The perks of bringing home baby
By: Janya Veranth
When my son was born, people clamored to see him; friends from near and far, long-lost faces, even estranged relatives, all sought the peace, beauty and forgiveness of a newborn baby. My husband and I gently told people that we preferred not to have a lot of visitors at the hospital, but would gladly accept visitors once we were home and settled with our new bundle of joy. We figured that, with the hospital’s revolving door of nurses, obstetricians, pediatricians and lactation consultants, it would be best to minimize the traffic in those first few days as best we could. I had been given sage advice to stay in the newborn cocoon as long as possible as it is much like the womb; when you’re out, you’re out for good.
After a week at home alone, just me, my husband and our new son, we lifted the newborn veil. I was recovering well from my C-section, and I knew we couldn’t hold our friends and family back any longer. Once invited, they came in droves to hold, coo over and cuddle our baby. It was like we were housing a celebrity in exile; they just wanted to catch a glimpse of him and maybe, just maybe, snap a photo, too. I marveled at the healing power this new, little creature brought into our home. Rifts were magically healed, and any past grievances fell away the minute people laid eyes on him.
Visitors brought dinners, lunches, flowers and gifts. Some came and stayed too long, and some just left the food at the door- a real blessing. Everything was pre-made and ready to eat; warm, wholesome and oozing with love. Everyone that came spoke in a hushed tone, whispering gently as they spoke, taking such care to tread lightly around me, post- surgical new mother, and my son, the tender, buttery newborn. Offers were made to do my dishes, wash my laundry and run my errands. One dear friend even picked up my prescriptions at the pharmacy and wouldn’t let me pay her back. Nearly everyone offered to baby-sit my one-week-old, and I pretended I might take them up on it. It was bliss. And it was a severely short-lived moment.
Weeks went by, and friends and family got on with their lives; the food, the flowers, the offers to help all came to a screeching halt. Everyone assumed I had all the help I needed in the first two weeks, and I suppose I did; taking care of a sleeping, motionless newborn was pretty easy.
Now that my son is seven months old, I wonder if I can take those people up on their offers, especially the ones to make dinner, do my dishes, deal with my laundry and run my errands. And what, exactly, is the expiration date on “I just had a baby,” because that statement really seems to spring people into action. Now that our little celebrity is teething, pooping real poop and practicing his Napoleonic scream, I wonder who’d like to come over and baby-sit first?
Tell us: How have you adjusted after coming out of “the newborn cocoon?”