After months of anticipation, the baby is finally here and it’s a sacred time for…
My husband and I are obsessed with the concept of home, so much so that we had the word inscribed on our wedding rings. Naturally, the moment we found out we were pregnant, our obsession grew. We wanted to create a bigger and more loving home for this whole new human to join the family. And we knew that would require a lot of space and flexibility to redesign family dynamics. Not to mention realigning ourselves as a party of three.
Being a new mom and a new dad with a brand new baby looks different for every family. For us, the first thirty days felt like a sacred time for some serious bonding and a chance to explore our new identities and roles. A time to find our new routine, get to know each other in this new family, and make a lot of choices. So, we created the “30-Day Rule,” an opportunity to be mindful as we adjust to parenthood and the changes that come along with it.
By treating our home as a postpartum sanctuary we did not only survive, we thrived.
The flip side to our decision to insulate ourselves is that it meant having no family or friends visiting during the first 30 days after giving birth. We did give ourselves permission to be flexible with this part in case we wanted to change our minds.
How did we come about this rule? Covid. To be honest, we were scared and wanted to take some control back by closing our bubble. And since there was an actual pandemic happening, we didn’t get much push back. And for that I am grateful.
By the time our daughter was born, we were in the midst of the lockdown in Germany, and had no idea when or if our family was going to be able to come. I was devastated when we accepted the fact that my mother and my in-laws were not going to be able to be at our birth. I wanted to share this experience with our families and I wanted them there for support.
Not to mention that I didn’t believe we would survive life with a newborn without help. We were first time parents and our minds and hearts were settled but unsure about so many things: breastfeeding, sleeping arrangements, postpartum physical and mental health, and so much more.
My husband and I both come from strong families. With lots of ideas and positions on how to do everything. Our 30-day rule gave us space as new parents to connect to and trust our own instincts. We are now our own family and we need to do what works for us.
Did we do everything perfectly? Heck no! Not even close! But limiting outside “opinions” and “advice” was like a new parent boot camp. Armed with constant communication and shelter from the world we got to know our new family. We realized there is a big difference between what we thought we’d feel and what we actually felt now that she was here.
It wasn’t easy or always smooth putting and keeping our 30-day rule in place. But it was worth it. If you are considering how you want to create boundaries with your own family and friends postpartum– or at any point– here are the three gifts that this sacred time and space gave our family.
A sacred space to find our footing and feel all the feels
I don’t know about you, but I had a lot– like a lot a lot– of feelings after having my daughter. I was tired, nervous, hormonal, scared, joyous, excited, terrified, and recovering. I didn’t have the energy or the space to manage anyone else’s feelings. I had capacity for only my daughter and I. Sometimes my husband’s feelings too.
Birth is a huge transition for us and also for our babies. Everything in this world is brand new, except us. They need endless snuggles, long breastfeeding sessions, and to find their space in their home to feel safe. And with more people around it would mean having to manage more feelings and expectations besides those of my daughter. I didn’t want anything to distract me from our transition together.
What did this time alone look like for us? A lot of naps, a lot of tears, a lot of fears that needed to be overcome. Mistakes, laughs, weird and delicious smells, and frankly tons and tons of falling in love. Falling in love with our daughter and re-falling in love with my husband in his new role as a father may be the most intimate experience of my life.
It isn’t always easy, but I am working hard to look at my body with love and gratitude. With time and patience I am falling in love with myself in this new role as a mom. (For more on getting to know your new body and self, this article has it all.)
Letting our community know how to best support us
It takes a village to raise a child. I know this to be true. And I am so grateful that I come from a family that, for better and worse, embodies that sentiment. FaceTime allows me to connect with my mom almost everyday. I miss her and crave her knowledge and mama-wisdom. I feel pulled to be close to her as I become a mama because I’m a newborn too. We also spoke to my in-laws often during that first month when it felt right for us. We tuned in to our feelings and ability to be fully present with each other whenever we reached out.
It was a difficult boundary to set. Everyone wants to get their hands on the baby and I don’t blame them! My daughter is delicious and so lucky to be so loved already. So, when we told our families about our plan, it was rough. At the end of the day our community, family, and support systems were happy to respect our wishes and support us in the way they felt aligned for us. Because that’s the thing, there is nothing more important than what is right for our family. Even if that means disappointing our parents and friends.
Holding the boundary
After those first thirty days as a family of three, we realized how much we gained as a family. We had uninterrupted time to align without the constant input of the outside world. We were able to see clearly what we all needed to feel centered and grounded in our new family.
So, we decided to keep this as a tool whenever there is a change or transition in our lives. Things like: going back to work after a year working at home, starting daycare, adjusting to these new routines. We now allocate time to honor and be present in these changes and transitions. Because they affect the entire ecosystem of our family and our home. This is our #1 priority and I am reminded of that everytime I look at my or my husband’s wedding ring.
This is definitely the hardest boundary we have ever had to set. Our friends and family eventually got on board. They see and respect that it works for us, and helps us be the best versions of ourselves. And even if it gets sticky sometimes, we owe it to ourselves to protect our sacred home.
If you’re feeling pulled in the direction of setting some boundaries or worry that saying no will hurt the people you love most, just remember that your truth — the part of you that knows what’s best for you and your family — is never the wrong decision. The people in your life will respect that, and you will likely feel nourished and strengthened in the process.
Looking for support and guidance on setting and holding boundaries, click here!