The One Word All Parents Should Know: No

If you have ever been around a toddler, or have one of your own, you likely already know their favorite word. Spend a little time with them, and that word will likely become one of your least favorites. Know which word I’m referring to? It’s no. Such a simple, yet powerful word. Toddlers are able to say it with ease, with little regard for how it will make you feel to hear it. So why is “no” such a difficult word for us to say as adults and parents?

No is a Complete Sentence

For whatever reason it seems like pregnancy is an open invitation for others to interject where they normally wouldn’t. While I will be the first to admit that this can sometimes be helpful this is not always the case. Some things to remember about declining assistance from friends or family:

  • Just because you said “yes” to the help before does not mean that your answer cannot change to “no.”
  • You do not need to give an explanation. No is a complete sentence.
    • This goes for family wanting to be notified when you are in labor or being present in the delivery room. You need to do what you are comfortable with.
  • It is alright to give an excuse.
    • “We’ve decided we are going to wait until after baby is here to alert everyone. We know how excited everyone is to meet the baby but I will not be able to focus on labor if I’m thinking about sending updates.”
  • You do not need to accept guests.
    • “Today isn’t a good day for you to come over. I can let you know when I’m feeling up for visitors.”
  • It is alright to ask for an alternative.
    • “I am alright with food to eat, but if you wouldn’t mind picking up a can of formula, I would really appreciate it.”

Do not feel bad about saying “no” – you know yourself and your baby better than anyone. On the same note, do not hesitate to ask for help when you need it, whether from a postpartum doula or from friends or family.

Additional Reading

Postpartum Plan
Early Breastfeeding
Pass the Bottle, Please!