Edit: this post was pre-written before Benjamin was born. Like, literally the day I went into labor.
Whenever a new baby is born, everyone wants to go see it. How does it look like? What eye color does it have? Everyone is free to decide how they want to proceed once the baby is here. This is what we decided.
I remember when my cousin was born in 2008, our oldest aunt called me multiple times while I was in class at university. When I was able to pick up, she proceeded by telling me I was “finally a cousin”. I’ve had cousins since I was born, only not on my mom’s side of the family, but I guess my aunt chose to ignore it. She was annoyed at me for not answering her calls right away. How dare I not pick up my phone while in class?!
Jokes aside, I was happy when the little ‘bug’ was born. However, I didn’t necessarily want to go visit her at the hospital. I did not have a very close relationship with her mom and honestly didn’t think it was appropriate. Boy, did my aunt get mad at me once she realized I wasn’t already on the way to the hospital even before I answered the phone! She yelled that “obviously” I was going to visit the baby at the hospital and what was I thinking even considering not going, everyone knows you absolutely have to go visit the newborn baby at the hospital the moment they are born! (ok, she didn’t actually say ‘the moment the baby is born’, but the rest is true).
So, like I did my whole life, I ignored what I wanted to do and made myself on the way to the hospital. The baby was asleep the whole time, the room overcrowded and her mother was definitely not feeling the visitors. She had just given birth a few hours previously, so I don’t blame her. The whole thing felt very wrong to me, I just felt out of place and like I just shouldn’t be there.
I get it, everyone is excited to meet the baby. Babies are cute, babies are sweet, babies are exciting – oh the possibilities they still have open in life!
VISITORS AFTER THE BABY IS BORN
I think no one should visit the baby, before asking if the parents are ok with it. Ideally, everyone would wait for the parents to actively invite them over to do so. Unfortunately, it seems when it comes to babies, a lot of folks forget common sense and respect. It’s the baby’s cuteness, I tell you!
Giving birth to a
watermelon-sized baby is hard. No one knows how labor is going to affect them. While some have extremely quick and/or easy labors and deliveries, others aren’t so lucky. It’s just something that you cannot predict.
Also, what about the baby? It spent 40 weeks literally only listening to your voice (and farts), swimming in water (containing its own urine) and not knowing anything else! The bugger needs to get to know its parents, the people with whom it will have to live with from now on! And then there’s the whole environment, it is cold and where the heck is the whole water? Not to mention there is poking and now it is covered in clothes, after 9 months being au naturale.
Ok, I don’t actually know what is going on in the baby’s head, but I can understand it is probably stressful for them too.
WHAT WE HAVE DECIDED TO DO
I am very lucky to have Markus around for the first month with the baby. That is not always the case. Nevertheless, we are both first-time parents. Just like the baby needs to get used to us (and the outside world), we need to get to know him. And we fully intend to do so, in our own time.
We want to have time to get used to having a baby, with everything that comes with it. And we want to do it alone. It’s not just about wanting to get to know the kid, it’s about us as well. We want to avoid the stress of having people around telling us what is the best way to handle a baby. Which would happen, even if not on purpose. Getting to know our son and bonding with him is something we want to do in private.
If people go visit us while we’re still at the hospital, depends on how we are doing. I am really adamant that only close family comes visit, only if they aren’t sick or around sick people. It’s flu season and we do not want to take any risks.
Once we are home, we want to have the first 2 or 2.5 months for ourselves to get used to the new addition in our family. I am happy that I won’t be alone the first few weeks, but Markus will eventually go back to work. And when that happens, I will have to get used to being alone with a baby, which also takes time. We simply do not want to have to deal with visitors during that time, even if it is the close family.
THIS IS A VERY PERSONAL DECISION
We are happy to introduce our baby to our loved ones, in person, when the time comes. But we also want to do so on our own terms. It’s our son, a person, not a monkey on display. Should we need help in the first two months, we have people around us whom we can call.