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July 22, 2015

Why We Don't Want Visitors at the Hospital

Growing up as a pastor's daughter, making hospital calls was just a part of life. If someone had surgery, you went to visit them in the hospital. If someone had a baby, you went to visit them in the hospital. If someone had a hang nail removed, you went to visit them in the hospital. It's just what you did. Your visit usually involved delivering some type of care package, a ready-made meal, etc. and these are things that I still value as important to do for people even still. I love that I learned the importance of taking time out of my schedule to be there for other people...whether they were gravely ill...or whether they simply had a hang nail. 

However, when it came time for me to have my first little one, I was not interested in having visitors, and this post includes a little bit about why...

Why We Don't Want Visitors at the Hospital
Visitors at the Hospital

Throughout my first pregnancy, friends would talk about how excited they were to come to the hospital to see us after the baby was born. They wanted to meet our new little one...snap a few pictures of him...wish us well as we began our new journey. I really didn't think much about I said, I realize that's a very common thing to do - especially with your friends - but as time got closer, David and I started to think a little more carefully about this. 

We had no idea what to expect. What would the delivery be like? How would I handle the recovery? Would the baby nurse well? When considering these things I could not help but think that if all went perfectly smooth, I would be okay with having visitors, but if there was any hiccup...any struggle at all...I was not going to be interested in entertaining friends. 

In addition to those concerns, we also started thinking about how our parents don't live here in town near us. They would be traveling a number of hours to meet their first grandchild, and we wanted them to have as much time as possible to get to know the new addition to their family. We wanted them to get to bond with the baby and not sit on the sidelines while our local friends came in and out of the room. 

These thoughts were enough for us to ask the nurses to hold all visitors who might come to the hospital. We had kindly explained our situation to our closest friends, but we also mentioned this to the nurses, and boy was I glad we did! 

My first delivery ended up being incredibly difficult. My recovery at the hospital (and at home) was incredibly difficult. The baby nursed well, but me...well, that was a different story. I am so, so thankful that we had established a no visitors policy.

Without visitors popping in, we were able to rest anytime the baby did! I can not imagine how much more exhausted I would have been had I not been able to get that rest. It was just what I needed! 

In addition to being able to adjust, recover, rest in the quiet (well, except for when baby was hungry), David and I were able to spend time alone with our new little guy...bonding as a family of three...and those times were incredibly meaningful to us. 

As I mentioned above, our new little one's grandparents traveled to town for the delivery, and they were able to have uninterrupted time with our little one as well. Watching our parents enjoy their first grandchild was one of the sweetest parts of our first days as parents.

I am a social gal. I love my family, and I love my friends. I think it's important for new moms to remain connected and not succumb to any tendencies to do life in isolation - but I have to say: When it comes time to deliver a baby, I honestly want some privacy...I realize this may sound odd to some - especially if you're the kind of gal that loves having visitors pop in to meet your new little bambino - but that is just not a time when I feel like being social. 

While we're on the topic, I will also say that I have similar feelings when we return home from the hospital. Entertaining visitors...coordinating when someone is planning to stop by with a meal...all of those things may sound fun (and yes, I realize people are just being thoughtful)...but when I'm sitting inside on my couch...perched atop a donut-shaped pillow...leaking from every orifice of my body...breastfeeding every 6-8 minutes...constantly bursting in tears simply because I'm so stinkin' happy...Well, friends, I don't know about you, but in those moments, I am not interested in hosting a party. 

A Couple of Final Thoughts: 
Prior to your little one's arrival, I would suggest making at least a few freezer meals [if not more] and/or purchasing some pre-made items that will make it easy for you and your new family to adjust when returning home. 

If you have a lot of family/friends planning to stop by with a meal, place a cooler on the porch and ask them to drop the meal down inside for you to retrieve at a time when you're able. Meal deliveries are oftentimes frustrating to coordinate...and made especially complicated when the individual is running late (and you've planned your baby's nursing session [and your next trip to the bathroom] around their arrival/departure), so this cooler idea may be a great option! 
Warning: Some will think this is terribly rude. If you agree, don't worry! I'll give you another idea here in just a second...

If you are concerned about breaking the news to your family/friends that you are not up for visitors, consider this: If they truly care about you...your needs...your wishes, they will be incredibly sensitive, considerate, and respectful toward you. They will - without question - honor your requests. Simply [and kindly] explain your need to make apologies...and if they are offended, that's their problem...not yours.

Here's an example of a message we posted for everyone following our return home from the hospital with baby #1: Thank you so much to everyone who has sent cards, flowers, and gifts our way this week! We have appreciated every single gesture of kindness as we celebrate the arrival of our baby boy. Many of you have offered to bring us a meal - so thoughtful! Following David's return to work and our upcoming "grandma visits", we will definitely take you up on this! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! As we've been adjusting to our new routine and enjoying family time with our little man, we realize we have been slow to respond to messages, but we cherish each thoughtful text and phone call more than you know. Thank you for sharing in celebrating the arrival of our gift from above. 

Maybe you would want to post/e-mail something similar to that...but I will warn you. Someone will more than likely get their panties in a twist...No matter how kind you attempt to be, someone will more than likely get their feelings hurt and be highly offended that you don't want them there, but remember, you are the one who just had the new baby...You are the one who needs rest...You are the one adjusting to a new routine. It's okay to focus on what you need. I won't even tell you how long it was [following my first delivery] before I was up for visitors...It took me awhile to get there, and if you find yourself feeling the same way, it's okay. You will eventually feel like yourself again - I promise!

When we delivered our second little man, we had the same policy, and once again we were glad we did. We had a super smooth delivery and recovery, but we were in the hospital a very short time and we were glad that we were able to focus on our family of four, the grandparents [once again], and getting home as soon as possible!

Looking for some ideas for what to take to a new mom (when she's ready for company, of course)? Here's your answer!