Why having no visitors after Evies birth was the best thing we did.
We all know that when you give birth, you’re suddenly inundated with visitors. Some welcome and pre-arranged, some totally out of the blue and at the worst times. (like mid shower or naked skin to skin feed. Or better yet – mid way through your first post partum poop! Yep, those times.)
When we had our first, Zachary. We had said we wanted time to settle before taking any visitors. Yet we ended up flooded with them from him being just 3 days old.
“Oooh how exciting he’s here, can we come see him tomorrow?”
“We’ve got gifts, we will come with them this afternoon”
“He’ll only be little once, can we come see him before he gets too big?”
“We’re on our way/passing so we’ll just drop in. Be there in 10 minutes. We won’t stay long, okay?”
Or the worst of all.. A knock at the door when you weren’t expecting anybody.
I felt pressure to accept visitors when asked if they could come around. Almost like I couldn’t say no in fear of offending people. But truth is, we had said MONTHS before that we didn’t want to be bombarded. Yet there I was, accepting what felt like viewings of my tiny baby. Handing him off to one person after the other, each wanting and waiting for ‘their turn’ holding him.
I smiled, and made small talk. Handed him over when someone asked for him.
But in my head I was screaming. Furious inside, watching people paw at my tiny newborns hands and face. Watching them continue to hold my baby, (who I was already struggling to feed) try and root on their arm. But watch people not give him back to me, because they didn’t know he needed to be fed.. Because I was scared to tell them I needed to try and feed him. 1, Incase I offended them. And 2, I felt like I didn’t know how to politely say, “I need him back right this second. And I need you to leave so I can struggle through another feed and try and teach the both of us to breastfeed properly and successfully or else I might have a breakdown!” without it coming out like word vomit and tears.
He was MINE and I didn’t want to hand him off. I didn’t want other people holding or touching him. I was trying to establish what turned out to be a very rocky breastfeeding journey, with no end of issues at the beginning. And that’s when I should have had the time to try and do things my way, without worry of visitors. Or trying to get people to leave.
This time around, when we found out we were expecting Evie, we said from the start we were going to be blunt with people. And we weren’t having visitors until WE said we were ready to take them.
The only visitors we did have were both our parents, and that was it. And it was bliss.
We made it clear to people they were not going to accommodate any one until we said so.
And in all honesty, it was the best thing we did.
It allowed us time to come home from hospital and just rest. Adapt to our new family of four. Let us have our very first moments enjoyed just by ourselves. Zachary meeting his little sister for the first time being the biggest one for me.
I was able to feed whenever and with no interruptions at all from people passing through – which meant that establishing breastfeeding this time around was so much more enjoyable. l’d sit in just my pants and feed around the clock, skin to skin. Working my milk supply up the way that I knew was best.
I didn’t have to fumble trying to get her to take my breast awkwardly in front of family members as.
I slept instead of getting up on 2 hours sleep and trying to get everyone ready for people arriving.
We didn’t have to spend whole days at a time entertaining visitors, or accepting another visitor. Because, “whats just one more?” well.. one more visitor when you have an extended family the size of mine.. is a whole lot more!!
It meant I got to heal, recover and REST after giving birth. Which was SO important to me this time. I healed awfully last time. I’d had a very large second degree episiotomy and too many stitches to count. I made myself very sore and uncomfortable trying to accommodate others instead. So this time, putting myself first was heavenly. I tore my previous episiotomy, so as you can imagine I wasn’t exactly dancing around or feeling up for making cups of tea and chit chat 24/7.
And most importantly, we were able to get to know OUR daughter. Soak up every first moment. Bond without interruption, get used to our new family dynamic and actually really enjoy the early days. Mat’s paternity leave was for just three short weeks. So we made sure that he got to spend the whole of that time with just us, without sacrificing any of it for anyone elses benefit. Because three short weeks with your newborn is nothing, and it goes so fast.
I can’t begin to tell you just how good it felt though, to be selfish.
Yes, we were asked if people could come around. But I simply said no, and that I’d let them know when I was ready. We really stuck to our guns this time and didn’t let anyone guilt trip us or play the sympathy card. Obviously at times it felt cruel that we were keeping family away, and a pang of guilt would creep in after the 5th “when can we see her?” question popped up,. But all I could answer was “soon, I’ll let you know when I’m ready and I’ll bring her to you”. It felt a lot like I was beating round the bush sometimes, and I worried again that people might be offended.
Yes she will only be a tiny baby for a short time, but do you know what? She isn’t going anywhere. She will still be here to see.
So what does it matter if your baby is 5 or 50 days old when someone first sees them? I completely understand that it’s nice to see them when they’re just born and super tiny. But it’s equally as nice when they’re a little older. And I think a lot of people forget that when a baby is born, you’ve just given birth to them. YOU need to rest. YOU need to spend that precious time with your new baby. Not anyone else.
We did what was best for us this time, and that was having that time completely to ourselves.
So don’t be afraid to tell people to stay away. If they love you they will understand, and if they don’t then you just need to say no a little louder, haha!