Today, a guest post from Uncle L – his words of wisdom for the family and support structure for new mommies. Enjoy! OLM
New mommies brains leak out their ears – example:
I had to threaten to take her child to get her to shower. Really. Mothers of newborns are exhausted and irrational. This is not a failing or a weakness. This is a fact of life and human nature. Start by squeezing something the size of a watermelon out of an opening the size of a lemon, OR getting gutted like a fish, if that’s your choice, then sleep maybe 4 hours out of every 24, and that in 20 minute increments, and see how well YOU do.
It’s even worse for first time mothers. No confidence at all. Women who can facilitate a meeting between the Socialists of America and the John Birch Society or plan the invasion of a small country are going to approach first time mom-ing with all the aplomb and savoir-faire of a pubescent boy trying for his first kiss; that is to say, none at all.
So what’s the reaction: to convince herself that she must do absolutely everything with her own two hands (and boobs) and that any consideration of her own needs is selfish and to be pushed aside. Stir in the “my milk isn’t coming in” trauma and sprinkle on just a hint of post-partum depression, and you’ve got a recipe for pretty severe personal neglect.
Somewhere around day four or five, I leaned over to kiss her goodbye and got a whiff. So I sniffed again. After all, it could have been me.
“Sweetie, when did you last shower?”
“Um, I don’t remember.”
“Was it before, or after you went to the hospital?”
“Oh – at.”
“Today you should take a shower.”
<Insert plethora of excuses here . . .>
“Ok – I’ll put it this way. If I come back tomorrow and you have not showered, I’m going to pack a diaper bag and a six-pack of formula, and take your baby away. I will not return her until you have showered.”
<Insert quiet, exhausted splutters of outrage and vague threats here>
“At the moment, you are not fit to care for WCB. She’s completely dependent on you, and you are clearly making bad decisions. Her best interested are not going to be served by an exhausted, in pain-filled stinky mommy. Besides, you always feel better after you’ve showered. Daddy –O and Daddy-N will help me, and you know it. So make some time to shower in the next 24 hours and such ugly scenes will not come to pass.”
<Insert small smile under incredibly baggy eyes here.>
When I got there the next evening and asked, she told me she had showered.
So I sniffed, because while she is generally honest to a fault, OLM can lie like a Louisiana politician when she thinks it’s in good cause.
The moral of this story is, new mommies, at least first timers may not take care of themselves. You, as part of the support team, have to help them do so.
Oh, you can also threaten to just wait until they pass out and then spray them with the garden hose.