Updated: Nov 24, 2021
Bringing home baby is a life transition that requires firm boundaries to facilitate a speedy recovery and healthy emotional and physical adjustments. Sometimes these boundaries need to be set before baby even arrives...it could look like telling family that you will call them after baby is born so you don't have a barrage of texts while in the throes of labour. It could also look like 'set' times when family and friends can visit, so you don't have a house full of guests while you're attempting to ice a swollen perineum.
Just the word “boundary” can create a false sense of keeping yourself separate, but they're actually connecting points that provide healthy guidelines for navigating relationships. The separation can often happen if a boundary is crossed and someone feels they need to disengage to protect themselves.
Even if you haven't had a baby, you'll understand how COVID further complicates these expectations and boundaries. Do we tell people to wear a mask? Is it OK to ask if they're sick? Should we tell them to use hand sanitizer? What are their views on vaccinations or the pandemic? All of these questions can get amplified once you bring home baby. Can you relate?
Unless you're a pro, (which most of us aren't) boundary setting can feel complicated and awkward. I'll be the first to admit, I have never been great at setting boundaries...it feels awkward. Yet, as I've practiced this art of boundary setting, it's created healthier relationships and protected me from resentment and mental burnout. I realized it didnt need to feel clumsy, it just required me to acknowledge my need for autonomy in the swirl of others needs and requests. When I don't feel 'obligated', I work from a space of contentment, not a requirement to meet everyone's needs.
Boundaries can always be reassessed...they're never set in stone! Once you get accustomed to life with baby, you can shift your boundaries to what suites you and your family.
I have created a door sign that outlines boundaries for when you bring home baby and ways that others can help facilitate your recovery. Download the PDF to hang on your door, and share the love with other new parents or parents to be.