What I Wish People Wouldn’t Say to Newlyweds and New Moms

Do you know someone who’s on the brink of a major life change, like getting married or having a baby? Here’s how to encourage them, instead of giving them joking “warnings” that could do more harm than good!My view is that marriage and child-raising are blessings, and we need to encourage people on the brink of these stages rather than plant fears and doubts. #Newlyweds #NewMoms

Today I want to give you some food for thought.

If you know a woman on the brink of a major life change (say, about to get married or give birth for the first time), please encourage her.

Does that request sound obvious?

I have recently moved into both of these life stages (married life five years ago and parenthood last year), and while I received plenty of support, I was shocked by how much negativity I encountered.

It’s not that people weren’t happy for me, but I discovered that there are a lot of “jokes” about marriage and parenting that have a cynical tint to them, and I think we should rethink the message that they send to young couples and parents.

with my best friend

When I was preparing for my wedding, the negative comments were sugarcoated with laughs; spoken in a conspiratorial, I’ll-let-you-in-on-a-secret tone, and went something like this:

“Oh, you’re engaged now? Enjoy that! Before you know it, you’ll be arguing over kids and money!”

“It’s cute that you’re so in love. But JUST WAIT five years…”

“I remember when I was all lovey-dovey like you are. You DO realize that marriage is hard, right??”

I can’t remember ever being offended by comments like these, but their negativity did bother me. And then when I was pregnant the oddly un-encouraging comments continued:

“I’m glad you’re excited about labor, but trust me, you WILL want the epidural.”

“JUST WAIT a few months…you’re going to be DYING for alone time!”

“Yeah, babies are precious until they start screaming and keep you up! There was this time when my kids were vomiting all night…”

Our baby

I think the people who say these things have good intentions. And it’s not like there isn’t truth to some of their comments. But as my friend Jaimie expressed it, “I think a lot of people just don’t realize the powerful impact those statements can have to a woman who is about to experience one of the biggest changes in her life. Especially during pregnancy when her hormones are going crazy.”

Perhaps people feel compelled to give naive young couples or parents a little sneak peek at what their new life stage will really be like.

Perhaps they are speaking from their own negative experiences and fears about marriage and child-raising.

Perhaps they’re just making those comments because it’s culturally acceptable to do so, a “rite of passage” for the woman about to join the ranks of wives or mothers.

Swapping horror stories about parenting or commiserating about the thick-headedness of husbands bonds women together, I guess.

But you know what? Instead of “warning” me about the downsides of being married or becoming a mom, I wish more people would have looked me in the eye and said this:

“You are about to experience one of God’s greatest gifts, and one of the most important, life-celebrating journeys of your life. As you know, there will be difficult times, but God is on your side and so am I!”

Funny enough, that’s the kind of thing people would write in a card, but are unlikely to say aloud. And some of the things they say aloud they would never dream of writing in a card! You’d sound like a jerk if you wrote

Dear [expectant mom’s name],

Babies are much easier to take care of when they’re still in the womb.


My view is that marriage and child-raising are blessings, and we need to encourage people on the brink of these stages rather than plant fears and doubts.

We can hope for our friends and set them up for success, we can tell them about how a baby changes everything (but it’s worth it!), we can remind them to speak well of their husbands.

Please think about the weight that even your lighthearted words may carry for a new wife or mom. I know I will be!

P.S. If you’re an expectant mama, I highly recommend signing up for free weekly pregnancy updates from Mama Natural! They are so positive and will come alongside you with encouragement and answers to all your pregnancy questions. Mama Natural also offers a self-paced online birthing course which you can check out here.


  1. I agree. I think the problem is that it is so much more common and expected even in our culture to be funny and flippant rather than vulnerable or to take things “too seriously.” It’s easier to make the insensitive “joke” than to really be honest about how beautifully hard life is. I think that the more we emphasize honesty and empathy, the better!

  2. Oh yes, I agree! I used to get so discouraged by the negativity of some comments. I just had my first baby, and in my first trimester before I had announced my pregnancy, a couple of friends with small kids told me to put off having kids as long as possible because it would restrict my life so much. I felt so discouraged, because of course I was already pregnant and nobody knew yet, so I was feeling sick and alone and then even more downhearted because of these remarks.

    In sympathy with such negative comment-givers, I would say that, now that I’m married and have a baby and so am the one giving the congratulations to others who are entering the new life stage of marriage or parenthood, I’ve realised that a lot of people’s negativity is just a reflection of their own struggles. Having a baby has been tremendously difficult in ways I didn’t anticipate when I was pregnant and mostly just excited. So when a friend announces a pregnancy, I know the complex truth about what she may be in for, and with my own struggles it can be easy to let my ‘congratulations’ get tainted with negativity.

    What is most helpful for me in adjusting my perspective and making me able to give encouragement is to let that person’s (possibly naive!) happiness help me revisit the simple blessings I experience in my marriage and parenthood, despite the difficulties. So I try to remember that, although I might be struggling right now, that naive joy at the start of the journey is a valid and special phase and should be enjoyed and not taken away. Then I remember that I am blessed, too, even when it’s hard to remember day to day! And that makes it easier to give sincere, positive, congratulations and encouragement and share the other person’s excitement.

    One other thing – I don’t think everyone struggles the same with marriage/parenthood. A lot of people said negative things to me about marriage, but so far for me it’s been a great thing and I haven’t had the same issues they have. So if you receive negative comments, just remember that people speak from their own struggles and that their experience may not be reflective of what yours will be.

  3. Very well said, Elise. Even as a single woman it bothers me when I hear people say statements like those. I have heard some of them when I share my desire to marry and have children. It’s sad how people belittle marriage and children especially when they are married and have children themselves.

  4. Wow. This! I’m engaged to be married next month and have definitely received some comments like this. And, as I’m 22, people have even said are you sure you want to go on and get married before you’ve been able to enjoy being single – like marriage is horrible and confining. I too have had lots of encouragement but negative comments have definitely stood out!

    1. Goodness yes! I was 20 and my husband was 18 when we got married (8 years ago now). We’d already been dating for 3 years, and had known since about 6 months into dating that we would get married when we graduated from high school. It was a given, we were, and still are, best friends.

      The comments we got were almost entirely discouraging! My husband’s dad was completely against it, because my husband hadn’t dated around (I was his first girlfriend) like he had. What’s the point of throwing away something beautiful in order to date lots of other women to try and find something beautiful? A friend of ours actually asked my mom “don’t you think they are too young?” right in front of me (and then got married the next year, the hypocrite). It was really saddening to know people I liked and respected were so down on young marriage, and marriage in general.

    2. Yes, I think there are even more negative comments when you marry young. My husband and I were both 21 when we got married, and some people thought even that was young! I really liked this post from my friend Jami: https://youngwifesguide.com/10-myths-about-getting-married-young/ Her whole “Young Wives” series is encouraging, too! Lots of examples of young marriages working out just fine(: It’s encouraging to read about the high view of marriage that other young couples have!

  5. This post is so great! I got married at 18 ( a little over a year ago), and while some comments were encouraging, many were not. Now that people are used to us being married, we’re told to “not rush getting pregnant”, and to just enjoy our time alone while we still have it. I will always try to encourage other women to embrace marriage and parenting, even if I don’t yet have experience with the latter.

  6. Great point! We heard so many negative/joking comments while we were engaged, especially that we made a pact to be very conscious of how we talked to our engaged friends in the future! I had one colleague greet my news with “Really? Well good luck with that.” What a difference from the colleague who found me in my classroom later on and told me, “I am so happy for you. Marriage is difficult but with Christ at the center, you can overcome all the struggles.”

    We’ve also had the same kind of experiences with husband/wives jokes generally, “Look at the sink – my husband must have ‘cleaned’ up!” “Don’t give the toolbox to my wife, she won’t be able to open it.” I’m sure you’ve come across the same sorts of “funny” comments. We’ve tried to be very intentional about not saying these sorts of things because even if we think we are funny, it’s cutting down our spouse in a subtle way.

  7. I take pity on the people who make negative comments to me. And trust me as a mom to school aged kids, it doesn’t end with the baby years. They’re just projecting how they see marriage or parenting on you.

  8. Honestly? I WISH I’d had people in my life who took the time to say anything at all in preparation for child-rearing. Once my babies came I clung to every sympathetic “it’s a tough road” comment I heard from complete strangers. It made me feel less alone. Less like a crazy person.

    It’s not that I didn’t absolutely adore my babies, but the culture I was surrounded with I guess was one that said, “if you don’t smile and say it’s blissful you’re not doing a good enough job as a parent and you need to love your kids more.” And you know what? I found raising babies HARD! So my reaction was “there must be something wrong with me.” Now, looking back, I see that I’m just not a BABY person, really. Oh, I think babies are cute, I love holding new babies from other moms, but I found the whole thing just stinkin’ exhausting. I don’t cope well with sleep deprivation (as in I get physically ill, like I’m-going-to-vomit ill) AND I’m in introvert. Those two things make having babies who are not good sleepers REALLY hard. I absolutely ADORE raising school-age kids though. Seriously. It’s amazing. But I would never tell a mom who finds the school years hard “just be grateful!” Not in a million years. That doesn’t help. It just makes her feel alone.

    Of course, I was one of the first people I knew to have kids (I was 23), we’d just moved, and my mom (who I’d moved to be closer to, at *her* urging) decided it would be a good time to basically disappear from our lives. So, like I said, perfect strangers and family members saying things like, “boy it’s hard when they don’t sleep! I was so happy when mine were finally old enough to get themselves breakfast!” were a HUGE source of comfort for me during those years. Maybe all those people who say those things just went through something similar and are hoping to help a new mom keep her sanity. Food for thought, anyways.

    1. That is true; thanks for sharing your perspective! I do remember when breastfeeding was really hard for us at first, it was extremely encouraging to hear other (very experienced) moms assure me “Yes, breastfeeding takes a lot of work at first!!”

  9. This is true. I also had a thought, maybe the mom or wife who is making the unwanted comment is the one who needs some encouraging?! Instead of being offended or put off, try to respond in a way that might encourage her to see the joy again. Keep a bible verse in your heart that you can share with her, like Galatians 6:9, to point her back to God. After all, she’s been through a lot and you just might be feeling like her sooner than you think. Just a positive idea 🙂

  10. It seems the tale bearer wants the recognition of ‘I told you so, I was right’. Contrariwise to letting them ‘discover’ joy and sorrow, agony and ecstasy, some offer unsolicited advice for the sheer purpose so that young wife/mother will come to them and pay homage for the ‘wisdom and knowledge’ graciously bestowed upon them. Let them come and ASK if they want to know your ideas, times change. You and your personality/spouse/baby problems are completely different from the current newbie. **Just a personal note; as a TEN year married woman unable to conceive, in a great and loving church, ONE day, I went forward to ask for prayer from the visiting evangelist. He cruelly stated he ‘would NEVER have had children if could change the past. Why was I seeking to have a baby when everything was fine’, Needless to say he broke my heart for a long while. It took a wonderful woman of GOD to pray for me and remove that ‘curse’ in my heart. I never want to be the once causing hurt to a young woman/couple, but I will gladly pray and attempt to undo the mess others caused. It really took years of counseling to get those negative words about marriage/children out of my spirit.

    1. Really?? He said that to you? I am so sorry! Thank you for your prayers for other women and couples. That is a needed reminder to me to pray for my friends who are in these stages.

  11. Thanks you so much for this! I was over 40 when my husband and I got married 10 months ago. I was nervous enough…he was my first serious relationship and when he asked me to marry him I was ecstatic. My entire family loved him but I had lost my dad 9 years previous and I valued his opinion so much that I was doubly nervous that e wasn’t there to give me his advice. I got a lot of encouragement but also a lot of the “Just wait 5 years and see if you’re still that ‘into” each other” comments…and some these were from my closest friend at church and one of my bridesmaids. Trust me, I have learned a lot since we’ve been married- and we have been through a lot in the last 10 months. Questions about our business, repairing a strained relationship with one of his sons, financial questions, and my mother was diagnosed with cancer in April and 2 weeks ago she left us to be with the Lord and my dad. She told me the first year of marriage was the hardest but she also told me it is so worth the hard work. I’m finding she was right but I’m also finding that God knew what he was doing when He matched my husband and me.

    Thank you for your website and your encouraging words. God bless you!

    1. Thank you, Jamie, for commenting…I am so glad that you found this site encouraging! Your mother is exactly right, and I am frequently reminded of the same things: marriage is worth it, and God is very wise indeed(:

  12. I know this is an old post, but I found it through your sidebar when I to your blog through something on Pinterest. I am a 50-ish woman, whose daughter got married last October, and I wanted to weigh in on the comments to engaged couples.

    That euphoric, butterflies in the stomach feeling of new love will not last forever. It’s been my observance through the years, that when that “high” ends, many people feel they’re not in love with their partner anymore, and they move on to someone else. In fact, it very nearly happened to me. After a year and half of marriage, that euphoric feeling was gone, and I wanted out. Thankfully, my commitment to my marriage was stronger than my feelings, and I persevered through that time, recognizing that love was a choice. (We celebrated our 30th anniversary back in February.)

    Being “in love” is not the same thing as loving, but I feel our society thinks they are. In addition, Hollywood romances give the impression that being “in love” is what it’s all about. So, when the “in love” feeling diminishes (and it will), people just move on to something else. We’re a society that loves being “in love.”

    I wanted my daughter to know before she got married that the euphoric feelings she had for her fiance (now husband) wouldn’t last forever. (They can’t—we’re not meant to be “high” all our lives.)

    I think if couples aren’t made aware that what they feel during dating will change, then they are blindsided by it when it happens (like I was), and they think it means they don’t love their spouse anymore. They want to get that feeling back, so they move on.

    I heard a quote about marriage that goes like this: “The promise doesn’t sustain the commitment. The commitment sustains the promise.

    Anyhow, just wanted to share my feelings about that, because it’s something that I think is important for all engaged couples to know.

    1. Thank you for commenting, and for sharing this perspective. It’s important. I agree with everything you said! While I don’t appreciate when cynicism taints the “butterfiles will fade” comments, I understand what you’re saying and agree that it is vital to give young couples a realistic perspective. The advice you gave your daughter is the same kind that my mom gave me–to love long and steady, and to rest in the knowledge that you can be happily married even when you’re not on the heights of passion.

  13. Oh, I love this! Found it on Pinterest and I wanted to read! I think we need to be much more sincere when speaking directly to each other. It’s almost like a discipline, I think. I feel like, when we can be sincere with each other like that, we have reacheed a greater level of refinement and possibly spiritual maturity. It’s easy to write something in a card. It’s hard to say it to someone. I think that’s why we often let silly stuff like that fly instead of going deep. Not to mention it cam get awkward. Or maybe it’s just pride. I don’t know. I do know I agree with you 100%. There is a place for light-hearted banter, but I don’t think it’s appropriate in that form!

    1. I agree–it does actually take work and inetentionality to be sincere like that. Thanks for coming over from Pinterest, and I hope to see you around these parts!(:

  14. I am in love with this post, and with this blog. Thanks to all of you beautiful ladies who do not criticize or ridicule your husbands.
    Making life better is built on relationships. And relationships are built on actions. And actions are built on words, thoughts, and intentions. If every building block is negative, you can bet the outcome will also be negative.
    How beautiful it can be, to unite as a couple and tackle life together. Whether it’s a season of struggle with a child, or health, or finances, or just organizing the garage, do it together.
    Thanks so much for all these encouraging words, and for the insights here. Today will be a richer day because I was here.

    1. ❤️ Thank you, Grammye! We have gone through quite a few things in life since I wrote this post, and leaned on each other and God so much! I feel more broken and more whole at the same time.

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