Last night I got to have a chat with Rhea, who is three flavours of awesome. One is that we have known each other for over 25 years. The second is that she is now a registered midwife and catches babies over in Ontario, so she is always able to give me a good perspective on my pregnancy. The third is that she's just a freakin' awesome person, the kind of friend everyone deserves to have.
So, last night Rhea was telling me all about the concept of a Babymoon. The section below is my interpretation of what she said.
When two people get married, they go on a honeymoon. The people around them respect and understand that they need some time alone together, to adjust to their new relationship and to get to know one another as husband and wife. People don't call throughout the honeymoon period to ask how the sex is, or drop by unannounced to help out!
When a baby is born, it is even more important to have that time together - a new family has been formed, a new dynamic created, and the people involved have to take time to get to know one another. Yet somehow in our society we have lost this tradition. People are excited about the baby and want to come and meet him or her. And new parents end up spending more time playing hosts than learning how to be parents.
I advise my clients to embrace the babymoon as much as possible. You knew your partner for a long time before you decided to move in together, right? Well, your baby is moving in - in fact, has already moved in - whether you like it or not. You can take the time at the beginning to get to know the baby, or you can pay for it later.
My rule is: 5 days in the bed; 5 days on the bed; and 5 days around the bed (meaning, you are not leaving the house). Those first 5 days, your only jobs as a new mom are to breastfeed, sleep, and recover from birth. It's wonderful if someone else can bring meals and then discreetly disappear so that you and your partner can just stay in bed as much as possible, spending time with the baby and adjusting to being parents.
The second 5 days, mainly you are on the bed. Maybe you're dressed, maybe you're not actually in the bed sleeping, but you're not straying too far from the bedroom, either. Mostly you're relaxing, interacting with your baby, and caring for her.
The third 5 days, you're starting to expand your cocoon to include the rest of the house, but you're still not venturing out. You still want to nap whenever the baby does, so to take advantage of that you're not straying too far from your bed.
During these 15 days, shut out the rest of the world. Change your voicemail to let callers know the important facts about the birth and the baby - change it as often as you want to. Turn off the ringers. Put a note on the door that says, "Please don't knock, we're napping" and invite guests to leave a note so that you can call them back when you're ready.
Then, on the 16th day (or so), you throw an open house.
Everyone's who's been calling and dropping by for the past two weeks gets invited to come by from 2 to 4 pm and meet your new baby. They get in with a meal, and they get out by doing a chore. Have a job jar ready so you don't have to actually ask someone to scrub your toilet, it's just the "luck of the draw".
By the time the open house day rolls around, you are confident in your roles as parents, and won't feel awkward trying to soothe or change a baby in front of half a dozen people who are all itching to pipe up with advice. You'll be aware of the baby's schedule, so you can arrange the open house to coincide with a happy awake time, and fall between feeding times, so you don't have to try to nurse in front of a crowd.
Doesn't that all sound wonderful? I think everyone deserves a babymoon!