Some people describe childbirth as a marathon, and in some ways that's a totally accurate analogy. But it's also like one of those obstacle races, where you don't know what's going to happen, you get covered in fluids, and when you're done you definitely need a shower. So, when I made it across the finish line, all I wanted to do was meet my little one, snuggle, and have some damn privacy. Unfortunately, in my case, people had other plans. There are some things that are just cruel to do to a mom during the golden hour, you guys. Seriously, and unimaginably, cruel.
The first hour after birth can be a really magical, special time for you and your baby, but for some moms, including yours truly, the golden hour wasn't all that "golden." After your baby is born, and if all goes according to "plan" are there are no labor and delivery complications that require immediate medical attention, your needs are actually pretty simple. Once it was established that my baby and I were OK, all I really wanted was some privacy, some hard-earned baby snuggles, and something to eat. Instead, I was rushed, had visitors walk in when I was topless, vulnerable, and so not ready for company, and even had someone who shall not be named post a birth announcement on social media before the freaking epidural had even worn off.
There are some things you just shouldn't do to a new mom during the golden hour, my friends. Moms have worked 40 weeks (more or less) and countless, grueling, painful hours to experience the moment they hold their baby for the first time. Don't ruin it by doing the following things:
Violate Her Privacy
People have a tendency to treat new moms like crap, and it starts from the beginning. Once you give birth, suddenly it feels like your needs don't matter. They walk in when you are topless and exposed, poke and prod you, are blunt, and frankly, treat you like you're a stupid sub-human with no right to complete bodily autonomy.
The postpartum nursing staff at the hospital where I delivered my first baby didn't even knock before they entered the room, and kept leaving the curtain open so anytime the door opened, people got a nice view of my naked body in all of its postpartum glory. I honestly left the hospital as soon as they let me.
Allow People To Visit
The last time I gave birth I didn't have a single visitor post-delivery. It was so freaking awesome. I wish I had insisted on some visitor-free time the first two times I gave birth. Instead I felt like I had to host a party in the delivery room with my bits hanging out and before I could collect myself. It sucked
Force Her To Breastfeed
As a mom with insufficient glandular tissue and undersupply, I knew that I would need to supplement with formula when my youngest two babies were born. It was so frustrating and hurtful to have my feeding plan questioned by everyone who walked in the room. No one has to breastfeed. The person with the breasts gets to decide what to do with them, and pressuring, questioning, or shaming them about their decision is cruel.
Make Her Rush The Process
When the nurses came to examine me and wheel me to the postpartum wing, it felt like I was an item to cross off their checklist instead of their patient. Not a single person asked me what I wanted or needed.
Refuse To Let Her Order Food
I was freaking hungry after birth. I hadn't eaten in over 24 hours and, for the record, ice chips are not sufficient to fuel child birth. Not only did no one tell me I could order food, but when I asked the kitchen was closed so my husband had to run out and get something. Not cool.
Hold The Baby Before She Gets A Chance
With the exception of necessary medical tests or recovery time, moms get to hold their babies first.
Post A Birth Announcement On Social Media
New parents get first dibs on making birth announcements. My sister had posted a birth announcement on Facebook while I was spending some one-on-one time with my baby and, you guys, I was pissed. It hurt to open Facebook and see that she had taken our moment. I will never get that back.
Violate Her Bodily Autonomy
Between labor, birth, medical tests, and "help" breastfeeding, the only person I wanted to touch or be touched by after childbirth was my baby. Maybe my husband — if he was lucky. But, I definitely didn't want grabby lactation consultants squeezing my boobs without permission or postpartum nurses pressing down on my uterus without even warning me. Give me a moment, or an hour, of snuggle time, and ask first.
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