So you’ve had your baby, just like that, easy peasy. (Spoiler alert, it’s not that easy peasy). In those first few days/weeks, you might want everyone to visit straight away so you can show off your precious cargo. Or, like I was, you might want to hunker down with your partner and baby and hide away from the world for a bit while you get your mental and physical shit together…
Either way, at some point, people will want to see your baby and you suddenly find that your world is no longer just yours. And just like that, your world opens up (or more accurately, it is prised open).
Before Baby, it was completely fine to say ‘no’ to invitations or plans if they didn’t suit you. You were in control of your time, you didn’t need to see people all the time if you really didn’t want to – you could even lie your way out of doing something if you just didn’t want to do it (yep, I know we’ve all done it!). Now though, this baby has opened up your world – for now, their world is your world – and people want to visit this new expanded world as much as possible. Sure, you can still say ‘no’ and you could even still lie your way out of things, but somehow when there’s a baby involved who should really get all the chances to meet and greet his/her adoring fans it feels more…. wrong? Selfish? Sigh.
Okay, so on the one hand, it’s so lovely that your baby has so many people who care. I love that my daughter has this ready-made network of brilliant people who are just desperate to tell me how amazing she is (I couldn’t agree more), who want to nurture her, to guide her, to watch her grow. But on the other hand, no I don’t want people to come over every day needing tea and biscuits and conversation and no I don’t want to get dressed and go to another party or event. Sometimes I just want to choose vegging on my sofa in my pyjamas with my baby and my partner watching TV. Part of this is just me wanting my time uninterrupted (definitely selfish!) but part of this is also me just wanting uninterrupted time with my lovely little family in our lovely little world (definitely not selfish).
It’s really hard to keep your world protected when people are asking, most with genuine love and interest, to see your baby. It’s something I have grappled with and continue to grapple with a year on from my daughter’s birth. I am a friendly, sociable person with a wide group of friends and family, but I am also fiercely protective of my privacy and my home has always been my sanctuary – my escape from the world when it all gets a bit too much. And now I find it being invaded by well-meaning family and friends – some who know me well enough not to invade too often and others who just have no awareness that their presence may have a negative impact.
At the end of the day, I have chosen to bring my daughter into the world and with that I know I have to accept that this is all part and parcel of the journey. I was completely unprepared for it though and I’ll probably never quite make peace with it. It can be a minefield of carefully thought through decisions and conversations to avoid causing offense or upset which on top of raising a child can be bloody exhausting! But I know it will get easier as my daughter grows up and she starts to create her own world away from my world. And then I’ll probably write another, much longer blog about how sad I am about that and how I wish she was still completely, one hundred percent part of my world.