As we enter this last phase of pregnancy and preparation, I'm beginning to think about who I want alerted when I go into labor and who I don't. My thinking probably lies more along the lines of who I don't want alerted. I've talked about being one of the last in my circle of friends to have a baby and how I've watched them throughout their pregnancies and listened closely to their gripes and joys. What I've gathered is this: having a baby can be the most wonderful experience of someone's life, but it can also be stressful and chaotic. What I don't want to invite is more chaos. In the hours and days just after delivery what I want is time with my daughter and my husband. I don't want visitors, even well-wishing visitors, traipsing through the room as my husband and I are bonding, getting to know our daughter, and as I try to get the hang of breastfeeding. Now I'm not a shy lady, and it's not that I'm worried about my boobies on display, it's just that I want that time left to us.
Somehow though, and maybe it's a cultural thing, folks seem to feel entitled for a visit, especially if they're family. Why does not wanting anyone at the hospital, including family, seem so counter-norm? Let's face it folks, I'm the gal who's birthing this child, she'll belong to my husband and I, and if that's our wish, then people need to be okay with that. It's not like the baby going to get up and leave. She'll be around an hour after birth as well as five days after birth.
Babies are awesome, and this particular little girl is a big deal to a lot of people - she's the first grandchild on both sides of the family. She's the golden child and I'm trying to understand and see things from all perspectives. I just don't want to be made to feel like I'm being unreasonable or selfish because I want time to myself and husband with our newborn daughter. Most of the time I think folks just go with the flow, and I'm sure learning to stand up for yourself and your preferences can be difficult, especially when it comes to a newborn - the very little creature everyone has been dying to see and hold for nearly 10 months.
But riddle me this - why don't more people ask the new mom or dad to be - What do you want?
As of this moment, here's what I'd like: No hospital visitors, no one home when we bring her home for the first time, and few days to ourselves before people stop by for visits.
So what's the right way to ask for space? Can I just say the following, "We'll let you know when she arrives, and we respectfully request that you give us time, including our stay at the hospital and our first few days home, before you call for a visit. And please call first; we'd appreciate no spontaneous drop by of the house."
Unless anyone else has any better ideas, it'll have to do.