When people hear you're going into labor (and by people I mean friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc.), everyone will be dying to meet the brand-new baby. Forget how exhausted you are or if you're recovering from any kind of birth trauma: it's all about the baby. You? No one cares. Sure, maybe a handful of people will ask how you are, but most will push your tired butt aside and say, "Give me that kid!"
It's a sad reality for us moms that no one quite cares how labor went but they do care how the baby is. And who can blame folks for wanting to see your little bundle of joy? Not us! We love them more than the visitors do, but I can guarantee you that the visitors will want to come in droves. You're probably thinking, "Oh sure, I can't wait to have everyone see the baby," but before you start planning visitors to filter in after Junior or Princess arrives, heed my advice carefully.
I personally had no one, and yes, I mean no one, other than her dad and myself, see the baby for the first night she was here. I had my daughter at 6:06 p.m. after 24 hours of labor, five of pushing, and ending with a C-section. I was beat. Our parents didn't arrive until early afternoon the next day, and that was about it for the following few days until I felt ready for visitors and a bit better after my C-section. Why did I put the "no visitors" vibe up? Here's why:
You'll Never Get Those Moments Back Again
It was our first and only child. For those of you with more than one child, consider how differently your post-labor or C-section life was with baby number one . . . and then baby number two. With your first child - and for some of us our only - you'll never get those quiet moments of just mom, dad, and baby again. Even if you have a million kids, don't you want to cherish those first few hours with just your immediate family? The first nursing or feeding. The first time you hold your baby. Do you really need a ton of fanfare, or is it just nice to have some private intimacy when you've brought another being into the world?
I wanted the privacy and time to simply drink in what had just happened: I became a mom. He became a dad. Give us a few hours to cherish these moments before all the noise and craziness of people, opinions, and presents come to shower in on our little world.
Sssh. Let it be quiet. For just a bit.
I didn't want anyone to make me anxious or uncomfortable while I was trying to nurse for the first time. Plus, even after the grandparents came, we still kept it quiet with visitors until I could get into a better rhythm - or, in other words, could get my daughter to latch well instead of continuing to latch shallowly so my nipples bled. With fewer people to fawn, fuss, and add their two cents, nursing got off to a good start for me. Yes, we had latch issues, but because I kept the visitors list short, we could work on this with a lactation consultant and my ex-husband could focus on supporting me. I can't tell you how glad I am that we did this. Never once do I think, "Gee, I wish we had more visitors that first week of our child's life!"
Hormones (and Food)
Hello, hormones! Nope, they don't stop. At least not for a while postpartum. The crying and emotional moments? Yeah, I preferred to let those happen in front of people I was close to, namely my husband at the time. Not to mention I had endured hyperemesis gravidarum during my pregnancy and was finally hungry after birth. I wanted to eat and start to feel better while dealing with the crying and mood swings among "my peeps" and not the adoring audience for my daughter.
Plus, who feels superawesome when they're wearing a maxi pad the size of a car, trying to poop, and dealing with bloody nipples and potentially ginormous and superengorged breasts while trying to change a diaper for the first time and waddle around post-C-section or birth? Nobody! It's nice to feel a little crappy and achy and emotional without the whole peanut gallery around.
It was great to get into a little routine during the time my ex was off from work for the first two weeks of my daughter's life. Scheduling visitors properly helped any disruptions in our new parent routine. It made our lives go more smoothly when he went back to work and I was home by myself as a new stay-at-home mother. Plus, by that time, I was dying for visitors and ready. Do you remember, mommies, what it felt like the first time you took your baby out in the world all by yourself? I do. It felt like a victory just lifting the car seat alone!
No matter what you decide, consider who you want to visit you and when before the baby is here so you have an idea of the amount of chaos you want to invite into your home and hospital - or not. And don't feel bad if you need to say, "Hey, best friend. I am bleeding like a stuck pig and am having a tough time with nursing. Can you see me in another few days?" You don't owe anyone an apology for holding off on visiting. All you need to focus on is your new family member or members!