I know that I have a good 4 months to go before baby girl is ready to come sliding out of my hoo-ha, but this topic has been weighing heavily on my mind.
The essay below is a popular one in the BabyCenter boards, has been posted in numerous threads and is a topic of much discussion. Take a look…
The Lemon Clot Essay by Sharon1964
You will be leaking out of places you don’t want to leak out of. Do you really want to stand up from the couch and have your father’s parents see that not only have you bled through your pad, but the blood is now running down your leg. Do you really want to say, “honey, can you come with me to the bathroom, I am bleeding all over and I feel a huge bloodclot coming out”… in front of them? Contrast that to “mom, I need your help please, now, I’m bleeding all over!” Does your husband really understand the volume of stuff that will be coming out of you, the possibility of lemon-sized clots of blood? Not 2-dimensional lemon-sized, but huge, round, 3-dimensional lemon-sized?
How many bathrooms do you have? If only one, do you REALLY want to have to make it “guest-level clean” every time you leave it? Do you really want this gang of people ogling your diaper-sized pads, peribottle, tucks pads, and all the other supplies that will be in the bathroom? Even if you have two bathrooms, that means you can’t use the main bathroom, because you still have to leave it “guest-level clean” every time you use it.
Do they really plan to do something other than hold the baby, pass the baby around, and sit around expecting you guys to wait on them? Are they going to sit and stare at you? Thirty minutes after they arrive, and baby wants to breastfeed, are they going to quickly and willingly LEAVE your home so that you can breastfeed in the privacy and comfort of your space? Or are they going to hang around outside, waiting for you to be done, and knocking every so often wanting to know if they can come back in? Yeah, that’s great for breastfeeding.
Or better yet, are they going to blow you off, saying “it’s no big deal”, and expect you to breastfeed in front of them? Even experienced moms need several weeks of practice to get good at it, so to speak, so that they can breastfeed wherever they want. Learning to breastfeed is not a time for people to ogle and stare at you.
When your breasts are engorged and painful and you want NOTHING to touch them, what then? Does your dh think it will be okay for his dad to stare at your huge naked breasts as you walk around topless?
What if your birth is smack in the middle of their trip? So what are they going to do the first few days, before baby? Are they going to sit and stare at you, waiting for the big moment? Then what? Are they going to camp out in your hospital room every day, all day? Yeah, that’s great for resting. What happens when you leave the hospital and they beat you to your own home, and all you want to do is lay down in your own bed? Are they going to leave graciously, or are they going to sit in your living room, eating your food, messing up your house, and making noise, so you can’t nap?
Does your DH normally allow people to invite themselves over to visit you guys without even ASKING? You guys are setting yourselves up for a lifetime of this. Then you will be blamed when you try to tell them that it is not a good time for you.
Does your DH understand ANY of these things?? Does he not understand that it is NOT about entertaining guests, but about recovery from a major medical procedure (either vaginal or c-section)? Does he not understand that you just grew another human being in your body, and will have just gone through the process of getting it out?? This is going to be an exhausting, messy, wildly hormonal time. Does he not get that??
Who Can Even be on the List to be Considered to Stay at Your Home After Childbirth by Sharon1964
You know, nobody gets to stay in your home after birth unless they are helpful. So is his mother going to…. wash your bloody underwear in the sink? Clean and disinfect your toilet and perhaps the bathroom floor after you spend time in there? Clean up lemon size blood clots that come out of your vagina if you need help? Get hot washcloths and lay them on your naked engorged breasts? Hold a cold wet washcloth on the back of your neck when you break out in a sweat all over?
Is she going to cook for you and clean for you and do the laundry, and make sure you are stocked with diapers and wipes and clean blankets? Is she going to allow you to breastfeed in private in your own living room by either going to her room or going outside? Is she going to allow you to pick up your own crying baby? Is she going to ASK you if you would like her to get the baby for you since you may be sore? Is she going to disappear when you want alone time with your new baby and your husband? Is she going to refrain from giving you advice but instead ask you what you need?
And what’s his dad going to do? Is he going to cut the grass and take out the garbage and make runs to the store for juice and milk? Is he going to wash the car or walk the dog or change the cat litter box?
No? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
My family, who lives 45 mins away, has already agreed that they will not come for visits after the birth unless I ask first. My mother will make me tons of 미역국 (mi-yuk-gook, or Korean seaweed soup, which is traditionally served to new mothers to replenish and clean their blood supply) and will deliver lots of other food that I may be craving. If I end up having a c-section, or a very difficult delivery, I may even ask her to stay with us for a few days until I am mobile.
J’s parents will most likely visit for at least 2-3 months, but they will not be staying with us because the guest room will be turned into a nursery (they will be staying at J’s brother’s place which is 10 mins away). However, they have expressed that they would like to visit as much as possible because they don’t want to leave me alone with the baby when J goes back to work.
The problem with this is that as much as their intentions are well-meaning, I am not so sure that I want my in-laws (or anyone, for that matter) around for extended periods of time after I give birth — for the reasons stated in the Lemon Clot Essay, and because I am a very introverted person who likes and needs my alone time.
I am also concerned that I am at higher risk for post-partum depression due to my history with major depression. While my family is fully aware and understanding of my depression, I’m pretty sure that my in-laws do not even know about it. I would be forcing myself to mask my emotions and symptoms, adding a lot of stress to my already-fragile body and psyche.
And as caring as my MIL can be, she just isn’t my mother. I can never ask her to scrub the stains from my underwear, or to apply warm compresses to my breasts…or to even freely show her my breasts!
However, I don’t want to deny them of their first grandchild either, especially seeing as they live so far away…
How did all moms handle family, in-laws, and friends visiting after birth? What would you recommend?
Even if you are not a mom, how would you handle the situation?