Welcoming a new baby into your life can be a wonderful, joyous time; it can also be exhausting and overwhelming as hell. Especially if it’s your first child, it’s hard to predict how you’ll feel in the immediate aftermath — and whether you’ll want visitors around much (if at all) in those early days. One might imagine they’ll want to be surrounded by family and friends, showing off that sweet bébé; but a particularly hard birth, fluctuations in hormones, or just general bone-deep exhaustion may make them suddenly want to barricade all entry points into their home.
Post-birth visits have already been (or should have been) much more limited during the pandemic. Hospitals have often limited the amount of visitors allowed and even once everyone is home, families have had to weigh safety concerns about the coronavirus against a new grandparent’s desire to meet their grandchild. But pandemic or not, before you go rushing to meet your newest grandbaby, niece, nephew, or best friend’s baby, take a moment to consider that the new parents may not be up for it. Ask if they want visitors, and be prepared to give them some space if they don’t.
Reddit user u/MrGummySlut argues that a week — or more — without visitors after a baby is born should be normalised:
One of the most stressful and overwhelming things about having a baby is trying to make other people happy, but taking care of your immediate family and yourself is all that really matters.
Seriously, everyone. I am quite overwhelmed and even feel a little guilty that literally nobody has been invited to meet our four-day-old daughter yet, but guess what: I DON’T CARE.
The first week is critical to bond as a family and acclimate to your new normal. Entitled grandparents and family members can politely fuck off; you’ll meet the baby when WE are ready.
Everyone is different, and lots of people love a revolving door of help and adoration in those early days — but many others would really rather you “politely fuck off,” as MrGummySlut points out. So what should be normalised is not assuming one way or another and, instead, asking. Bonus points will be given to those who offer up this phrase: “Let me know when you’re ready for visitors!”
Especially right now, when new parents may want to strictly limit who comes into their hospital room or home — and for how long and under what conditions — be prepared to not be immediately welcomed. And if they do allow you to visit, don’t stay too long or too late, and do something helpful for the new parents while you’re there. The less the experience is about them hosting you and more about you providing support, the better (and the more likely it is you’ll be invited back).