Navigating Visitors Postpartum
“I just gave birth to my second child on December 23rd, 2019.
Friends and family of new moms, listen closely…
IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.
I’m feeling a little PSA coming on because recently I’ve seen soooo many new moms in a private Facebook group I’m in, as well as friends, asking for advice on how to handle visitors after baby arrives.
I’ve seen moms asking for advice about navigating conversations with family about who can be in the delivery room, hospital visitors, and company once they bring baby home. They are worried about upsetting or making their friends and family uncomfortable.
The truth is mom should not have to be thinking about these things. Period. As friends and family of a new mom, it’s important to be respectful of her space and privacy.
She’s not being ungrateful.
She’s not being rude.
She’s not trying to leave you out.
She’s labored NAKED in front of an audience of nurses and doctors and had eyes and hands all over her lady bits.
She literally just expelled another human being from her body through her vagina or from literally being cut open.
She’s trying to bond with her baby through skin to skin. She carried this little being for 9 long months and probably isn’t eager to have others just come in and sweep him/her away as soon as they take their first breath.
She may be trying to work through all the things that comes along with breastfeeding and despite what Instagram has you believe, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine.
She has a nurse coming in every couple of hours, pressing on her freshly emptied uterus and peeking down into her giant mesh panties. Sounds fun, right?
She is trying to get some rest laying on a layer of puppy pads on an uncomfortable hospital bed in those few moments when baby is actually sleeping.
She is worried about germs and viruses that visitors may bring in that could literally kill her baby.
There is nothing more vulnerable than a freshly postpartum momma.
Don’t take it personal if she needs some privacy. I mean God forbid she make YOU uncomfortable after she’s been through all that, AmIRight?
Does any of this sound extreme or dramatic? If so, buckle up because I haven’t even scratched the surface on a new mom’s reality.
Supporting Moms Who Just Have Birth
If you are a friend or family member of a new mom (and by new I don’t mean first time mom. I don’t care if she has 5 kids already. Same rules apply),
Don’t just EXPECT to be able to pop in at YOUR convenience. MOM will let you know when she is ready for visitors and asking dad is not a work around. It’s not up to him either.
Some women want visitors right away and others may want a few days.
So, if you’re reaching out to offer support don’t say ‘When can I see the baby?’ say ‘Let me know when you’re ready for visitors.’
And most importantly, if you have a tickle in your throat or even sneeze more than once, STAY AWAY. Doesn’t matter if you think it’s ‘just allergies’ or ‘you’re not contagious anymore.’ It’s flu season people and even a simple cold can be devastating for a new baby. Another thoughtful gesture is to always ask if you’re thinking about bringing small children to visit a new baby.
(On that note, don’t make mom have to ASK you to wash your hands or not kiss her baby. These should be common sense by now so make it common practice.)
This may come across as harsh or cold and that’s not the intention. New moms know you’re excited about meeting baby. They appreciate all the love and support and are grateful for it. They are just as excited for you to meet their little one. They never want to hurt anyone’s feelings and know you’re not trying to be imposing.
I just hope this is taken as a gentle reminder to be mindful and respectful of a new mom’s boundaries and hopefully to shed some light on exactly WHY they may ask for space and privacy.”
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This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sheena Phelps of Norfolk, Virgina. You can follow her journey on Facebook and Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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