When you have a child, your whole life changes. Suddenly you’re a parent and need to learn a whole new set of skills — from hearing airplane noises while juggling a spoonful of food, to family life, your career, and finding free moments for those sweet, sweet naps. One thing a lot of new parents miss is having time to themselves. Privacy is at a premium on the Parenthood Peninsula.
So a big part of parenting is learning to balance the time you need to yourself with your responsibilities to your family and friends. It’s perfectly fine—even healthy—to ask for help when you need it. However, when you ask someone for a favor, you must be willing to treat them with respect. Especially if that “someone” is your parents. A pregnant Redditor, who has since deleted her account, reached out to the AITA online community for judgment on whether or not she was acting like an idiot. She asked her parents to come and help her after the baby was born, but she flatly refused to let her into her house (aka her previous home). In short, she wanted them to be in town, somewhere in a hotel, but not really living with her and her partner for a few weeks.
Scroll down for the full story and reactions, pandas. It’s one of those rare AITA stories where the author isn’t automatically judged a saint. Let us know what you thought of the situation and how you would have dealt with it in the comments section.
Bored panda turned to Birth and Birth Nurse Holly D., who explained why healthy boundaries are needed in the weeks leading up to birth and the challenges mothers face in the postpartum period—the time after the birth. Below is our full interview with Sister Holly.
The time before and after the birth of your child can be stressful. Healthy communication with your family is essential. When it collapses, feelings can get hurt
Photo credit: Jonathan Borba (not the actual photo)
A pregnant mother-to-be asked the AITA community for their opinion on a border and privacy situation
Photo credit: Bruno Maceiras (not the actual photo)
Photo credit: Anna Shvets (not the actual photo)
Photo credit: [deleted]
According to L&D nurse Holly, the postpartum period can be overwhelming, and she sees it in both a positive and a negative light. She said there was an “overwhelming amount of emotion, relationship shifts, new life roles, fluctuating hormones, physical healing, support, the list goes on.”
Taking on the role of a new mom is challenging. In the meantime, you’ll also need to adjust to the physical changes your body is going through in the days and weeks after your baby is born. “Sometimes the overwhelming amount of support from loved ones visiting you and your baby can make you feel overwhelmingly supported or overwhelmingly stimulated,” nurse Holly Bored Panda said.
In the meantime, expectant mothers need to set healthy boundaries with their family members and friends before giving birth themselves. “Healthy communication is KEY,” said birth and delivery nurse Holly. “A spouse or significant other can be helpful if they know the mother’s wishes for her postpartum experience. It’s equally important to understand that once you enter the postpartum period, needs can change and you may need an army of support at home,” she said.
“My rule, which I say to Mom and Dad when they verbalize that they feel overwhelmed at the thought of all the guests when they come home, is, ‘Anyone who comes to visit when the baby is born, comes with a cooked meal for new parents and does some chores around the house, be it folding laundry, holding the baby while mom naps, going shopping, walking the dog, etc.’” It’s a great reminder for guests to how to support the newly growing family.
Bored Panda also wanted Holly’s opinion on what family and friends should consider before visiting a newborn. “Ideally, if you don’t have a recent illness, it’s safe to visit a healthy newborn. That seems obvious, but you’d 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 think there is a specific day that is considered the ‘PERFECT TIME’ for a baby, but I do believe guests should be responsible enough to understand that a mild cough for an adult can mean hospitalization for a newborn .”
While we should always be ready to help a relative or friend when we feel close, we should also be aware of any attempts to take advantage of us. Healthy relationships, whether family, work, or romantic, are all about give and take. They are meant to be a two-way street: perhaps not perfectly balanced, but with clear benefits for both sides.
If only one side is constantly sacrificing time, energy and money, it is very unfair to them. One way to tell if your relationship is healthy or just has the illusion that it is is to ask for help. If they keep making excuses for not helping you while still expecting favors from you, you may need to reconsider the entire relationship.
Similarly, many Redditors from the AITA community were appalled that the post’s author, who deleted her account after the backlash, expected her own parents to spend an exorbitant amount of money on hotels and Airbnbs. Now the house she lives in actually belongs to them. They had sold it to her at a price below the market price on the condition that they could stay overnight if necessary.
It feels…fundamentally wrong that you don’t allow your parents to stay with you when you turn to them for support. Yes, everyone needs privacy and the time to adjust to parenthood; Clear boundaries must be drawn. But you can’t treat your own parents like disposable items, summon them like servants, and then expect them to be happy with that.
One thing that helps in such situations is to try to put yourself in that person’s shoes. We highly doubt the OP would have enjoyed being treated the way she treated her parents. Hopefully she’ll have changed her mind by the time December arrives and the Redditor gives birth. Perhaps the AITA community helped her see the mistake she made.
Here’s how people reacted to the post