Saturday, June 13, 2009

"I'm in the hospital for a baby" etiquette...?

Yes, I do realize the title of this post is not grammatically correct (disclaimer), but it works for my purposes.  

In honor of a dear friend who just had a baby, I'm going to talk about Hospital Etiquette when someone is going to or has had a baby.  I realize this is a sensitive subject and everyone is so different that there is no possible way to appease everyone, but I will try.

For the Mom's to be:

  • This time is about your experience, your laboring to bring a life into this world.  It's a time that cannot be re-created or re-experienced.  You get one chance to spend time with the ones who are caring for you during labor and then with your sweet baby after delivery- remember that.
  • It's okay to say no.  There is no cause to be rude.  Although sometimes we have people in our lives who are pushy or overstep their bounds, we can plan ahead, thus helping to minimize the "drama", let me explain:  the day you are in labor is the wrong day to discuss with your mother-in-law that you'd rather she not be in the room as you're delivering your baby.  Think ahead of people who you need to discuss this with and have a candid conversation with them.  If you are unable to do so in person (because of fear or logistics), a sweet email, filled with excitement about the new baby and a clear invite or boundary given, will help ease that tension.
  • You need your rest:  This is more than an etiquette tip, it's advice from a mother of four.  I so enjoy company and love people, but the 48 or so hours we spend in the hospital with a newborn baby combined with the annoying (but necessary) interruptions of the hospital staff, do not create a restful environment to begin with.  Mix in all kinds of visitors and you're even more exhausted when you come home even if you thrive on people like I do. 

For the Visitor (family or otherwise):

  • Please respect that it is not the end of the world if you are not there for the actual labor and delivery of your grandchild.  Although I understand it may feel that way, it's simply not the time to be imposing on another person.  I remember my sweet mother-in-law and I having conversations about this when I was pregnant with my first child and I remember her being so respectful of my wishes.  I actually wanted her there just after, and we told the family we'd call them.  My husband's family as well as mine respected that and we had all of our family around us within hours of my son's debut into this world.  
  • Please don't ask if you can be there during labor and delivery- and don't just show up.  Again, this is a private thing, a painful thing, a wonderful thing.  There are so many emotions wrapped up into this event that make it special.  It should not be intruded upon by someone else, no matter who that person is.
  • Don't get your feelings hurt.  My wise mother always says, "remember it's not about you, it's about them".  I am a tender-hearted person and I wear my heart on my sleeve, so I understand getting my feelings hurt, but this is not about you, this is about the person who is holding that little bundle of joy...remember that.
  • Don't assume and bring children.  It's always best to not bring children to the hospital for so many reasons.  They press the call buttons, run around, bring germs along with their sweet faces...none of these things are appreciated.  A visit can always wait until they get home from the hospital so you can find someone to tend to your children to go and visit the baby and mother.
This by no means covers all things, but here are a few ideas.  I love to hear all about your experiences and the suggestions that you have to help.


Mrs. Priss said...

This was absolutely wonderful and I couldn't agree more with the points you made. I gave birth 7 months ago and my in-laws made the experience the most awful thing, what with my mother in law practically shoving her way into the delivery room because she "had the right". Umm, NO.

I really want to forward this to her, haha. "Just a tip for baby #2..."

My mom always says, "Manners aren't for you, they're for other people." Our moms sound similar. :)

Stephanie said...

I love being in the hospital for those 48hrs! I really like the quiet atmosphere too and the visitors! Ah, does that mean we shouldn't call you come Jan???? No worries, we'll call when we get back and Eric realizes the early morning workouts aren't working out. haha! : )

Rochelle said...

excellent points! thanks!!! I have a friend having a baby soon and it's especially helpful to me to have these reminders. I'm really close to her and it's good for me to be reminded there are good social boundaries for these things, and to not take personal offense to any of them. I really appreciate it!!!

glenna said...

Very well written!

Woman Interrupted said...

Great post. It inspired my post on Birthday parties and Labor and helped me verbalize what I already knew to be true...that I can deliver how ever and with whom ever I choose! No apologies necessary.

Üdo Ümami said...

Yoü are so good. These are very good tips... I wish you were in my pocket all day to help me communicate! I don't have any children or babies on the way... but if I ever do.. now I know! XoOX <3 Üdo