|Fussy baby Magnolia -- can you hear her?|
Now that her colic stage is over she has turned to being very attached to mama, and very concerned about the world and people around her. When people come up to us in the store, she stares intently at them with a puzzled look on her face (its her 'thinking face'), but I often hear things like; "why is she so serious" and "she's TOO serious" and "why won't she smile?" I don't have a good response for this yet because I don't know why she is that way, she just IS...it's just her. Magnolia is not the type to smile happily at strangers and make eyes at every person in the grocery store, its just not her temperament.
I know other new mama's experience this as well, one friend was so tired of people asking her how the baby was sleeping and that she just answers 'great' just to avoid the discussion with others. Another mama was frustrated recently when someone told her that her son was too pretty to be a boy; and another mama mentioned people would tell her that her baby was too fat (example: you better stop feeding that one, or they will be huge when they get older). Its shocking to me that people think they can say these things without any concern that these words can be hurtful to a new mother. It doesn't make anyone feel good to hear that their child is 'too' anything. And chances are that the mother is already concerned that her child is 'too serious' or chubby or whatever and pointing it out does not help anything. Also, imagine if you point something out and the child does have a problem?
So the next time you see a child in public, whether they are fussing, smiling, or coo-ing; think before you speak: and if you must say something; tell the mother that her child is beautiful or handsome, or thoughtful and smart or tell the mother that SHE looks great!
Regardless, I know that everyone means well for the most part, but even the best intentions can be hurtful if you don't know the back story of the child. Please refrain from asking what is wrong with the child, or giving advise to the mother it really doesn't help or make anyone feel better, and you just might say something hurtful even when it wasn't your intention at all. I am certainly not above making this mistake or saying something that was 'wrong' to a mother, and I know that and feel terrible about it.
Please leave a comment, what do you think about this topic, are you a mother who has experienced this? Have you had an encounter that left you feeling upset, or did someone say something wonderful to you or your baby that made you feel great? Please share! Most recently someone told me that I was awesome for hiking with Magnolia, it made my day!