The topic for this blog post came to me last weekend. Like an epiphany. I visited my home town (solo… Mommy vacay!) and attended a 75th birthday party for my Memere (grandma). It was a super fun evening with family, food, wine, and laughs. I spent a lot of time catching up with extended family members. Many asked how we are liking Toronto, how school is going, and obviously how Milo is doing. It caught me off guard when my uncle asked how Milo was doing and when I said how great he is and how well everything is going, he said something along the lines of “that’s good to hear things are going better”. I was confused. Were things ever not going well? I think he could tell I was confused (because I was making a confused face) and I responded with “what do you mean?” He said “oh no, you know, I know you didn’t want visitors in the beginning”. And then it dawned on me. Because we didn’t want visitors in the first few weeks after Milo was born, people must have assumed I was having a hard time. I was surprised that this was the first time I had come to this realization. If I was having a hard time, I’d be the first to admit it and probably write a blog post about it. But, things were actually really good after Milo was born. I mean, ya, I cried for an hour at 7pm every evening because anxiety would set in. But, that’s normal (you hear that people?!! It’s normal!).
Because we didn’t want visitors in the first few weeks after Milo was born, people must have assumed we were having a hard time.
I was lucky after having Milo. My Mom (#bestmomever) was the messenger. So, anyone who wanted to come visit would ask my Mom and my Mom would then ask me. For weeks I’d just say “no”. I think having my Mom put it out there right away, that we didn’t want visitors yet, was key. After she told everyone that, she became the gate keeper. No one asked us if they could come for a visit. They asked my Mom (*evil laugh*). My extended family was very understanding. No one dropped in unannounced or pressured us for a visit.
I can understand why people may have assumed we were having a difficult time since it’s such a “normal” and expected thing nowadays for visitors to just flow in and out for the first few weeks after having a baby. How did this become a thing? I get that people want to see the baby and it’s an exciting time for the new parents and the extended family, but there needs to be a shift in this way of thinking. Maybe I should start a petition. I’m sure many people think it would be rude or unbecoming to NOT visit a family member who just had a baby. This needs to change! Sure, you can let them know they are in your thoughts and that you’re there if they need anything. Drop a fresh-out-the-oven pizza on their door step and text to let them know it’s there (#mydream). Don’t you dare ring that god damn doorbell though!
It’s such a “normal” and expected thing nowadays for visitors to just flow in and out for the first few weeks after having a baby. How did this become a thing?
To be quite frank, we really just didn’t want visitors, and I wasn’t afraid to say so. Family, friends, it didn’t matter. A newborn’s schedule is so random. You never know when they’re going to want to eat, or sleep for hours. I was #blessed with a newborn who liked to nurse for 45 minutes (sometimes on each god damn side!). So, what I’m trying to say here is that I rarely had a shirt on. I know what you’re thinking… “ya, but, newborns sleep a lot… surely you could have had visitors while Milo slept.” Wrong. When Milo slept, guess who else wanted to sleep? ME! And if I wasn’t sleeping I was doing the next best thing… binge watching Netflix whilst icing my swollen nipples. Or, binge watching Netflix while milking myself. Some call it “pumping”. Let’s just call it was it is shall we?
I think some people might find this “no visitors” thing shocking. Like, “how selfish was this girl?” And to that I say, “f*ck yes I was selfish”. I had a right to be selfish. I’d do it again, and I recommend that every new mom be selfish and not feel guilty about it. You know what I think is selfish? People insisting on visiting after a baby is born. You’re visiting 100% for your own satisfaction. You want to see and hold the new baby. That’s selfish. And if you don’t wash your hands before holding the baby OR you kiss the baby on the face, on top of insisting that you visit, you’re a god damn monster. So to future baby visitors I say, “wait to be invited, or ask when the new parents will be welcoming visitors. Don’t just assume they want you there, because they probably don’t”. Ya, I said it.
To future new parents. I’m telling you right now. If your little babe comes into the world and you find yourself at home not wanting visitors, LET IT BE KNOWN! And do not feel guilty about it. I’d bet money that most new parents do not want visitors for at least a week after bringing their babe home (with exception of their parents… that is, if they have a close relationship with their parents). And, I said, “bringing their babe HOME”. Don’t even get me started on hospital room visitors. When I watch reality shows like Unexpected on TLC or Teen Mom and I see all the visitors these people have in their hospital rooms after giving birth, it gives me raging anxiety. I had my husband and sister in the delivery room with me, which was amazing. Milo was born in the evening and my parents and Memere came for a short visit to meet him. Luckily, the hospital I delivered at has very strict visitor policies in the maternity ward (hallelujah for that). So, for the 24 hours we were in the hospital after Milo was born, I didn’t really have to say “no visitors” because the hospital policies did it for me. Where are these hospitals that just let everyone and their dog into the maternity ward? I realize I sound like an evil ogre that isn’t close with her family, but that isn’t the case.
There is a point in time when the switch flips and all of a sudden new moms want ALL the visitors and any reason to leave the house. Probably when they are totally healed physically, have a solid schedule, are sleeping enough hours to sustain life, and are comfortable leaving the house with a baby. So, if you wait for this sweet spot, you’ll be able to visit your new mom friend or family member as many times as you’d like. Do know that you’ll probably be visiting with just the babe, shaking toys infront of their faces, wiping up puke, and changing diapers. Because mom is gonna make a hot bubble bath and peace the f*ck out as soon as you cross the threshold of her front door. But maybe I’m projecting my own desires on to all moms, but I doubt it.
Four things you can do for new parents… that don’t involve visiting.
- Food on the doorstep. This doesn’t have to be like hot and ready gourmet meals. I know when I was breastfeeding, I was snacking a lot (ok, I still snack a lot, but that’s beside the point). My point here is you can drop of a cute little basket (or bag) of simple snacks. Cheeses, crackers, chips, nuts, fruits, veggies & dip, etc. Hit up Bulk Barn and go nuts. My bedside table looked like a snack lover’s buffet for weeks after Milo was born.
- Take their two annoying Pomeranians for a day or two. Huh? Oh sorry. I’m thinking of myself here. But seriously, if they have a pet and you’re able to take them for a few days, do it. This would be a huge help for new parents as they get settled with the new babe. Pets are such attention whores and a lot of work. I hope Muffin & Bubbles don’t read blogs.
- Respect their decision to have or not have visitors. AKA, don’t be a little bitch. I think people should wait for the parents to bring up the idea of a visit. I know people have a hard time saying “no”, especially to family. They worry that they will get mad at them, or worry what they’re going to think. I had no problem making it known that I didn’t want visitors, but that’s me. If you can’t help yourself and you ask to visit and they sound unsure or are not totally keen on the idea then just assume they don’t want you there and leave it at that. Don’t be like “omg, I was hoping to meet the little one before my mission to the moon on Friday. I’m going to be gone for quite some time. It would mean so much to me if I could just sneak in a visit.” NO! Shut it!
- Show your support through text/email/social media. A nice message with some kind words will go a long way. Let the new parents know you’re thinking of them and that you’re there if they need you. Ask for photos. They will already have 400,000 of them.
If I wasn’t sleeping I was doing the next best thing… binge watching Netflix whilst icing my swollen nipples.
When I posted a little snippet of this blog post on my Instagram account I received quite a few messages from other Moms who were like “OMG, 100%”. I also have quite a few friends with babes who relate to this overall message as well. I know I’m not the only one who felt this way about visitors after giving birth. I am sure most women just bite their tongue and open their door to whoever wants to come visit. That is so sad to me. I hope some parents-to-be are reading this and muster up the courage to JUST SAY NO… to visitors… and drugs too.