Overwhelming, joyful, exhausting, exhilarating … did we mention overwhelming? Bringing a new life into the world is an emotional roller-coaster ride. You want help and to share your joy with others, but you also might want a little space to adjust and heal. That’s why having a plan ahead of time for how to welcome well-wishers can make all the difference. Ready to get started? It’s time to make your meet-our-baby plan!
Before you start putting together your meet-our-baby plan, take some time to consider who should have input. Maybe it’s just you and your partner making the decisions. Or maybe you would value opinions from a family member or friend. Whatever the case, make sure you and your planners are on the same page, and don’t let outside influences sway you.
No matter what the event, planning ahead is key. In the weeks before your due date, talk with your circle about who will do what during or after the delivery, including your decisions about when and where each person will get to meet your bundle of joy. By managing expectations early on, you can help prevent misunderstandings, hurt feelings, frustrations and unwelcome surprises at the time of the birth.
Whatever you do, don’t wait until your water breaks to have these conversations! Emotions will be running high—and you will likely be exhausted and pretty uncomfortable (to put it mildly)—which is the perfect storm for confusion and conflict.
Needless to say, deciding who will be in the delivery room during the birth is a very important and personal decision. Whether it will be just you and your partner, or you alone, or your partner and 10 of your closest friends, be sure to set some ground rules in advance. Things to consider are: Will someone video the birth? Will someone take photos? What images are okay to share, and what images aren’t? It’s also a good idea to check with the hospital about its policy on how many people are allowed in the delivery room.
Once your baby has arrived, someone will need to share the big news with family and friends. Sounds simple, but here are some tips: Choose your bearer of good news ahead of time. Make him or her a list of who to contact and how to reach them (text, phone, email). Let your spokesperson know what details to share and which ones not to. Now’s also the time to be crystal clear about whether or not you are open to visitors at the hospital. Remember, even if you’d planned on having visitors doesn’t mean you have to follow through if you feel differently than you thought you would. Be kind to yourself.
When you finally settle in at home, you will likely be sleep deprived and in the process of healing—a.k.a., needing a little help. As part of your baby plan, designate your helper(s), and be specific about what you think you’ll need help with—running errands, doing laundry, changing diapers or all of that and more. If you have other children at home, consider arranging for family members and friends to spend some time with them. It will give you a break, and your older children will get the attention they are likely craving during this hectic time.
Having numerous loved ones eager to meet your baby during his or her first weeks of life is a wonderful “problem” to negotiate. But it’s still a negotiation. Consider if you’d welcome a steady stream of visitors during this time or if you would prefer to have someone host one big get-together instead. t8n
Tips for Communicating with Kindness
Stay positive—focus on what you want to happen, not what you want to prevent.
Have empathy—try to see the other person’s perspective.
Speak your truth—describe how a situation makes you feel, and connect that emotion with your request.