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AIBU re post-birth visiting

(254 Posts)
BraveLilBear Fri 17-May-13 14:20:49

I'm nearly 31 weeks with our first child (tho DP already has an 11-yo son), and I am being tortured by the pressure of visiting times after birth.

My family live a long way away (2 hours+ drive). This is a choice I made several years ago to take up particular jobs, and I have now settled here and very happy. This is my choice, and I made it at the time understanding this may restrict my support opportunities later in life.

Fast forward to the impending birth of the first baby in the next generation of my family. I understand that they can't wait to meet him or her and I, equally, can't wait to introduce him or her to its wonderful extended family. Despite the physical distance, we are fairly emotionally close and I am very blessed to have such a loving family.

However, I have serious concerns about becoming overwhelmed in the days after birth. I have never had a child before, and this will be a huge change for me, and to my relationship with my DP. I am pretty sure that I will not be in a position to play hostess whilst in pain, bleeding, tired and attempting to learn to breastfeed. DP will be trying to support me, and will also be tired. He is not exactly a great host at the best of times - there's no chance he's going to suddenly become a master at this in these circumstances.

So I have said I don't want any visitors for at least 3 days after we get home in order to adapt. Ideally it would be longer, but I think this is too selfish.

I have also said we do not want any overnight guests for at least a month, for the same reason, and that we would prefer people to come in the daytime (ie leaving before 7) so that when DP goes back to work we can have some family time in an evening and he can chill out after two long commutes a sleep-disturbed night etc.

Anyway. I have started the task of communicating this to people so they can get their heads round it. My mum, who had offered to come and stay for a week after DP goes back to work (we have declined because we can't handle anyone staying over so soon, and would want some space in the evenings), has used phrases such as 'you're going to ostracise people' and 'when you decide you want to share, I'll see if I can fit you in the diary'.

She says that she has/had expectations of suporting her daughters when they have children, and is obviously upset with me for challenging that.

The added complexity is that I could be in for 5 days or could be out in 6 hours, so I can't offer a guarantee of hospital visitation so our families can get that initial newborn baby fix.

AIBU to ask for space to settle in? I feel terrible, but also that I know we will never ever get this time again...

<sorry for epic>

myroomisatip Fri 17-May-13 14:28:56


I do not think that giving yourself 3 days is anywhere near long enough to adapt. And I have been there myself, I have 2 children and they were both born by CS, (the first was emergency CS) and so I do speak from experience.

You will be all of what you expect and possibly more.

I had my MIL staying for both of my births and it totally ruined the experience for me and that is something I am still trying not to feel very bitter about.

This time is all about you and your new family. You wont get that time again. I really recommend you have at least a week and do not invite anyone until you feel ready to.

Congrats by the way smile

scaevola Fri 17-May-13 14:29:35

I think you're absolutely right to decide that you'll see people when you're ready to, and ditto for overnight guests.

But I wouldn't try to set prescriptive (and actually arbitrary) timings now. You simply don't know when you'll be ready. Not do you know when the baby will actually turn up.

Just tell people you'll welcomemthemnwhen you're ready, but that you spdon't want to make any fixed plans now. And leave it at that.

I would also suggest that you consider getting daytime visits done early on if DP gets time off and can do the hosting so you don't have to. It doesn't matter that he's not been a great host to date. As he's willing to try, he'll muddle through.

wibblyjelly Fri 17-May-13 14:31:12

You aren't being unreasonable at all, but I would maybe ask them to be on standby, as you may change your mind when the time comes. My mil and pil stayed in a nearby caravan site, and visited for 2 weeks after ds was born, and it really helped. They cooked meals, and cleaned for me, allowing me lots of time to bond with ds.

bonzo77 Fri 17-May-13 14:33:12

I had loads of visitors with DS1, both in hospital and at home. my mum made food, but apart from that I didn't get much help. I generally went to bed when I wanted some peace. Most people got the hint. My ILs however live 3 hrs away and I can't stand them. I was very clear: no over night guests for 6 months. I was not popular, but I was happy!

SunnyL Fri 17-May-13 14:35:58

I had this discussion with my DH recently (I'm 37 weeks) as he had assumed his parents who live 3hrs away would be coming up and staying with us immediately after the birth. He thought i was being totally unreasonable by saying they could stay in the B&B round the corner. Thankfully his DM thought the same as me and doesn't want to intrude and is more than happy to stay in the B&B and visit for a couple of hours at the most at any one time.

On the other hand my brother and his wife banned all visitors for at least 2 weeks after their child was born - not even day-time visitors. This broke my mothers heart that she wasn't allowed to meet her grandchild. She cried herself to sleep. It also meant my brother and his wife didn't get any support at all when baby came along and both regret laying down this rule.

Sounds like you've got the right idea - day time visitors but within reason is a perfectly reasonable request.

SantanaLopez Fri 17-May-13 14:41:08

It all depends! I felt exactly the same as you, all my friends had told me that I must do the same- well after 3 days I felt like I was going insane and I needed people to come and see me. So I would advise you not to tell people such firm plans. From experience, it's quite embarrassing when you have to convince them to get out the house and come to see you.

In general:
3 days post birth- YANBU
No staying over visitors- YANBU
7pm- slightly U. Cos let me tell you, baby will not go to sleep at 7.01.

edwardsmum11 Fri 17-May-13 14:48:16

Yanbu, I only saw our parents for 4 days after the birth and still don't want anyone after 6pm, he is now 20mths.

Squitten Fri 17-May-13 14:48:43

YANBU to be anxious about first-time motherhood!

Don't set any time limits or make any arrangements AT ALL. Just tell people that you will let them know once the baby is born and then arrange visits when you feel up to it.

So much of how you feel will depend on things you can't possibly predict right now - the kind of birth you end up with, whether you have to stay in hospital or not, etc. You might feel completely up for visitors and welcome the help, or you might be a hormonal wreck who cries for a few days (like I was).

We didn't find out my first child was breech until 41wks - thankfully they scanned me before I went into labour that very night otherwise we'd have had a surprise when his feet popped out first! Suddenly it was all c-sections and hospital beds.

Don't commit to anything!!

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 17-May-13 14:49:43


But if you change your mind don't get upset if they have other plans, anybody who is going to be that pathetic about seeing a brand new baby when its obviously an intrusive action is not really worth considering.

Cakebaker35 Fri 17-May-13 14:49:59

YANBU. I'd say perhaps don't make hard and fast rules, just mention to people you are very unlikely to want visitors straight away, v unlikely to want people overnight as the baby will keep them awake etc, and don't know what your birth will be like so can you just play it by ear etc etc. I ended up with an emergency c section and definitely didn't want to play hostess, but did say to people come round in the day and rather than bring gifts, bring a meal! It really helped sort through those who want to help out and those who just want to have a look at the new arrival, so can wait a bit. I didn't have anyone overnight for about 6 months and was happy with that decision, and thankfully my family understood.
Good luck with everything.

Decoy Fri 17-May-13 14:51:58

YANBU to take all the time that you need.

However I wonder if it might be more positive to say to people when you would like them to visit, and invite them for a specific day/time, rather than sending a blanket message of when you don't want visitors?

TeaTowelQueen Fri 17-May-13 14:54:08

You should set expectations - I wish I had, we were inundated and the first proper meal I got after giving birth was about a week later and I made it myself - I blame a week of living on flipping sandwiches for my failure to breast feed properly (although there was another reason!!). I refused to have anyone but grandparents actually stay and everyone understood. But I should have been stronger and ousted the GPs too!!

If I visit new babies/mums/dads now I stick to bringing cake, staying for 20 mins/1 cup of tea which I make myself and then bugger off grin

Numberlock Fri 17-May-13 14:56:16

Be flexible about your plans, you might welcome some help, especially with your 11 year old step son. How regularly does he stay with you?

neunundneunzigluftballons Fri 17-May-13 15:00:23

YANBU at all however you never know you might be glad to have your mum around (or not depends entirely on the mum involved).I know my friend was so chuffed her mum came up to hers ever day for 2 weeks after her baby was born and she had sworn never in a million years before hand but after a tough c section delivery and a husband working on end of year stuff she needed her. I totally do get where you are coming from though, my ILs plagued us when my first was born and I ended up going crazy. I know they were excited but it left a bitter taste because they monopolised my child. I big time laid down the law in subsequent births though and their visits were limited in number and duration for the first few weeks. I reckon it is worth being the bad guy now so that you can row back a bit if you change your mind though.

SusanneLinder Fri 17-May-13 15:04:16

Hmm. I completely get that you dont want to be overwhelmed, but don't be too rigid and see how you feel. Sensible people will ask if its okay to come round anyway-usually those who have had kids.

I was overwhelmed on birth of DD1, by DD2 I pudt my foot down and then was bored! By DD3 I just had 2 open sessions eg one for grandparents, and then later own friends.Meant everyone could see baby and then they could bugger off again and we could get peace as a family.I wouldnt be too rigid and see how you feel.

I agree about no one staying overnight tho!

oscarwilde Fri 17-May-13 15:05:46

I would set a general expectation that you would really prefer not to have visitors in the first week, subject to the birth and the health of the baby. People always assume that it will all be straightforward and you'll be out and blooming so it's always good to remind them not to presume too much old people really feel it tempts fate
In my experience, it's handy to have quick visits while DP is still on paternity leave but to save lengthy MIL/DM stays for a few weeks out when you are back on your feet and not spending all day on the sofa with your boobs out. When you are too sore and feeding too often to even make it out for a gentle stroll and a coffee it is likely that you will murder DM after a couple of days.
Putting them off longer is just going to cause upset but it's worth pointing out that newborns sleep and feed a lot usually for hours in your arms and as such opportunities for decent grandparent cuddles are greater once everyone has the hang of feeding times.

Casmama Fri 17-May-13 15:05:48

I think it is hurtful to say to immediate family that they can't meet the new addition for three days and I really really hope you don't include your step son in that because that would be unforgivable IMO.
I totally agree with the no overnight visits but if you warn in advance that an hour is probably about the maximum visit length at first I think that would be a lot kinder.
Also, you may well just have slight discomfort rather than pain- they do give you pain killers- so as long as you can take the baby through to your room if you want some space then I think it would be fine.

LadyMacbethWasMisunderstood Fri 17-May-13 15:13:03


But please dont decide anything yet or be too prescriptive.

I really enjoyed 'sharing' my babies in the first few days. It somehow validated my ordeal! And I basked in all the praise. Two weeks in I wanted a bit of quiet time - just me and baby and DH (and later the older DCs).

Post birth almost nothing you want is unreasonable. But do keep your options open. It's hard to predict how you will feel.

AnythingNotEverything Fri 17-May-13 15:21:16

YANBU. I'm so glad I found this thread. I'm feeling so guilty about making my DH tell his parents they can't stay within when the baby first arrives.

They live 200 miles away, and are going on holiday 2 weeks after my due date. (Second baby, not expecting to my overdue. Famous last words!)

This means we have a small window for the to visit, plus it's hard for them to pop in for a cuppa like I expect my mum will most days.

I'm not entertaining and fully expect to be cooked for/have takeaways collected and brought home!

justmeunderanothername Fri 17-May-13 15:31:37

"So I have said I don't want any visitors for at least 3 days after we get home in order to adapt. Ideally it would be longer, but I think this is too selfish.

I have also said we do not want any overnight guests for at least a month, for the same reason, and that we would prefer people to come in the daytime (ie leaving before 7) so that when DP goes back to work we can have some family time in an evening and he can chill out after two long commutes a sleep-disturbed night etc."

YANBU. And if you want it to be longer then do it. Absolutely don't have overnight guests, if they do come make them stay in a B&B.

justmeunderanothername Fri 17-May-13 15:33:08

"On the other hand my brother and his wife banned all visitors for at least 2 weeks after their child was born - not even day-time visitors. This broke my mothers heart that she wasn't allowed to meet her grandchild. She cried herself to sleep."

wow - did she manage to get a grip in the end? Presumably she still met her grandchild?

BraveLilBear Fri 17-May-13 15:35:49

Thanks everyone so far, I'm feeling horribly guilty today about all of this! The biggest issue is that my parents see any of this as us 'blocking' their way to their first grandchild - everyone else seems much more understanding.

Wibbly if I knew that was a possibility - of them staying somewhere else nearby, genuinely helping out then leaving before too late, I would be over the moon. But they need to offer that - I cannot ask for that.

The 7pm notion is not for baby sleep (tho we can dream!), more for DP to have some space at the end of the day - once or twice a week might not be a problem, but we wouldn't manage well if it was every day.

I have loosely suggested the idea of having an open house BBQ on the August bank holiday weekend - baby will be somewhere between 3 and 6 weeks old - so that extended members of the family can come round and meet each other in a more relaxed environment. But I don't want to get into that before s/he arrives.

I think it's a really good idea to perhaps not set out the law in stone (*Cakebaker*, socket et al), but to play it by ear and maybe indicate that we don't know how I'll be feeling and ask everyone to bear with us, while also suggesting that there won't be an automatic open house from day one as well. I think that could definitely work.

meglet Fri 17-May-13 15:37:47

Yanbu. And I'd change that 3 days to 3 weeks.

I have horrific memories of being invaded visited after my EMCS with DS. Looking back I seriously can't understand why people thought it was ok to harrass someone after a major op angry sad. I was expected to stay awake for them, time breast pumping around them (and if it wasn't for them I may have suceeded in bf anyway) and make their bloody tea. i need counselling over this TBH

I told everyone to keep the hell away after DD's birth, best thing I ever did.

flanbase Fri 17-May-13 15:45:51

yanbu You need the time to get over the birth & to be new parents. Your families want to see your newborn and this could be for a short moment and with you dh watching the time and being in charge of asking to them to leave. Getting going with bf and bf in front of family needs time. Your dh can ask them to get a coffee during this time. You & your little one are the priority.

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