Viral photo is mom's plea to visitors after giving birth originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com
Every mom has a different story about the birth of her baby. As varied as those stories are, there's one thing that moms universally agree on: the experience is life-changing in every way.
So when mom of two Katie Bowman came across an old photo -- taken about 24 hours after she gave birth to her oldest child four years ago -- she was taken right back to that life-changing moment. And she remembered something: she was absolutely exhausted.
In a post on her Facebook page that's now been shared 90,000 times, Bowman, who is from Australia, wrote in part: "Before being introduced to your new life as a mother, you have just gone through one of the most painful, exhausting, and mind blowing experiences in your life. Labour. Has everyone forgotten how tolling that can be on both your emotional and physical well being? The last thing you then want, is for everyone to be bombarding your room to play pass the parcel, before you have even had a chance to recover."
She told "Good Morning America" of her personal experience and the photo, "When it was 9 p.m. and I hadn't slept in over 30 hours, I was given the 'it'll just be quick' line when I had said I needed to rest -- hence me sitting on the bed waiting for everyone to leave. Once I finally got to sleep, I remember I was so exhausted I slept through all my three hourly alarms to wake and feed my daughter, and getting in trouble from the midwife the next morning."
Bowman hopes her post reminds moms and dads they can say no to people visiting if they wish.
"I didn't even think about the fact I could ask for a little bit of time," she told "GMA." "It was just considered normal that visitors would be coming the next day, because that's how it is with society. My labour had been pretty long and difficult, leaving me tired and in lots of pain and struggling to sit or walk for two weeks."
At the birth of her next child, she asked for no visitors at the hospital, but things went much differently.
"As it turned out I had a much better birth and was ready to see family the next day. You just don't know how you're going to feel, or how long it will take to heal," she said.
Bowman thinks her post has been shared so many time because so many people have had similar experiences.
"If we want a chance to bond with our new son or daughter, I really don't think asking for 24 hours should label mums as selfish," she said. "People are commenting with their stories similar to ones I have heard before. Being made to feel guilty for not allowing their mothers and MIL in for the birth. It blows my mind. What could possibly make someone feel like they have the right to watch another person birth a baby, when they have said no?"