer goes on to list all of the things a good friend should/will do when visiting the
baby jesus new kid: don’t invite yourself, be prompt, don’t be a dirty mess when you get there. those are all find and dandy – things i’d expect of my friends on a regular basis. but she goes on: sneak cleaning supplies into your purse and clean the bathroom on the down low. and my personal favourite:
If mom WANTS to tell you her birth story, listen. Offer to write it down for her, even.
gross! now this is another rant all together. look. i don’t sit around and tell people the gory details of my bodily functions. but mothers – even after the kids are long grown up and moved out – love to regale their dinner company with the tale of the epic miracle birth. it’s gross. and no one wants to hear it. i’ve been told that some kind of hormone kicks in that makes mothers forget the pain and the agony of birth – which is what makes bearing multiple children possible in the first place. so why, oh why would you tell people about it. yes. it’s traumatic and horrifying, terribly personal, and disgusting to top it off.
the author does redeem herself somewhat with this point:
Don’t bring young kids. They can’t be expected to be quiet and keep to themselves.
good on you, lady. now if only mothers would apply this unusual dose of realism to real life situations.
of course this post conjured up all kinds of comments from the smug mothers who feel that their friends ought to come over and scatter presents of baby toys and clothes around their feet before rushing off to clean the stove or mow the lawn for them. there is one quite endearing reader who left this comment:
Oh dear, I’m all for being polite and helpful guest and love to bring anyone food gifts, especially new parents, but this list makes it seem like we should worship and serve at the feet of our friends for having managed to reproduce. You had a baby, which was your choice, if you want I’ll bring you some gifts and coo but don’t expect me to automatically do your dishes and empty the bin. P.S. I did notice that lots of you would agree that you don’t want your friends to be maids, which is reassuring…
+18 readers agree with this comment
and 18 other readers agreed! that’s more than agreed on most of the other comments. so where are these sensible people and why don’t they have the guts to stand up to their childbearing friends?! i’m calling on you, dear readers, to say, ‘no – i think i’d rather not come and visit you and your new family this week.’ and have the guts to stay away as long as makes you happy. don’t be afraid to stick it to the new moms – because if you don’t they’ll just end up sticking it to you first.