People Reveal The Most Toxic Comments They Received As First-Time Parents

Not all the advice that new parents receive is helpful — or welcome.

It would be nice if people would filter the things they say to new parents, leaving out any comments that might not be received as helpful or reassuring. Unfortunately, plenty of folks — both those who have kids and those that don’t — see a vulnerable new parent as an open invitation to air their own grievances, insecurities or anxieties. Whether their issues are with their own parents, their own children or some kind of internal conflict, toxic comments generally reveal more about the speaker than the person they’re addressing.

If you’re new to parenthood and feel the sting of a thoughtless comment from a supposed well-wisher, rest assured that you’re not alone. When we asked the HuffPost Parents Facebook community what toxic comments they’d received as new parents, we were inundated with responses. Many are veiled with a guise of helpfulness or even empathy, while others are downright nonsensical. Here are some of the most horribly memorable things people heard as the adjusted to the demands of parenthood.

martin-dm via Getty Images

Not all the advice that new parents receive is helpful — or welcome.

“Being asked if I was the nanny. My children are biracial, so people assumed a dark-skinned Black women couldn’t be the mother of a light-skinned child. This happened to me when both my children were little. Interestingly enough, my husband was never questioned about whether our children were his. He never experienced toxic statements. It is a significant example to me about how mothers are treated differently than fathers.” — Cindy Graham, Maryland

“‘Enjoy every minute.’ Unhelpful, unrealistic, invalidating.” — Robyn Falline, Iowa

“’You shouldn’t hold him so much’ — about my newborn. And, as he got older, ‘You should let him cry it out.’ Turns out he has autism spectrum disorder and he really needed all that co-regulation. As a new mom I had so many doubts and worries, but in my gut I knew it was what he needed. He taught me to trust myself.” — Liz, Miami

″‘Welcome to parenthood!’ Instead of, you know, offering some helpful advice, or sympathy if warranted.” — Lisa Sowell

“‘It takes a village.’ Not everyone has one. It shouldn’t be assumed that we all have the luxury of friends and family to support us in postpartum.” — Jessica Laura Mortimer-Barnett

The best might have been, upon observing me navigate the grocery store with two infants, ‘Better you than me.’ To which I replied, ‘I agree.’” — Elizabeth Bernardo

“The pediatrician we saw blamed me (working mom with a baby in daycare) for all the illnesses my baby was experiencing. As if I needed that extra guilt!” — Kara Rogers

“‘Sleep when the baby sleeps.’ ‘Don’t forget to take some time for yourself.’ ‘You’ll miss this when they’re older’.” — Rachel Loynes

″‘You hold them too much, they’ll never be independent.’ They were five months old and couldn’t even sit up on their own yet!” — Sadie Holt

″‘When I have kids, my house is never going to be this messy.’ I love how people who are not parents know so much!” — Leanne Kotlarz

“Anyone who can tell a newborn mom, ‘This is the easy part’ and ‘It just gets harder,’ is not your friend!” — Dena Dial

“I got back from maternity leave and a former coworker said I must be well- rested because I was coming back from vacation.” — Leah Kingfisher, Wisconsin

“I had someone tell me it is about time I teach my 9-month-old the meaning of the word ‘no’ when he kept crawling and trying to play with some shiny glass balls they had on display on their bottom shelf.” — Shelly Thompson

“Walking my twins in the park, someone said, ‘I’m sorry.’ I replied, ‘Actually I’m blessed!’” — Val Brown Parrish

“That my cats would steal my baby’s breath. Southern old wives’ tale.” — Leia Christabelle Sherwood

“I had to go back to work and another woman said to me: ‘You’re going to let someone else raise your child?’” — Roxann Marucci McKelvey

“When you tell people how tired you are because baby isn’t sleeping that well, and they come back with, ‘Oh, my baby slept ten hours in the first few weeks.’ Stop lying!” — Wendy Clawson

“‘Enjoy every moment.’ It bothered me to think that people thought I wasn’t, and with how tired and clueless I was, I was unable to enjoy every single second. To this day I never say that to any parent.” — Shelly Pagnotta

“I just got a puppy, it feels just like having a new baby!” — Helen Baucke

“I was told that my lovely, chubby baby was too fat and that I was being neglectful if I didn’t manage her weight properly. She was nine months old.” — Sarah Josephine Stanislawski

“When I went to see my primary care provider about FMLA paperwork for postpartum depression after the birth of my first son, he said, ‘What do you have to be sad about?’” — Kacee Scott, Kansas

Some people feel compelled to comment on how much your baby does (or doesn't) look like you.

FG Trade Latin via Getty Images

Some people feel compelled to comment on how much your baby does (or doesn’t) look like you.

“When venting about being sleep deprived and struggling at work: ‘Why don’t you just stay home until they go to school? It’s tight but we make it work on just my husband’s salary.’” — Kayla Michelle

“‘Dogs and babies don’t mix,’ to which I would say that no one watched over our son more than our pups.” — Jennifer Streng, San Francisco

“After my newborn was diagnosed with a genetic condition, a friend said, ‘I’m sure she’ll turn out normal, what do they know?!’ She’s disabled, far from ‘normal’ … and the greatest thing to ever happen to us.” — Andrea Loveday-Brown, California

“A co-worker asked my boss why I couldn’t pump in the bathroom instead of using the conference room twice a day for twenty minutes.” — Lesley Carrigan

“Days after giving birth to a 10.5-pound baby: ‘Are you sure there isn’t another one in there?’” — Anna Smirny

“I am white; my husband and I adopted twin girls from Latin America. A woman came up to me in a department store, looked back and forth between me and the girls a couple times and asked, ‘What color is their father?’ Imagine her surprise when I answered, ‘I have no idea.’” — Lynne Myavec

“I’m not ruining my body having a baby like you did!” — Melissa Diana

“I was asked too many times, ‘Is she a good baby?’ (Usually by older women.) I hate that question. I know what they’re trying to ask, but there are no ‘bad’ babies.”— Court Be, Ohio

“As I leaned in to pick up my crying three-month-old: ‘She’s manipulating you.’” — Wendy Guthrie Harris

“Any form of ‘Just you wait.’” — Elizabeth Jane Maske

“You wanted to be a parent, now you’re complaining you’re tired.” — Nikki Weinheimer

“‘Whose baby is that?’ My son is biracial and has his father’s skin tone, and people couldn’t fathom that he was mine.” — Meg Illi

“Lucky that you can rest/sleep while they’re in the NICU and other people take care of them!” — Stephanie Nicole

“‘When did you get her?’ I think the question was asked with no ill intent. I was a new mom of a darling biracial little girl whose dark hair and brown eyes looked nothing like mine or the majority of the moms living in our small town in Pennsylvania. I believe my snarky answer was, ‘The moment I pushed her out of my body.’” — Stephanie Webster-Cheng

“My son is very medically complex, spent 322 days in the NICU and had many subsequent hospitalizations. Someone told me they understood because they had to take their dog to the vet!” — Melissa Silvey

“To let them ‘cry it out’ and that ‘if they’ve been fed, watered, burped and changed they don’t need anything else’.” — Stephanie Lammond, UK

“I was told that I wouldn’t know my children because I work full-time. So… I guess every waking moment that I’m not at work will have to suffice.” — Kara Eddings

“I had total strangers in public ask me if I was breastfeeding. A Walmart employee shamed me for buying formula and I had to shut that down.” — Jamie Barnes

“My daughter’s birth was traumatic and she was in the NICU for several days. I was asked to pump breast milk for her, but I was so stressed that my milk was not coming in. I was only able to get a small amount. When I handed it to my mother-in-law, who was going to take it down to the NICU, she said, ‘That’s all you can produce?’ I was destroyed.” — Lori Day, Maine

“I had a c-section after two days of labor (and a fever) so it pissed me off big time when other mothers told me how ‘easy’ giving birth had been for them. Bully for you!” — Naomi Raquel, Brooklyn

“I became real tired when people would ask me when I was having another. I had fertility issues, was on bedrest most of my pregnancy. With two miscarriages prior, it would be unlikely I’d have another. Life doesn’t go as planned. Absolutely rude and invasive.” — Mariah Neville Mihm

“Why is that child always on your breast?” — Zoanne Garner

“A male coworker asked, ‘Don’t you love your child? You need to breastfeed.’” — Denise Salerno Panepinto, Florida

“‘Are you sure she understands you?’ — lady at the supermarket checkout while I was talking to my baby in Spanish.” — Luz Marina Rendon-Hepler, Pennsylvania

“My dad was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer while I was pregnant with my son. One of my coworkers said that maybe my dad had to die so my baby could be born. ‘A life for a life,’ she said.” — Jennifer Stockard Rivas, Nashville

“I tried and tried with breastfeeding but it just didn’t work for me. When my daughter was six months old and I was back at work, I was saying to a colleague that the long hours of work were getting me down because I was missing time with her. My colleague told me that was very bad, especially as I hadn’t bonded with her because I didn’t breastfeed.” — Lisa McKay

“‘Just you wait… this is the easy part!’ When you’re knee-deep in exhaustion and recovering from delivery and trying to breastfeed and you feel like everything you are doing is wrong anyway and your baby just cries all the dang time. It was so condescending and dismissive.” — Buffy Rizzo, Maryland

“‘Oh! Are you her grandma?!’ Or ‘Are you the nanny?!’ No lady, it’s called having kids later in life and adopting children of color. — Cherie Baker Vann

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Read more

Leave a Reply