Visiting Friends with Babies

30 Jan

I just read a funny list on the Scary Mommy blog spot: Rules For Visiting a New Mom! It’s a detailed list of eleven suggestions for when you are planning to visit a friend who just had a baby. It’s quite snarky and bitchy, as evidenced by this particular suggestion:

• No summer dresses in winter. Don’t bring size-inappropriate-for-the-season clothing that suits your taste and not theirs. Babies grow fast. Use your brain.

The bitchiness and the snarkiness is one of the reasons why I like this list (because I often find nasty things to be quite funny!) Some of the comments express dismay at how ungrateful the author seems. Apparently she should just take the visitors as they come and be happy she has friends who make time for her. But I don’t agree because the author was speaking from her own experience (with impolite visitors) and expressing her own desires, albeit in a rather caustic way.

The entire list basically boils down to being a considerate friend. You know, call before you come over, ask if anything is needed, don’t stay too long, bring something useful (if you can afford it), and don’t expect to be served dinner/drinks. Just be a good friend. This is a good list because, even though the tone is rather malevolent, it’s also really helpful to people who have no idea what it’s like to have a newborn in the house.

The very day my mom came home from the hospital with my newborn brother, she was accosted by two clueless visitors who definitely expected to be entertained. My dad ran off somewhere to run an errand and my mom was left alone with a newborn baby, a two year old daughter who wanted mommy, and a clueless husband and wife team who wanted to be served drinks. My mom told them they had to leave and they were completely shocked!

I only had one awkward experience after coming home with my first born son. Everybody called before dropping over, nobody stayed too long, some people brought a little something, some people brought some food. Nobody started cleaning my apartment (as per one of the blog author’s suggestions), and that’s fine. That’s not something I would’ve wanted from my friends. I was happy to see my visitors and happy to let them hold my baby. Everybody was considerate.

Everybody except for one person.

One person stopped by without calling first. Picture if you will: a first time mom recovering from an incredibly painful labour and delivery. This poor mom is unshowered and laying in bed, clad in only underwear and a tshirt. The underwear is holding in the giant diaper-sized pads that sop up the lochia pouring forth from new mom’s battered lower half. The bed sheets are soaked with sweat as new mom goes through baby-growing-hormone withdrawal.

This new mom was me. Jason was with the baby and I was trying to sleep and not cry. I startled at the sound of our obnoxiously loud doorbell but I knew my husband would make my obvious excuses for me. I was safe in my dark little sweat soaked tomb.

But what’s this? A visitor at my bedroom door. The light turning on? Small talk? Is someone seriously telling me about their day at work while I lay immobile and imprisoned in my bed with my bloody underwear on display? Seriously?

Yes, that actually happened! I was in shock about it for weeks and I still feel shocked when I think back to it. Thankfully nothing quite as traumatic happened after the birth of my second child. Everything, except the increased lack of sleep, was awesome then.

I myself have only been to visit two mom friends with their newborns. I’ve never asked them if I was a considerate guest but I hope I was. How about you? Are you a considerate guest or do you walk in, grab the baby, and ask the bewildered and disheveled new parents if you can stay for dinner?

Does it look like this bloated postpartum mama is up for visitors?

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