I’ll be the first to say it… I am a people pleaser! I want everyone to get along and be happy, typically at the expense of what I want. I’m not good at saying “no”, but I have my moments. One thing I did not budge on was hospital visitors during and after I gave birth. I don’t even feel bad about it. Everyone knew I was pregnant but I was very private, even when it came to my regular appointments. I even had a separate ultrasound scheduled for our parents because I didn’t want anyone but my husband attending my actual OB appointments. I know that’s not the same for everyone and they like to share more, but this was my experience and I wanted it this way.
If you need a little help in communicating this to your loved ones, here are five reasons why it’s perfectly fine to say “no visitors, please!”
- YOU JUST BIRTHED A BABY! However long your labor was, whether or not you used medication, vaginal or c section – it doesn’t matter. You are awesome and you just brought another human into the world using your body. For 9 months you nourished and kept that baby (or babies!) safe at the expense of your own comfort. You deserve to have special bonding time without anyone else wanting to hold her. Be selfish. It’s ok.
- YOU JUST BIRTHED A BABY! Part 2. Y’all, it’s messy bringing a baby into the world. Lots of blood, sweat, tears, and every other fluid you can think of goes into that. If you don’t want your birth to be a gory spectator sport that’s perfectly fine! If you happen to want your whole family plus a photographer with you that’s cool too, but not for me!
- Hormones. Do I really need to say more? Well, I’m going to anyways. Nothing could have prepared me for the epic meltdown I had about 30 hours after giving birth. At that point I hadn’t slept in two days, my glorious epidural had worn off leaving me feeling like I had been hit by a truck, doctors and nurses were in and out of my room poking and prodding me and my newborn, I wasn’t producing any colostrum or milk, and as a cherry on top, my baby wouldn’t latch. I remember Abigail started crying and then I started crying. Full on, uncontrollable, ugly crying. My poor husband was trapped in a tiny room with both of us. I remember him calling the nurse and having her take Abigail to the nursery so I could calm down and manage two hours of sleep. He’s the hero of this story. Anyways, would you really want half your family to witness that moment of vulnerability?
- More Vulnerability. Imagine hosting your friends and family while you’re wearing a giant diaper. Even better, when they all walk in there’s a lactation specialist grabbing your breast like a sandwich to fit it into your newborn’s mouth. Those are actual things that happen after birth.
- There is absolutely nothing better than the feeling you get when they place that precious baby on our chest. It’s a feeling of awe, disbelief, love, and pride. It’s one of those moments that stick with you forever. You deserve to revel at that moment, and again, be selfish. You just brought a baby into this world and you just became a mama. Take your time and get to know each other.
Whether this is your first baby or your fifth, your family just got bigger and you need to learn to grow right along with it. I only wanted my husband in the delivery room because we were in this together. He went to almost every appointment and we needed to do this together because we were becoming parents and we were about to be in the trenches. This was uncharted territory and we didn’t need extra people around us telling us how to do things, even if those things were said 100% out of love. We needed to find out what worked for us and our baby. We needed time to bond and to be together.
So if you’re feeling guilty about telling your family and friends “no”, please don’t. Even if they are upset at first, they will eventually understand. Hopefully, they will respect your wishes and show up with a casserole and a fruit tray when you are ready for visitors at home.