I have a friend that had her first baby a few weeks ago. After waiting until she was ready, I went over to visit. When she was pregnant I made it abundantly clear to her that if I could change anything it would be allowing so many people to visit us in those first few weeks after Oakland was first born. It was fucking exhausting, it tired both Oakland and I out and I regret so much that I didn’t just tell everyone to fuck off and spend the time as a family unit, just Alee and I, bonding with our son. She took my advice and for the first few weeks she had no visitors (except her mother) and she spent the time bonding and learning the ropes as a new mum. Power to her.
It’s funny, after speaking with her I realised that people seem to all make this assumption that when you’ve had your baby, you’re sweet. As in, while you are pregnant it is all about mumma, everyone asks how you feel, do you need a seat? Are you hungry? How is your back? Are you sleeping? There’s nothing that is not fair game, people talk about your ever growing ass, touch your bump, make jokes about peeing all the time and about how your vagina will never be the same again. Then as soon as that baby is out it mum is left behind. Like when I had endless visitors, they expected me to be awake and entertain them, get up and walk around and be fine. No one takes into account that you may be stitched from asshole to breakfast and be in so much pain that it hurts to sit, stand, walk, pee or basically do anything. You are suddenly experiencing extreme sleep deprivation and will be exhausted. You may be grasping the idea of breastfeeding and how to do it (it is a resume worthy skill you know?). If you are breastfeeding you may not yet be confident enough to do this in front of guests, you and bubby need to get yourselves in sync first. You are also trying to establish a routine for feeding, sleeping and all the other fun stuff. This task is near impossible when you have endless guests. I remember in those first few days it was like everyone held my son except for me. I felt this guilt inside like maybe he didn’t even actually know who his mum was because there were so many people handling him. You have suddenly had all these hormones flushed out of your body and replaced with different ones, so one minute you are ecstatic then suddenly want to cry for no apparent reason. Yet no one acknowledges this. You’ve played your part now let’s all have fun with the baby. It’s like people think your life will just go back to how it was before, but with the addition of a child. There needs to be more recognition for how a new mum may feel in those days and weeks after giving birth.
I remember that Alee posted Oakland’s birth almost immediately. As in I was still in the birthing room being stitched up! I suddenly had my mum handing me a phone telling me my brother was on the line and wanted to talk. No mum, I literally have a midwife between my legs with a needle, threading what once was a vagina and now was a mess of skin and blood and things that do not resemble human body parts back into some semblance of my old self. She’s then telling me to call my dad interstate and tell him; still being stitched mum. I could hear my phone vibrating and going off the chain. Notifications were blowing up. I obviously ignored it as I was busy focusing on Oakland’s first feed, showering and washing away chunks of blood and placenta and god knows what, bonding, crying and all those other things you do when you finally give birth to your baby. Add to that we had the camera crew from Gold Coast Medical in the room interviewing me and filming everything.
Less than two hours after he was born I put my phone next to me to start getting photos once I was stitched and Oakland had latched properly. Would you believe people that I was not even close to were RINGING me? Alee had even posted the time he was born, so they knew he was an hour or so old. Why the fuck were they ringing me? I appreciated the hundreds of texts and Facebook messages. Those I could choose to ignore and reply to when I had time, but phone calls, really? People honestly have no idea. I know that any mum that messaged me knew they wouldn’t be getting a reply, it would have been a text just saying congrats, no reply needed mumma. It just goes to show that honestly, people are fucking idiots sometimes. Just no thought process at all. But I was fine right? Baby was out and now old Carly was back, full of energy and able to get on Facebook and chat. Sure, I had all the time in the world. Looking after my baby and bonding was not needed. I guess I shouldn’t have been mad, it was mostly people that were not parents that were the guilty parties. I suppose they know no different and should not be expected to. I really just wish I had been stronger though. If I could go back in time and change anything, it would be that. Visitors would be so ban-hammered from my house XXX. I am glad that my friend got to experience this though, it would have been so lovely. Well, if there is ever another Naughton-Fogarty in the works…