God willing, we will have a second baby. It is our hope and prayer to be blessed with a second child. Once that child makes his or her way into the world, however, there is one rule I will enforce that I had not even considered the first time around: no visitations right after the baby is born and, after the initial visit, I am saying no to all visitors for at least two weeks after. Sound tough? I’ll explain why.
Giving birth is an intense process, physically, emotionally, mentally. The act of giving birth itself is not the be-all-end-all in this matter either. After birth, the mother may need medical care (stitches, etc) or need recovery time from the effects of any pain relief taken during the labour process. This recovery is not always easy. In my case, I had to receive stitches without anaesthesia because my body does not respond well to it. Suffice to say, it hurt and I was in pain.
After this very trying moment, I got into my bed (home birth, remember) and all I wanted to do was cuddle up with my new baby, nurse him, and go to sleep. Was I able to do that? Absolutely not. The parade of visitors started as soon as my midwives went home. Of course, they were all very excited to see the new baby and, if anyone remembered, congratulate me and Papa Mermy. Their intentions were good. But, was it necessary at that point in time to have them all swarm my room when I felt and looked like a giant marshmallow who couldn’t move without grimacing in pain? No, it wasn’t. It was uncomfortable and I felt like I was on display to show how I had “done” in this birthing process. As new moms, we do not need to ever feel like we need to prove anything to anyone, especially after giving birth. I had just pushed out a watermelon from a very small space – that’s an accomplishment whichever way you look at it and if I wasn’t going to get any applause or be showered with praise and love (it may not be needed but it sure is nice!) by the people showing up, then they didn’t need to be there at that moment. Us mothers should certainly not be ignored!
Everyone eventually went home a couple of hours later and I was bone-tired. I had smiled when I didn’t want to, and talked when all I wanted to do was hold my baby and stare at him in wonderment and silence. I certainly did not want to share my baby with anyone at that time either. That knowledge took me by surprise. I had just birthed this beautiful blessing and I had not even held him for an hour before everyone else wanted a go. To me, that felt the most unnatural. Yes, everyone was excited and wanted to share their joy, but I had just become a mom for the very first time and I wanted to take a moment, hold my child, and let it sink in. I wanted to honour myself by meditating for a moment on this journey that I had just started while I breathed in the perfume of my baby’s skin. I also wanted his papa to hold him and experience the joy of joining that wondrous brotherhood of fathers. We missed out a little bit on this. Okay, we missed out a lot on this.
So, we have made the decision that the next time around, the day we have our baby will be our day. No visitors, just our little family welcoming our new blessing into the family and honouring the process. But it doesn’t just end there. The second day, immediate family can come to visit for a short duration – only a short duration. Mama needs her rest. After this visit, for about two weeks, our little family will bond, adjust, and grow into our roles once again without any visitations. If we need more time, so be it. Having this time will, hopefully, allow us to gently accept the shift in our family dynamic and work out the best way our little family can grow and adjust in the days to come. Without the burden of visitations, as well-meaning as the visitors are, will allow us to do things our way the second time around, without feeling like we need to explain ourselves or worse, entertain someone else. Amy Morrison at the Pregnant Chicken said it best when she said, “Don’t let anyone stay with you that you can’t cry in front of or you can’t tell to ‘shutup’!” So my dear readers, identify who those are to you as I have done and, if you want or need, only allow them to visit for short periods because these are the people to whom you will be able to say, “you need to leave now, I’m tired!” or “if you aren’t cooking or cleaning right now, go home!” or any variation thereof. That’s what I intend to do the next time around.
After this two-week period, it’s not an open house policy either. I intend to choose my visitors wisely and those whom I don’t want visiting me at home, we shall go visit them instead. That’s what I’ve started to do with Baby Mermy and it’s worked wonders, especially when concerning those who seem to think that visits should go on for two freaking hours because they have nowhere else to be! Had to vent. The Pregnant Chicken, who is outrageously funny by the way in writing about this and other pregnancy/parenting matters, has a wonderful list that breaks down what to do about visitors after giving birth. Go have a read for more ideas on how to cope with visitors.
So, in short, lessons have been learned for next time and a new plan has been crafted for what to do when we another little bundle of joy makes his or her way into the world. At the end of the day, it’s about the little munchkin joining your family; do what works best for you and yours. Anyone who seeks to dictate otherwise can dictate to a non-listening crowd. Because you won’t listen to that, now will you?
How do you feel about visitors after giving birth? Share your tips and tricks with us mamas!
United in diapering,
*The original image is courtesy of Pixabay.