Too Many Visitors During Pregnancy
I’m feeling a little bit frazzled (maybe being 27 weeks pregnant has SOMEthing to do with that). My issue is visitors, a topic that I know you’ve covered eloquently before, but I’m hoping you can help me (and other mommies-to-be) figure out if I’m being unreasonable – and also direct me toward some tips for how to say “No” gracefully.
My husband and I live in a small-ish home with one bathroom and an extra guestroom/office. Both of our families live in different cities that are a plane ride away. Over the past year, it’s just somehow transpired that we’ve had a LOT of visitors to our home… about one person or family every 3 weeks or so. I got pregnant during this time (surprise!), so it also happened to shake out that we had a visitor about every 2 weeks during my first trimester. These were all pre-planned visits by people we love very much and WANTED to see… but it quickly started to feel like I was running a bed and breakfast – and I’m now feeling at the end of my rope.
As I begin my third trimester, the requests for visits have continued. No one has been pushy, and no one has requested a lengthy stay. They all want to come out of love or to “help us get set up for the baby”… but I’ve just… had it. I’ve had it. We’ve had a revolving door to our home (including throughout some of the difficult times of my early pregnancy) and I just don’t want to see anyone right now. Is this abnormal? Maybe the hormones are making me antisocial? I am generally a private, introverted person and visits take a lot out of me. I’m always a little stressed about entertaining, and even when my houseguests are wonderful/low maintenance, I still feel concerned about making conversation, whether they’re enjoying themselves, what we’ll do for dinner, etc. The thought of hosting any more people in my last trimester makes me want to weep.
But how can I say no? I really do love everyone that has come – they’ve been dear friends and our closest family. And some of the people that want to come in the next couple of months have even offered to stay in hotels or with other friends, which is very considerate, but the truth is… I still feel over it. I’m working until my due date at both a full-time and a freelance job, I want to spend time with my husband, and he and I have a lot to do with readying our home, making a new budget and talking through this upcoming development in our lives. I just don’t want to devote my last remaining weekends to visitors – even “helpful” ones. Is that selfish?
Amy (and community), first of all: am I being oversensitive here? I know having many people that love us and want to support is a wonderful problem to have – should I just suck it up? And second: how can I say no to future visitors while really, really expressing how much I love and appreciate them?
(And in case you were wondering, we’ve already been working at setting boundaries for AFTER the baby is born by putting out a 2 week “no visitors” buffer after delivery. That one has been hard too – but it seems like people understand it a little better.)
Many, many thanks,
This hotel is closed.
Say no! Say nooooooo. Say no thank you, but no.
You are not being unreasonable or oversensitive.
I’m not even pregnant and reading your first couple paragraphs stressed ME out. It sounds exhausting and NATURALLY, anxiety-inducing, because I’m like you: Even hosting/entertaining the most fun, easy-going people who I love more than anything still requires mental and physical work and energy. Do they know where the towels are? Do we have clean pillowcases? Are they bored? Is it rude if I sleep in a little instead of rushing downstairs to make coffee/breakfast? How late are they going to stay up? Are we going to run out of hot water? What diet restrictions do we need to work around?
(And knowing how pregnancy works, I bet you end up craving the exact thing your guests can’t or won’t eat and gaaaahhhh rage.)
So. It’s okay to say no.
You don’t even need to make some big “NO VISITORS ALLOWED GO AWAY” announcement or rule. Just tell people you’re busy.
For people offering to stay elsewhere, with other friends, you can — if you WANT to see them just not in a full-weekend hostess/city guide capacity — manage expectations: “We could get dinner together one night that weekend, but that’s probably all I’m up for at this point.”
But otherwise, just tell people you’re booked up for the next couple months, or be honest and tell them you’re just not feeling up to visitors and entertaining, and that you guys really don’t need any help “getting set up” for the baby. The “busy” line is actually true, because you’re busy CREATING LIFE, life that is getting kind of big and pokey and heavy at this point. It’s okay to shut down the social calendar and take some mental health weekends. It’s totally okay to want to spend your last pre-parenthood weekends with just your husband. What YOU want and feel like your body/brain needs right now takes precedence over everything else.
Expect your dear friends and family to UNDERSTAND
And you know what? If all these dear friends and wonderful family members are as dear and wonderful as you say: They will understand. They will not need you to word everything perfectly, or immediately reassure them that your saying no to a single weekend visit means you don’t love them or ever want to see them again. You’re in your third trimester and need to take it easy, so it’s just not a really good time right now. The end! Understood!
Anyone who would get pissy or pushy after being told, “sorry, now’s not a good time” is not a dear or wonderful person, and definitely doesn’t deserve a spot in your office guestroom. (Or weighing on your people-pleasing conscience. Forget them.)
You can also tell them — if it’s true or doable — that you guys are planning to make trips to each side of the family’s cities with the baby as soon as you can. Maximize your time by seeing as many people as possible and (hopefully) stem the rushing tide of everybody coming to see you (and your ONE BATHROOM) individually, week after week because BABYYYYYYY.
But for now: Just say no. It’s okay, really.
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More pregnancy and postpartum visitor advice on Alpha Mom: