The excitement over a new baby is a crazy thing, especially if you are a first-time parent. The second your a$$ hits the delivery ward there is this mad rush of people sitting in the foyer waiting for the SECOND they can bust into that room and lay eyes on this little person you just got done squeezing out of your body. People are blowing up your phone with questions, congrats… all the while you are high AF from your epidural and in enormous pain and experiencing a ton of anxiety over what life is going to be like as a parent. It truly is one of the biggest moments that life has to offer.
I was a scheduled C-Section. I was grateful for the fact that I didn’t have to stress over “when” it was all going to happen, but the fact that it happened SO FAST kind-of blew my mind. It felt like seconds. One second I was in the OR for surgery shaking and about to throw up. The next second my guts are wide open and a baby was crying. Then the second after that we were back in the room and I can’t stand up but there is a baby crying and its MINE and I am so sore and holy crap these drugs are strong and why is the baby still crying!?! And then the second after that EVERYONE wants to come visit.
I will admit, I am a very private person, and I appreciate having time to myself during big moments in life such as this. I just wanted to be alone with my husband and my baby, recover a little, and start to figure out our new life as a family of three.
Also, pregnancy for me was terrible and not something I viewed as ‘magical’ or anything I needed to share with the world. It in fact was quite gross and uncomfortable. I thought C-Section surgery was terrifying and I almost passed out.
So, if you are the kind of person whose pregnancy was ‘magical’, your birth was easy and stress-free, or you are super outgoing and could care less if your whole family watches a baby crash out of your vagina, we may have different views on this and that is fine. My point more isn’t that you need to feel bashful or not want visitors, I am more addressing the fact that visitors should think about respecting your wishes first.
All I ask of you, is before visiting a brand-new family in the hospital, or even a family welcoming their 5th baby to consider the following things:
- Ask permission to visit and don’t be offended if you are told no. This is an overwhelming and emotional time. And its also REALLY HARD! Women suffer from birth trauma, anxiety as a result of hormone changes, difficulty breastfeeding… the list goes on. You will have your whole life to visit with loved ones and waiting a day or two is not going to ruin anything.
- If you visit at the hospital, don’t overstay your welcome. Come say hi (once they give you the green light), hold the baby, tell the parents they did great and PEACE OUT. Not only is there a brand new baby crying and wanting to be fed every 30 minutes, but there are doctors and nurses coming in the room just as frequently. Let mom and dad sleep and recover! Sleep is something that will be hard for them to come by for a long time.
- If you visit once they are home, bring a meal with you. Please don’t come over to a new parent’s house and ask for things to eat or drink, get their dishes dirty and then leave. Come over and DO THE DISHES. Bring them a full meal in disposable containers so that there is nothing for them to clean up afterwards. Our first week home with baby, I had a girlfriend bring me a pot of chili and cornbread and it was awesome! We had it for dinner then a few times over the rest of the week. It was SO NICE to not have to meal prep or cook and just be able to relax and take care of the new baby.
- Give mom and dad the chance to get out of the house for a second. I’m not saying you need to offer to babysit for date night. Invite mom for a quick cup of coffee around the corner, or go on a friends date for a 30-minute manicure. Offer to watch baby for a short spurt so the new parents can go run an errand and get a breath of fresh air. Whether its with you or while you babysit for a second, it will surely be appreciated.
- Have boundaries with baby. Babies are born with a minimal immune system. You don’t need to come over and kiss baby on the lips, nibble their hands, or do anything that exposes them to unnecessary germs. I am not here to debate when it is safe to expose a baby to the world of germs and how to handle a newborn. However, just save mom and dad the anxiety of watching you drool (literally) all over their kid and cuddle baby like a normal sane person. I know its hard to suppress your desire to nibble delicious baby cheeks, but week 1 isn’t the time to do it.
All of this is meant to be very respectful advice, and just something to keep in mind the next time a dear friend or family member has a baby that you want to come visit! 🙂