With the news that I was pregnant with our first child, my husband and I discussed how we wanted to welcome him into this world, and we decided that we wanted to have what we called a ‘babymoon’. To us, this would mean no visitors, no guests, no interruptions, nothing for the first week after the birth of our baby; And it sounded so comforting and wonderful! I was thinking that it would give the three of us time to ‘bond’; valuable time to learn how to be a new family with our adorable new little baby. I was excited to share the idea with friends and family and my husband was completely on board from the beginning.
Now that my son is 8 weeks old, I’ve had the chance to reflect on our ‘babymoon’, and I must admit that it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting it to be. Not only was the first week at home with our son a total blur, but it went by so quickly that the whole ‘bonding’ idea didn’t happen exactly as I had wanted it to. When I was pregnant, I had pictured a blissful week: my labour would go well (of course!) and I would be home that same day with my little dude, we would all lay in bed for days just lovingly staring into each others eyes, my husband would bring him to me to nurse, and we would all take long, restful naps, it would all be calm and happy and filled with happy tears and joy. Unless you are pregnant with your first child, you all know how misguided I was! Although my labour did go as planned and I was home that very same afternoon, we were all so exhausted and so overwhelmed and had so much to LEARN about each other that there were only fleeting moments of calm. Bonding? Ha! I was lucky to use the adrenaline rush from giving birth to stay awake long enough to nurse him. There were tears. Lots of tears, probably more from me than from our newborn. My husband and I would congratulate each other if we were able to eat a meal before 2pm each day. There was also the confusion of others wondering when they were permitted to come and visit, though I will say that everyone respected our decision and our first few visitors did ask before coming by to make sure we were ready.
So, would I do it again if we were to have more children in the future? Absolutely. I respect that every single person is different and therefore what you want and need in the first few days after the amazingness of giving birth will be different, but it was right for us. I think our week-long ‘babymoon’ gave me and my new family the necessary privacy to get acquainted and get through the major struggles (breastfeeding, figuring out what on earth our baby wanted..) without having to worry about seeing other people and showing them how much we didn’t know what we were doing! I was able to deal with the physical trauma of giving birth and begin my recovery in private under the care of my midwife (who was allowed to visit, of course). The hours flew by and when the week was up I honestly didn’t realize it had been a full 7 days already. But I can’t imagine how draining it would have been if we were playing host to guests and visitors at the same time!
Babymoon? Make it what you want it to be. And, good luck explaining it to the grandparents-to-be!
Lindsay is a first time mommy to 8 week-old Kienan and is a public servant with the federal government. She is originally from Calgary, AB and moved to Ottawa with her husband 3 years ago. She loves spending time with her new family!