One thing that you may be thinking about now that you are pregnant is who will be at home with you and for how long during those first few weeks after your baby is born. For many people, a spouse or partner will be able to be at home for a week or two, or even longer. That is a good thing, because it not only gives them time to get acquainted with the baby, it gives you a set of helping hands as you learn how to balance baby care, self care, and other things like cooking and cleaning.
During my first pregnancy, I attended childbirth classes. At one of the classes, we talked about what we would all be doing in the weeks after our babies were born. I was surprised by how many of the couples in the class were going to have other guests in their homes for a few weeks after the babies were born.
After we heard about everybody else’s plans for hosting guests around their babies’ arrival dates, my husband and I looked at each other, confused. Were we missing out on something by not inviting other people to stay with us and help us out when our baby arrived? We talked about it and decided that we were actually glad that no one had asked us about an extended visit close to Dylan’s anticipated arrival.
Both of us love our parents dearly, but we also really wanted to make sure that I was ready to handle all things home and baby related on my own by the end of my husband’s two week “paternity leave”. His parents and siblings live locally, so they would be able to visit us easily. My parents were planning to come as soon as Dylan was born, and perhaps spend one night at an area hotel before returning home. They only live three and a half hours away, and while they were eager to see their grandson, they wanted us to be able to get used to being a family without too many other people around.
Once Dylan arrived, we were very happy to have the time at home to ourselves. There was much to learn, and we had the space to do that together with minimal interruption. My husband was very helpful, and after the first week, I started “practicing” what it would be like when he went to work even though he was still home. By the time it was time for him to return to work, we were both confident that I had everything under control.
Friends that have had extended visitors in their homes when their babies were born have given the experience mixed reviews. One friend had her mother in law visiting for a couple of weeks, and she felt like her mother in law was a bit overbearing. While her mother in law was also helpful, she felt overwhelmed when she left and she had to take care of everything herself. Another friend whose mother came to visit her had a similar experience. Deciding whether to have long term guests when your baby is born is definitely a matter of personal preference, as well as how you think that you will feel when you bring your baby home.