In the process of becoming a first-time mom, I knew there would be certain people (ahem, in-laws) who would be a bit impatient to visit my growing family as soon as they possibly could. Really, though, I knew they wouldn’t be waiting to see my entire family. Or at least not me. All they wanted was to get their hands on my baby. So, I refused visitors right away.
While some new mamas are perfectly content (and even eager) to introduce their family and friends to their newborns from the get-go, I’ve never been one of them. Say what you wish about my preference, but I have plenty of reasons for refusing visitors immediately after having a baby.
I Refused Visitors Because Being Freshly Postpartum is a Vulnerable, Intimate Time
As any mother knows, giving birth is a feat that affects you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Healing doesn’t happen overnight, and the need for rest and recovery is real. At least for me. In the privacy of my space, be it the hospital room or my home. Surrounded by as few people as possible outside of my immediate care team, partner, and baby.
If you’ve never had a baby – or maybe it was years ago and have forgotten what a vulnerable experience it is for mothers – work with me here. Envision yourself exhausted and possibly completely depleted from creating and delivering another human. Who, by the way, now depends on you for everything. In an adult-sized diaper. Struggling to make a bowel movement for the first time in several days. Dealing with blood, leaking breast milk, and aching breasts. Sounds pleasant, right? Though, if you wouldn’t be comfortable with someone seeing you in such a state, try to consider the same is true for freshly postpartum moms.
I didn’t want my mother-in-law hanging around begging to hold my new baby while I was in that condition. Or my father-in-law showing up unannounced as I was topless in my living room, learning how to nurse and calm a hungry baby. I don’t know why they’d want to be around for any of that, either.
And My Priority Was Bonding With My Baby
I completely understand being excited about the birth of a baby. I do. But what about wanting what’s in the best interest of that newborn? Nothing matters more than a baby’s bond with their primary caregiver(s) in the early days. In my case, that’s me—the new mom. I’m only responsible for myself and the family I’ve created – not for another adult’s feelings. I don’t care if I’ve upset anyone by politely declining visitors in the early postpartum days. The people whose intentions are pure understood and supported this.
I Refused Visitors Because My Baby’s Health Was Important
Besides spending plenty of time bonding, looking out for my newborn’s health will always be my priority in infancy. And as unfortunate as it is, I’ve learned over the years that absolutely nobody cares as much about my baby’s health and safety as I do. I’ve learned the hard way that some individuals I should be able to trust without question can behave in pretty questionable ways when interacting with fresh babies.
- Kissing my newborn on the face after repeatedly being told not to
- Fighting my family’s no-shoes-in-the-house policy
- Refusing to give my crying baby back to me when they were clearly in distress and desperately searching for comfort (FYI: That’s me. Not you).
No more. I won’t sacrifice my little one’s well-being for any of that childish behavior. And I’m not ashamed to have refused visitors because of it.
I Refused Visitors Because If You Add to the Chaos, You Don’t Need to Be Here
Sure, my decision to refuse visitors was met with some pushback. That pushback, though? It only solidified my gut feeling that I was doing the right thing. I was doing what was best for myself, my baby, and my immediate family. That’s it, and that’s all that matters. Not anyone else’s opinions, pity parties, or guilt trips.
Advice for New Moms
If you’re expecting a new baby or have recently had one, I hope you’ll find peace in making whatever decision is best for you during this exciting, pivotal, momentous time in your growing family’s life. Here are a few tips regarding visitors:
- Remember, it’s okay to say no. Even more, “no” is a complete sentence. You don’t have to sacrifice your comfort for someone else’s satisfaction.
- Other people’s expectations don’t get to facilitate your reality. Don’t feel guilty for refusing visitors if having visitors isn’t what you want.
- Set boundaries and stick to them. The sooner you set boundaries with your family when you have a baby, the better. Trust me; this is critical when you have a baby.
- Be confident in your decisions regarding visitors. If you prefer to have certain visitors but not others at any given point, that’s your call. If you want to wait longer than you had initially intended to open your doors for your friends and family to meet your baby, that’s also up to you. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for doing what’s best for you.
It Isn’t About Anyone Else
Having a baby, navigating the postpartum period, and adjusting to your new normal is a big deal. As it is, being a new mom comes with enough pressure to do what’s best for your little one. You shouldn’t have to stress over doing what’s best for you. I can confidently say that I did the right thing for myself and my baby when I refused visitors in the early days. Whatever you decide to do, I hope you do it because it’s what works for you.