If you’ve given birth, or if you plan to, you’ll know that it’s not exactly a walk in the park. It’s insanely painful, exhausting, and sometimes traumatizing. It’s a major medical situation and surgery, after all. So, you’d think after pushing a bowling ball out of a tiny hole that you’d be allowed to, you know, sleep. But think again.
People want to visit the baby and hold the baby and paw over how cute and sweet and life-changing the whole situation is (and it is!) but they always forget about the new mom. Considering someone just got stitches in their vagina, you’d think they’d be able to get a few minutes of rest before people bust into the room. The whole thing is very weird if you think about it.
One blogger, Katie Bowman, put this into words with a recent post summarizing her struggles with visitor after visitor after visitor after giving birth. The post went viral—obviously.
Bowman started by saying “A picture really is worth 1000 words.” And boy, is it.
In the pic, you see an exhausted, probably totally zonked-out new mom 24 hours after giving birth to her first child. She writes, “1 or 2 days. Is that too much to ask for? 1 or 2 days for a new mum to come to terms with the fact she had a tiny human emerge from her body. 1 or 2 days for her to finally have a shower and wash the sweat and blood from her body. 1 or 2 days for her to push through the pain of her sore nipples as she learns to breastfeed. 1 or 2 days for her to try to have some sleep because she is absolutely exhausted.”
When she says all of it like that, you really get the full scope of the situation. Imagine if you had the worst stomach flu of your life. You’re covered in sweat. Your body is weak. You’re shaking. Would you really want visitors? Having a baby is only about a trillion times more intense — so why would you want a parade of people in the house?
Bowman continues to say that having a baby isn’t just physically traumatizing, it’s mentally taxing.
She writes, “Has everyone forgotten how tolling that can be on both your emotional and physical well being? The last thing you then want, is for everyone to be bombarding your room to play pass the parcel, before you have even had a chance to recover.”
A good point, considering you’re not exactly in the most social (or even lucid) frame of mine.
Oh, and what about breastfeeding? Is everyone just supposed to learn how to feed their new baby In front of visitors?
Bowman goes on to say that breastfeeding isn’t private — or easy. There’s a lot of latching issues and messiness. Boobs are out and about. And you’ve got these people in the room just watching? No, thanks.
“Learning to breastfeed is no private affair,” she writes. “You don’t just slip your nipple out and your baby connects to it like a magnet. You get your whole boob out, and slide your baby up and down waiting for them to latch on. The nurse comes in and helps you massage some colostrum out. Then you try the other side, so now you’ve got both boobs out.”
And then you have to go to the bathroom. But how do you go when everyone is crowding around your hospital room watching you as your vagina radiates in agony?
“The hospital doesn’t like you to leave until they know you have emptied your bowels without your vagina falling out too. When do you fit in trying to pass that painful lump when your room is full of visitors?” she writes.
Have you ever tried going to the bathroom while there’s a bunch of people outside the door? Yeah, it’s not fun. Imagine doing it after your body has been turned into a battleground.
And everyone wants to hold the baby and take cute photos…but it’s YOUR child.
“If you don’t allow them to come visit you in the hospital, you’re a selfish, delicate, drama queen,” she writes. Everyone is so interested in taking pictures with the baby that they forget that you’re there, too, looking and feeling horrible.
She also went on about the dumb comments people make, like, “now you only look 4 months pregnant instead of 9.” WTF.
“WE ARE SO BLOODY FRAGILE RIGHT NOW! If my vagina wasn’t so sore, I might have pulled some Kung Fu Panda on your ass,” she (rightfully) writes.
In the end, she writes that she’s grateful for all the love, but that the whole ordeal was pretty difficult: “I feel so loved that everyone couldn’t wait to meet our new baby, and so happy that everyone wanted to be part of our baby’s life. What I didn’t realize was how hard trying to ask people to stay away for a day would be.”
So next time you’re banging down someone’s door in the hospital, be more cognizant of what their needs may be. And lots of mothers agree: