When you have a child, your entire life changes. Suddenly, you’re a parent and you have to learn a whole new set of skills—from making airplane noises while juggling a spoonful of food to juggling family life, your career, and finding free moments for those sweet, sweet naps. One thing that many new parents miss is having some time completely to themselves. Privacy is in very short supply in Parenthood Peninsula.
A big part of parenting, then, becomes learning to find the balance between time that you need for yourself, as well as your duties to your family and friends. It’s perfectly fine—even healthy—to ask for help when you need it. However, if you do ask someone for a favor, you have to be willing to treat them with respect. Especially if that ‘someone’ is your parents. A pregnant redditor, who has since deleted her account, turned to the AITA online community for a verdict on whether or not she was acting like a jerk. She asked her parents to come and help her once she’s given birth to the baby, but she flat-out refused to host them at her house (aka their former home). In short, she wanted them to be in town, in a hotel somewhere, but not actually living with her and her partner for a few weeks.
Scroll down for the full story and the reactions, Pandas. It’s one of those rare AITA stories where the author isn’t automatically judged to be a saint. Let us know what you thought of the situation and how you would have approached it in the comment section.
We reached out to labor and delivery nurse Holly D., who explained to us why there’s a need for healthy boundaries in the weeks leading up to the birth and what challenges moms can expect to face during the postpartum phase—the time after childbirth. You’ll find our full interview with nurse Holly below.
The periods leading up to the birth of your child and after it can be stressful. Healthy communication with your family is essential. If it breaks down, feelings can get hurt
A pregnant mom-to-be asked the AITA community for their opinion about a situation regarding boundaries and privacy
According to L&D nurse Holly, the postpartum period can be overwhelming, and she sees it both in a positive, as well as a negative light. She said that there is an “overwhelming amount of emotions, relationship shifts, new life roles, fluctuating hormones, physical healing, support, the list goes on.”
Taking on the role of a new mother is challenging. Meanwhile, you also have to adjust to the physical changes your body experiences in the days and weeks following the birth of your baby. “At times, the overwhelming amount of support from loved ones visiting you and baby can make you feel overwhelmingly supported or overwhelmingly stimulated,” nurse Holly told We.
Meanwhile, leading up to the birth itself, moms-to-be need to set healthy boundaries with their family members, as well as friends. “Healthy communication is KEY,” labor and delivery nurse Holly said. “A spouse or significant other can be helpful by being cognizant of mom’s wishes for what she would like her postpartum experience to be. It’s also equally important to understand that needs can change once you enter the postpartum period and you may need an army of support at home,” she said.
“My rule that I tell mom and dads when they verbalize they are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of all the guests once they return home is: ‘Anyone coming to visit once the baby is born comes with a cooked meal for new parents and does one chore in the house whether it’s folding laundry, holding the baby while mom takes a nap, does a grocery run, walks the dog, etc.’” It’s a great reminder for guests on how they can support the new growing family.
We also wanted to get Holly’s opinion on what family and friends should keep in mind before going to visit a newborn. “Ideally, it’s safe to visit a healthy newborn if you are not experiencing any recent illness. That seems obvious to say, but you would be surprised how many people need the reminder,” the L&D nurse told us.
“Always wash your hands before handling a newborn and use a receiving blanket as a barrier between guests and the newborn. I don’t believe there is a specific day that deems it as the ‘PERFECT TIME’ to see a baby, however, I do believe that guests should be responsible enough to understand that a minor cough for an adult can be a hospital stay for a newborn.”
While we should always be open to helping out a relative or a friend if we feel close to them, we should also be aware of any attempts to take advantage of us. Healthy relationships, whether they’re familial, professional, or romantic, are about give-and-take. They’re supposed to be a two-way street: perhaps not perfectly balanced, but with clear benefits for both parties.
If it’s only one side that continually sacrifices their time, energy, and money, it’s very unfair to them. One way to recognize whether your relationship is healthy or just has the illusion of being so is to ask for a spot of help. If they continually find excuses not to help you out, while also expecting favors from you, you might have to rethink the entire relationship.
Similarly, many redditors from the AITA community were appalled that the author of the post, who deleted her account after the backlash, expected her own parents to spend an exorbitant amount of money on hotels and Airbnbs. Meanwhile, the house that she’s living in actually used to belong to them. They’d sold it to her for a below-market price with the condition that they could stay over when needed.
It feels… fundamentally wrong that you wouldn’t allow your parents to stay with you when you ask them for support. Yes, everyone needs privacy and the time to adjust to parenthood; clear boundaries have to be established. But you can’t treat your own parents like they’re disposable, summoning them like servants, and then expecting them to be happy with that.
Something that helps in these sorts of situations is trying to imagine yourself in that person’s position. We very much doubt that the OP would have enjoyed being treated the way that she dealt with her parents. Hopefully, by the time December rolls around and the redditor gives birth, she’ll have changed her mind. Perhaps, the AITA community helped her realize the mistake she’d made.