'As a mother, if you aren’t coping, if you aren’t happy, no one can be'

When a woman's baby is born no one asks her how she is. It's all about the baby. But they should.

Newborn Babies and their parents may need some extra consideration from family and friends. Here are some rules to follow when visiting a household with a newborn.

The first thing I asked when my baby was born, was “Is the baby breathing? Is he OK?”

I had a 12 hour exhausting labour. My vagina out for the world to see. While I struggled to get up and cried in pain, a nurse entered my room and asked, “Are you going to breastfeed?” and latched a painful, angry piranha to my unsuspecting nipples. A doctor entered my room and asked “How many feeds has he had?”

I wiped away tears because I was struggling. I couldn’t get the damn piranha to latch. She hadn’t noticed I had been crying and told me she’d be back later to help me. She never came back.

I met other new mothers, and our questions were always about our babies. About their sleep and their routines. I didn’t even know their names. I had seven appointments. I was asked hundreds of questions. All of them about my baby. None of them about how I was coping. I was asked once, when I was pregnant, but when that baby left my body, I was no longer asked. I didn't even dare ask myself.

Ask your children three "you" questions every day. The art of conversation is an important social skill, but parents often neglect to teach it. Get a kid going with questions like, "Did you have fun at school?"; "What did you do at the party you went to?"; or "Where do you want to go tomorrow afternoon?"

mother

Motherhood is not just about the baby. Mum's mental health is paramount. Source:

.

I was struggling

But if they had asked me how I was, they would have known I was struggling. If they asked me how I was doing, they would have known I was scared. If they just asked me if I was OK, they would have known I wasn’t.

I could have spoken up, but it’s not so easy. You have a place in society now. You are a mother now. You’re not meant to dry retch when you see your baby's meconium, let alone complain that you aren’t coping. People will tell you that you’re lucky to have had a baby and you should be grateful because everything goes quick and who wants to seem ungrateful? Who wants to say that when their baby cries it feels like needles to their head? And they just feel SO lonely.

mazza

Motherhood can be thankless and lonely at times, despite being surrounded by kids. Source: Instagram.

We are not just a body

But now you listen to me, and you listen good; we are not just a body. We are not just a vessel. We are not just an old life that is discarded once we have served our purpose to make another. We aren’t just so-and-so’s mum, the invisible woman in the background making everything tick.

You are the emotional rock, you are the last kiss goodnight, you are someone’s whole world and if you aren’t coping, if you aren’t happy? No one can be. This is what I’ve learnt after three children and never being asked “How are you doing?”. I raise my hand and I say “I am not OK, I can’t do this, and I’m not ashamed.”

"If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders." - Abigail Van Buren

motherhood

You are the one keeping everything together. Source: Instagram .

Don't stop asking if mums are OK

We care less about ourselves and that’s evident in the fact that the first question we ever ask after giving birth is “Is everything OK?” But we should also be asking is “Am I OK?” Because when we do that we give permission for others to do the same.

When a baby is born, so is a mother. So ask us too, and ask us often, “Is everything OK?” Maybe she will say she’s fine, maybe she won’t. But don’t stop asking, even after her kids have long left the nest.

This post originally appeared on Laura's Facebook blog, Mum on the Run , and has been republished here with permission. You can follow Laura on or Instagram .