Mom's Post About Waiting to Visit a New Mother in the Hospital Goes Viral
Katie Bowman is urging people to respect a new mom's wishes if she wants a couple of days to herself.
If a friend or family member just gave birth, rushing over to the hospital with balloons and flowers may seem like the right thing to do. But a viral post by Katie Bowman, who runs the blog Living My Family Life, reveals how overwhelming that can be and explains why you should wait before visiting a new mom at the hospital.
On Dec. 3, Bowman, a mom of three, shared a photo of herself roughly 24 hours after giving birth to her eldest child. "One or two days. Is that too much to ask for?" she wrote. Just one or two days for a new mother "to come to terms with the fact she had a tiny human emerge from her body," to "finally have a shower and wash the sweat and blood from her body, to "push through the pain of her sore nipples as she learns to breastfeed," and to "try to have some sleep because she is absolutely exhausted."
Bowman went on to write that going through labor is "one of the most painful, exhausting, and mind blowing experiences in your life," one that can take a real physical and emotional toll. Learning to breastfeed can be stressful, and you don't need any more people around when you're trying to get your baby to latch on. So it makes sense that the last thing you want "is for everyone to be bombarding your room to play pass the parcel, before you have even had a chance to recover."
According to Bowman, visiting a new mom in the hospital right away is self-indulgent, because "everyone wants the bragging rights to say they saw the new baby within 24 hours," and if the exhausted new mom says no, she's "a selfish, delicate drama queen."
While Bowman concedes that "some people can't wait to have visitors," and that having so many people want to come see her at the hospital made her feel very loved, she also didn't realize how hard it would be to ask people to wait a day or two. "You're too tired to argue, so you sit and wait for them to get their baby fix," she wrote.
She ended the post by urging people to respect a new mother's wishes, and to realize that seeing the new baby is a privilege, not a right.
Bowman's post quickly went viral, gaining over 91,000 shares in just two weeks. Many other moms related to the message, and shared their own stories.
"This picture breaks my heart," one Facebook user wrote. "Everything you said was so true. My husband's aunt and grandma still don't talk to us because I asked if they could wait a couple days to see our son because I was overwhelmed, and that was almost seven years ago."
"This makes me cry because it's so true," another Facebook user wrote. "I asked everyone to not come to the hospital. Not a single person listened. All I wanted was sleep and to cuddle with my new baby. When I finally expressed how stressed I was by everything and everyone, I was told how disrespectful I was being. I'm just really thankful that I'm not the only one who feels this way."
Yes, sometimes, expressing love and support means showing up. And, other times, it means staying away. Boundaries are important, especially in the wake of something as intimate as giving birth.