It's true, there's nothing that compares to the joy of cradling that brand new baby in your arms. But thanks to surging hormones, after-pains and being overwhelmed, those first postpartum weeks are a total emotional roller-coaster. The last thing a lot of new moms want to deal with on top of all that are well-meaning visitors.
I had my first two children in the hospital, where nurses, consultants, friends and family could basically just show up whenever. I was happy to see the majority of them, but I was also trying to smile through the after-pains (WHY did no one warn me about the after-pains?!) while helping a newborn to latch and wondering whether I'd soaked through another pad yet. It's just hard to deal with all that while also keeping in mind that anyone could show up at any time.
When I recently decided to have a home birth, I knew I'd be able to be much more intentional about who visited and when. I wanted everyone to share in the joy, but I also wanted to not be a half-dressed, unshowered leaking ball of hormones when people showed up.
I wasn't sure how we would arrange visits from family and friends until a good friend of mine offered to plan a Sip 'n' See. I'd never heard of such a thing, but a quick Google search revealed that a Sip 'n' See is a party thrown a few weeks after a baby's birth to give people a chance to see the new little one and enjoy some light refreshments. Kind of like a post-birth baby shower.
It sounds sad, but it turned out to be the best postpartum decision I ever made.
I gave my friend the green light to arrange the party and hoped people wouldn't be upset if they had to wait a couple weeks to visit. The baby arrived and, aside from the grandparents and a couple friends who brought us dinner, we asked any would-be visitors to wait until the party to come by.
It sounds sad, but it turned out to be the best postpartum decision I've ever made—especially as, this time around, I spent almost the entire second week postpartum crying. I wasn't even upset about anything … tears just kept flowing down my face and I couldn't stop them. So embarrassing. Because we delayed having visitors, I got to just lay around in bed for two and a half weeks without worrying about anything but rest.
Three weeks after the baby's arrival, my emotions were beginning to level out, my bleeding was slowing down and we were starting to develop a bit of a schedule. Nursing was established. I was feeling great. I was excited to welcome all of our friends and family into our home, and I was mentally prepared to have my baby passed around for a couple of hours.
The day of the Sip 'n' See arrived and my precious friends didn't let me lift a finger. They showed up to my house with snacks and drinks and décor and made it a beautiful day. Family and friends gathered and my baby got to cuddle up in the arms of her extended family for a few hours. Then, it was over and everyone was gone. I changed back into my pajamas and returned to the deliberate work of rest and recovery.
I'm sure it's not for everyone, and I know some people like—and need—to be surrounded by supportive friends and family when times are tough. However, as an introvert, the Sip 'n' See ended up being a sanity-saving idea for me—one that I'll pass along to every expecting mom I meet.
10 Things No One Tells You About Postpartum Recovery
When you are pregnant, there is a massive amount of info about what is happening as your belly grows, and there are countless books and classes about the birth itself, but little is said about the fourth trimester. Postpartum recovery is full of funny quirks and serious challenges that no one seems to be talking about. Here are the top ten things I wish I had known about the early months postpartum.