“Oh my God, you are still in the hospital delivery gown? Why don’t you change into something of your own?”
“I guess your baby is still hungry. Look at him suckling my finger”
“You managed to push a 3.6 kg (7.9 lbs) baby out? Wow! What did you eat?”
These were some of the comments and remarks I got to hear every time a relative or a neighbor dropped in to see my baby and me. First at the hospital, and then at home, everyone seemed to follow the same pattern. Once the initial “Awwws” and “Cho-cuuute” comments were said, the weird remarks and advice ranging from my appearance to how I handled my baby followed. Sometimes, I found me blaming myself for this situation. Had I not given up on my secret wish of having no visitors soon after delivery, things would have probably been better. Not that I did not want anyone visiting at all, or that I did not appreciate the support, like food that some of them got along. But, I needed some time and space to settle with my baby soon after the delivery.
So, for the sake of being polite (something, unfortunately, the visitors were not), I just went with the flow. And let me confess, it wasn’t easy. I had just had a C-section; my sutures did not look great and neither did it show any sign of healing fast. This only meant that my hospital stay would be an extended one due to the complications. Plus, I couldn’t see my baby for almost two days following birth due to his jaundice, which required a NICU stint. So, the first thing I wanted to do, when my baby was back in my arms, was to spend some quality time.
Soon, the pain in the sutures and a crying newborn whose needs were to be taken care of every two hours were gradually taking a toll. After a point, my breasts were sore from all the feeding. I was also bleeding down there heavily. Yet, I had to put up a smile every time a visitor walked in. Answering those same old questions over and over again gradually drained me out. There were times when sitting upright in my adult pads wasn’t comfortable at all and I’d long to lie down for a while. And just when I’d have heaved a sigh of relief after putting my baby to sleep and was done with the day’s nurse/doctor visits, in walked some relative or the other.
My husband was supportive and caring but was obviously pressed for time due to his work commitments. The fact that his work required him to regularly travel out of town made matters worse, leaving me duty-bound as a hostess. So, instead of concentrating on bonding with my newborn, I had to attend to uninvited guests at the hospital, some of whom used to simply arrive in hordes. And then, there were those who were constantly critical about what I wore or the way I changed the diaper. This was sad considering the fact that I had given up on the opportunity to bond with my newborn and my husband in exchange for this.
Now that I’m in the line of motherhood for the second time, I’ve been through various stages of discussion with my husband as to why it’ll be a ‘no-visitors’ rule this time. Although my husband continues to argue that his family, especially his parents are bound to feel offended, I’ve decided to have it my way. Having lived through the insensitive behavior last time, I have realized now that what really matters is how I feel about it. It is me and my family who I’d like to prioritize this time. And if that comes at the cost of someone getting affected, albeit temporarily, it’s for them to figure out their feelings. As for me, the hospital staff will be definitely instructed to close the doors on visitors! Sorry!