Baby #2 is set to arrive in a month. While there is so much excitement surrounding the fact that we will be welcoming our sweet baby girl, there is also of course the pressure of all that comes with being a new mom. Add into that the pressure that comes with having a 2.5-year-old and working from home, and the next few months of our lives look a bit hectic, to say the least.
It’s no surprise that I have been pretty vocal about our parenting choices, but one of the topics that I have surprisingly received a ton of support on is the fact that we aren’t allowing visitors after our baby is born. Gasp! I have had so many questions surrounding this one choice, including: But how will that work? Won’t people be upset? But what if they just show up?
I know, I’ve had those questions myself, but I still firmly say: We aren’t allowing visitors after baby’s born. Here’s why…
From an 18 hour labor, emergency 3 hour (yes, 3 hours) C-section and almost 2 week NICU stay. It wasn’t the glorious birth experience I had imagined. I was exhausted, in shock, and honestly a bit traumatized by it all. We did allow minimal visitors with our son’s birth, but honestly, it was overwhelming. I was a few hours post C-section, trying to learn to breastfeed (with a lactation consultant who, bless her heart, was more annoying than helpful), and in the midst of all of that I was trying to put on a happy face while handing over my baby for photos and cuddles. All I wanted to do in that moment, was hold him and get to know the newest member of our family.
We have a 2.5-year-old who for the past 2.5 years has been the only child. While we do talk about Sissy and have done our best to prepare him, let’s face it: he has no idea how his world is about to change. Our main focus is acclimating him to our new family unit, letting him meet his sister and spending time as a family without people in and out. Obviously, this acclimation won’t happen overnight, but we will do all that we can to make it as smooth as possible. A few hours after I give birth, he will be brought to the hospital to meet his sister and we will all spend time together getting to know her.
This is another opportunity for Levi to get to know his sister, learn our new routine (is there even such a thing with a newborn?) and to take it all in without people bringing in gifts for his sister, holding her and fawning over her while he tries to take in this entirely new world that we have.
Let’s face it, as moms, we’ve spent the past 9 months carrying this baby, feeling it kick and having it with us 24/7 without having to share. While this sounds selfish and horrible of me, I’m going to say it: we deserve to be selfish after giving birth, too.
We go through birth, but for the most part, society’s expectations tell us that we can’t be selfish after we give birth. We are expected to entertain guests, hand over our baby with a smile each time we are asked, learn to feed in front of people we see a few times a year and be ok with it. Many hospitals recommend the “golden hour,” an hour to bond with baby without distractions, but what about the “golden week,” or month, or whatever it is that you as mom (and dad) want? Time to heal, time to bond, and time to take in everything that has just happened is something that I firmly believe all new moms need, and shouldn’t have to apologize for.
While we do plan to allow immediate family (i.e. parents/siblings) to visit for a few hours a week or so after the baby is born, we don’t plan to allow anyone else to visit until — well, until we’re ready. I have no idea how I will heal from this C-section, how our son will adjust, or how our newborn will sleep. Those unknowns make it difficult to say just when we’ll be ready for an influx of visitors. While that may be 10 days or 10 weeks, knowing that we have made the decision to adjust together, in peace and without pressure, is a huge burden off of my shoulders.
While this is probably the least of the reasons we aren’t allowing visitors, it does still weigh on me. Seeing our firstborn hooked up to oxygen and monitors after he was just a few hours old changed me. Knowing that a simple “cold” for an older child or adult could do the same to our baby if she were to get sick is not a risk I’m willing to take. Our 2.5-year-old is not in daycare, and I don’t plan to take him to public play places for a few months after the baby is born. In addition, we are also not allowing a ton of visitors to reduce the amount of germs our entire family is exposed to and the visitors that we are allowing are adult visitors.
Yes, I know, that sounds harsh and you can call me what you’d like, but we all know that children carry germs that are more easily transmitted to other children. I know, we have a 2.5-year-old — what a double standard, oh my! Well, our 2.5-year-old isn’t in daycare and he will be here, with us at home versus at school or other places where he can catch those wonderful summer colds and viruses.
Allowing or not allowing visitors after your baby is born is a decision that all parents should have the ability to make. Unfortunately, I have had so many people reach out to me and say that they feel like they don’t have the freedom to make that decision due to pressures from other people. Trust me when I tell you this: be selfish, it’s okay to upset people (they will get over it), and it’s okay to focus on your health — both mentally and physically after giving birth!