The first few weeks at home with my son were overwhelming. My husband and I (and the dog) were learning how to co-exist with a brand-new tiny human, and I was tasked with keeping him alive by forcing his actual food out of my actual body. I was hungry, I was anxious, and I was bleeding from multiple locations. I was also way too exhausted to articulate what it was I really needed from my friends and family. If and when I do it again, here are the things I will tell my earliest visitors.
1). You best bring food. Preferably pizza, but I should probably request something healthy, like a salad. So bring both. Actually, just bring things I can eat with one hand (but definitely still bring pizza). I have a newborn and no matter how prepared I thought I was for this, I’m still overwhelmed AF and am not really feeding myself real human food on a regular basis. Oh, my husband? He’s trying, too, but it’s like The Walking Dead around here. BRING FOOD!
2). Chances are good you’re going to see my boobs. They might be bleeding. If you can’t deal, stay home.
3). It’s okay if you cancel. Really. I’m pretty overwhelmed with all things baby, and I haven’t slept in days, and the lactation consultant says I’m also supposed to be pumping and that’s a whole thing. So a visitor canceling is kind of the best right now. That said, if you promised to bring food, at least have a pizza sent to my house, okay?
4). I might not want you to hold my baby. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you or trust you. It just means I’m probably feeling a little (or a lot of) anxiety about caring for this new life and I don’t want to let it go — even across the room.
5). I might absolutely want you to hold my baby. And if you do hold my baby, I’m gonna run for the hills. Or at least the bathroom. To be honest, I don’t want to sit and talk to you about my vagina or my boobs or the baby’s poop or the miracle of life. Again, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you or trust you. It just means I want to take those beautiful minutes to pee or shower or brush my teeth and this may be the only opportunity I’m going to have for a while.
6). Oh, you’re getting over a cold and aren’t contagious anymore and want to swing by and meet the new baby? Yeah right, I’m getting a restraining order against you. Newborns don’t have fully developed immune systems, so your “lingering sniffle” sounds like a state of emergency to me. Just send a text and come visit when you’re 100% (and bring pizza when you do).
7). Ask me what I need from Target. Oh you weren’t planning to stop at Target? Well, you are now. There is a 100% chance I need something. Maybe it’s a fresh pack of black cotton granny panties (I mean, unless you want to do my laundry while you’re here??), dry shampoo, or size 1 diapers because somehow this seven-pound baby keeps blowing out the newborn size.
8). Walk my dog and you will be the World’s Best Visitor and my new favorite person on earth. I promised myself I would be different than every other woman on earth in that my feelings toward my dog wouldn’t change once I had a baby, but to be honest, he’s kind of in my way right now and the fact that he has any needs at all is taking me over the edge. So, please, please, take this poor fur kid on a nice long walk. It might be the only one he gets for a while.
9). I might cry while you are here, and I won’t be able to tell you why. It’s probably some combination of exhaustion and breastfeeding stress and joy and hormones and anxiety. But if I have to explain it to you it will make me cry even harder so just hold the baby and hand me a slice of pizza already.