YOU have just pushed a small human out of you, you haven’t slept in days, you are sore, your boobs hurt and your hormones are all over the place.
Yet, people feel this would be a good time to come and visit you and your new baby.
No, people it is not.
The only thing you want to do in those first few weeks of motherhood is to try to figure out what the hell you are doing. You need a little space to get your head around the fact that you are now in charge of a tiny person. FOREVER.
The last thing you want to do is make tea and chat about how the baby looks just like great uncle Dick. All you really want is to sit in your dirty pyjamas, feed your child and Google stuff like ‘my baby hiccupped twice – is this normal?’
Besides, it is not like babies fresh from the womb are that interesting – they sleep, feed and poo. That is about it. Seriously, I can send you a picture of that.
But if you really must simply ‘pop in’ and welcome my little one to the world then at least adhere to the RULES.
1. DO NOT arrive unannounced to ‘give us a break from the baby’. We have known our child for two days. We do not need a break from her just yet. Give me a week or two and no doubt I’ll be begging for you to take her off my hands!
2. DO buy presents for ME! Not for the baby. I’m the one with the stitched up lady bits who did all the hard work. My daughter has spent the past nine months sitting on her arse. My need for gifts is greater than hers. Besides, all she cares about right now is milky breasts. So unless you can supply some of those then you really needn’t bother. And what’s with all the muslins? In no other situation would it be deemed acceptable to buy someone just out of hospital cleaning cloths as a bloody present.
Not to mention the ultimate insult. I can barely bring myself to type the words. NON-alcoholic ‘champagne’. Sparkling bloody grape juice! I have just endured nine long DRY months and then given birth! Do you not think I might need a proper drink? Sure, I am breastfeeding, but I can still have one glass (yes, I checked, by god, I checked).
3. DO wash your hands before you touch my baby. You may think you have clean hands until you meet the first time mother of a newborn. The brand new mum is highly adept in detecting dirt invisible to the naked eye. She is well aware that on every square centimetre of your hand there are 1,500 bacteria. And the moment you touch her baby’s face or, god forbid, let the baby suck your finger (why?) – she can see all 50,000 of those germy little tossers wriggling off your hand and into her baby’s brand new little mouth.
4. DO give support not advice. I might tell you I am finding motherhood tough. I may say I feel out of my depth. But do not take this to mean I need you to tell me how to feed/hold/change my baby. Thanks to the Internet, parenting books and the NHS, my head is filled with so much advice that I am already struggling to listen to my maternal instincts. So offer a shoulder to cry on, or a sympathetic ear, but please, no unsolicited advice.
5. DO NOT tell me that my baby looks just like her fat bald uncle/80-year-old grandfather or weird-looking cousin. So basically you are calling my baby ugly? No new mother wants to hear that. Fair enough, she currently looks wrinkly, blotchy and a bit like an alien. But just tell me she’s cute or say nothing.
6. DO NOT gender stereo-type my child. Just because I have a girl baby it does not mean I want to dress her up like a pretty princess, fill her room with princesses or for her to shit on princesses…
7. DO NOT enter my home unless you are armed with coffee and or/chocolate. Because, well derr..
8. DO NOT ask me questions about the future. Will you be getting her christened? When will she go in her own room? Will you be going to the NCT baby group? Where will she go to school? Right now, I can barely work out what I am doing tomorrow, let alone in three years’ time.
9. Do not take pictures the baby and post it on Facebook Chances are, I haven’t had time to sit down yet, let alone announce my baby’s birth on Facebook. So please do NOT do it for me. Let me tell the world about MY baby when I am ready. After nine months of pregnancy and hours of labour – I deserve it.
But if you have failed to put them off. If you have claimed sickness, exhaustion or ignored the phone – yet still they come, unannounced and disregarding all of the above rules, then there is one small consolation…
There is NO greater joy than watching visitors inhale your newborn’s (unwashed) hair and announce she ‘smells good enough to eat’ etc etc. Sniff my stale womb juice suckers!!