Since most of our friends have had babies before us, we’ve been given the “gift” of observing and taking mental notes. The one that sticks out to me the most is hospital and house visitors. Here are some observations:
1. everyone seems to want to see the baby asap. this can be at the hospital or immediately after they arrive home from the hospital. mom/dad end up having the majority of their visitors in the first week.
2. visitors want to hold the baby. even if the baby is sleeping. even if the baby is overstimulated by too many visitors holding him or her.
3. people will show up unannounced. either at the hospital or at home. recently, a friend made it very clear that she only wanted family at the hospital and even with this clear message 2 uninvited (non-family members) showed up to see the baby!
4. some visitors (not all) will expect mom to be social and maybe even offer them a cup of coffee. they forget that she’s still recovering from labour and delivery, sleep deprived and overwhelmed.
5. i’ve had new moms tell me that in hindsight, they wish that they had less visitors (not more) in those first two weeks.
These are my observations re: visitors after the baby is born via watching friends and family over the years. There are always exceptions. For example, some new mom’s may want as many visitors as possible! I’ve been struck by the comments re: wishing that they had less visitors in those early days and weeks. There’s a saying that a smart man learns from his mistakes but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. It’s tough to make decisions ahead of time re: visitors and yet, if you aren’t intentional you’re likely to be overwhelmed with visitors. This obviously depends on a variety of factors such as: how large your social circle is, whether or not family or friends live close, and if you’re involved in a church community. There seems to be a fine line between wanting to give people the opportunity to share in your joy, to support you, and to also not get burnt out by visitors.
I haven’t come to any grand conclusion yet. I’m leaning towards immediate family-only at the hospital. I’d really like visitors spaced out so it’s not everyone at one time. And I’d prefer a system to help manage unexpected guests. I don’t want to have just stepped out of the shower, hear a knock, and have an unplanned visit very often! I also know that I can’t do this thing called mommyhood alone. It takes a village to raise a child. But maybe the entire village doesn’t need to meet the child in the first week. Maybe, just maybe, that will be okay 🙂
Moms: what was your experience like? Would you do things differently the second time around? And if you are expecting your first child, have you given visitors at the hospital or home any thought?