Why We Don’t Want Visitors When Baby is Born
A little over 3 years ago, Matt and I made the drive to the hospital where I would give birth to our daughter via cesarean.
I figured by the time we were moved into recovery I’d be ready for visitors; boy was I wrong! Between breastfeeding, getting cleaned up, trying to get something to eat, hourly check-ins from nurses and doctors, attempts at “resting”, and visitors, the entire experience felt like a circus. Due to heavy pain medication, I actually have no memory of anyone visiting the entire three days we were in the hospital; only bits and pieces from what Matt has told me and pictures.
When we left the hospital, I was stapled together, in a fog, holding a hungry baby and running on a few hours of sleep for the past 72 hours. We then came home to a house full of people and a myriad of texts asking to stop by. It’s no wonder I fell into a pit of postpartum anxiety.
This time around, we are doing things a little differently. The only visitor we will welcome in the hospital when baby arrives is his big sister, and even that will likely be a brief, one-time introduction until we get home. Other than that, the entire three day stay will just be Matt, our new baby, and myself. Here’s a few reasons why we won’t be having other visitors for the first few weeks after baby is born:
1. I’m recovering from a major surgery. I know how exciting it is for family and friends welcoming a new life into this world and there is nothing better than snuggling a fresh newborn, but birth is a big ordeal for baby AND mom. Babies don’t just appear out of the blue on their own–certainly not with a traditional birth and assuredly not with a cesarean. There is a great amount of work involved on the mom’s part, and with that comes a great deal of recovery. With our daughters birth I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I was exhausted, in pain, bleeding, hormonal, swollen, heavily medicated, and stapled together. The last thing I wanted to do was stay awake to make small talk with visitors, who inevitably ask, “how are you feeling?” To which you feel obligated to reply with enthusiasm. Reality of it is, you feel like shit and wish you could be resting instead of entertaining people who are not actually there for you in the first place. Recovery from a cesarean is NO JOKE. It is painful and difficult to sit, stand, talk, laugh and heaven forbid cough (I shudder at the memory). I couldn’t sit up or stand without assistance from Matt. Not to mention the pain medication they give you makes you randomly fall asleep; in the first few days I would have Matt watch me breastfeed so he could wake me if I fell asleep. Recovery was slow and took weeks before I felt like myself again. I learned with our daughters birth what my body was capable of handling and we decided then that we wanted to hold off on visitors for any future children until after I have healed properly and can move around well on my own.
2. We want this time to bond with our baby. Once we get home, we will be diving into the chaotic life that is caring for a 3-year-old and a newborn and figuring out our lives as a family of four. Our daughter will need to learn in her own way how to adjust to life with a newborn and deal with how her schedule will change as well.
3. I need to get the hang of being a new mom (again). Breastfeeding my first child was an amazing experience, but being the modest person I am, I’m not comfortable feeding in front of visitors. And having to ask people to wait in the hall while I breastfed was plain stressful, as it is not a process that can be rushed and often feedings are quite close together in the first few weeks. I am by definition a bit of a pushover and I found that it was also difficult to ask people to give back my child so I could feed her.
We are aware this decision will not be received well by everyone. It’s not you, visitors, it’s us. We know you mean well and you’re excited and you want to be a part of this child’s life. And you will be! Once we are home, settled, and healed, we would love nothing more than for you to visit and meet our new baby. Until then, please respectfully allow our little family the time to get to know it’s newest member, adjust to our new life, and for me to heal properly.