Wanting to limit visitors after you’ve just had a baby is a totally understandable desire, but the stress of even thinking about how to tell loved ones to stay away without offending them beyond repair is enough to tip you over the edge.
Logic tells us that the birth of a baby is a sacred, special, and also extremely difficult time of adjustment and healing for mother and baby, but unfortunately, society implies: FREE BABY SQUISHES FOR ALL! Everyone wants to come and see (and touch – gah!) you and the new baby just after you've just given birth, for centuries mistakenly thinking this to be the correct etiquette, but this should definitely not be the case.
A new mother, whose stitches are killing her, boobs are leaking everywhere, is sitting in a puddle of her own blood in an adult nappy, and who is probably – thanks to the crazy hormones – a second away from crying at any given moment, should not have to also be thinking about whether she’ll offend anyone if she says, “I’m sorry, I’m not feeling my best right now, do you perhaps mind if we arrange this little visit another time?”
Trying to get to grips with breastfeeding, for one thing, is a reason in itself to make sure you have enough privacy in those first few days, as well as the overwhelming desire and necessity to sleep whenever you get a baby-free moment. Entertaining friends and relatives during this time should not be high on your list of priorities and you could do without worrying about what germs people are bringing into your fragile little baby’s vicinity.
Most first-time parents who were open to the idea of having visitors at the birth of their first child, decided against this for their second child, and for good reason. “I was mum-shamed within the first few hours of being a mum,” says Stella. “Even though they are well-meaning, people love giving you unwarranted advice, tips, comments, and what they think is constructive criticism, which is a bit too much for a new mum to handle. Looking back, I would have preferred to have kept them away at least for that initial, overwhelming, crying-all-the-time-for-no-reason period.”
The main thing to grasp is that this is your time to spend as you wish and you have nothing to feel bad about if all you want is a little privacy. It’s a basic human right, especially at times such as these. “I didn’t know how to refuse visitors without anyone being mad at me,” says Lisa, who is expecting her second child. “It ended up being like some kind of free-for-all freak show, open to the public. People were coming and going, there was so much commotion – not at all what I had hoped for or imagined. It gave me unnecessary anxiety and I will not be making the same mistake this time around.”
Visitors can be a lot to handle, and it might be better to ease yourself into them. If you are an expectant or new parent worried about visitors, whether you’re an introvert, a germaphobe, or even if you’re simply just not a people person, here are 15 ways to deal with visitors when you’ve just had a baby.
15. Don’t feel bad
Unfortunately, the average woman does not look like Kate Middleton two hours after she gave birth
to Prince Louis. The average woman who has just given birth looks and feels like dog poo, and is in no state to see people. The average woman can’t get up from bed or go to the bathroom without assistance, and is in a constant state of panic about the wellbeing of her new baby. She is doing the best she can and has absolutely nothing to feel bad about.
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