There is no shortage of books devoted to the all-consuming topic of parenthood. From baby-making to baby-naming, if you can think it, someone has written about it. Yet while there is an abundance of literature focused on how to keep a child happy and comfortable, not nearly as much is written about how to accomplish the same when it comes to interacting with the brave, exhausted mother in the room.
Here are some of the phrases I've found least likely to please a new mom, specifically coming from the new dad.
1. "So, when can we have sex again?" This is likely the last thing on her mind. Well, that and rock climbing. While sex is an essential part of your lives as a couple, bringing up your sexual needs so soon after she's gone through the excruciating process of expelling an object out of her body labels you selfish, no matter the intent. After my first son was born via C-section, my wife couldn't stand up straight for a week... let alone have actual sex. Also, it's extremely challenging to get in the mood while hooked up to an IV on a single bed with your parents sitting in the visitor chairs.
2. "My [insert body part] hurts." It's not the time. It's really, really not the time. Telling your significant other you have a headache right after she essentially pushed a volleyball out of her vagina is like complaining to a Neanderthal about an overly complicated Wi-Fi password. Trust me, she doesn't want to hear it right now. I know this because I made the mistake of whining to my wife about a leg cramp I'd developed while walking from the car to her hospital bed. I mean, those corridors were surprisingly long.
3. "I think we should name the baby ______." While your name preference certainly matters, consider your campaign over once you reach the delivery room. I've heard stories of couples arguing right up 'til the moment the name is printed on the birth certificate. Not only should this have been ironed out weeks or even months prior -- but the one who actually births the baby has the final say in this proverbial chess match. So, if she decides in a hazy state that the baby's name should be Alligator? Hey, at least you can call her Ally.
4. "You're still in the hospital?" We live in an ever-evolving and always-connected world, where you can download a band's full discography and watch your favorite episode of The Golden Girls by pressing a button on a device you keep in your pocket. Because of this, some of us mistakenly assume that every aspect of life has sped up to match this technology. There is no easier way to insult a new mom than to downplay the amount of time it takes her body to heal and become fully functional again after giving birth. For the record, I would stay in the hospital until they literally kicked me out (which they will do, by the way).
5. "Do I really have to get you a push gift?" Rule of thumb: Never ask someone if you should get them a gift. So, unless she's particularly averse to being showered with riches, just get her something. No woman has ever complained to her friends, "That jerk bought me a designer handbag!"
If you manage to stay away from these phrases, you're exponentially more likely to appear in her next Facebook profile picture in front of the camera rather than behind it.
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