No, you can’t visit my newborn baby
I was the mum-to-be that went there. We’d been through so much to conceive our daughter, Cassie, and were so excited to meet her. But I was very anxious, too.
We had experienced loss, I had read about loss, and I was only all too aware that it could happen to anyone. All I could do was pray it wouldn’t be us and take as many precautionary measures as possible.
So I was the mum-to-be who made that Facebook group and invited all my friends into it. I announced to them that if they hadn’t had the whooping cough vaccination, or if they were even vaguely sick, we would prefer they didn’t visit our baby.
Not many of my friends have had babies – we were one of the first. I’m sure many of them thought I was being a neurotic, over-the-top mum-to-be. And maybe I was, maybe I wasn’t. The one thing I know is that I am stubborn.
Not everyone understood
Some people did argue, and my husband and I agreed they were allowed to meet the baby, but absolutely under no circumstances were they having cuddles. And if they even had the hint of a cold – back off.
So I was that mum-to-be – and it didn’t come naturally. I wanted to show off my little girl when she arrived, and pass her around to be loved and cherished by family and friends. Yet there was this other side of me that knew I was the one that had to protect her the best way I knew how – and when she was a little newborn, this was it. She had no immune system, she wasn’t protected, and anything could be passed onto her. What could be a slight cough in my friends could kill my baby girl.
No vax, no visit
I saw other mums in mothers’ group put up posts about ‘No vax, no visit’. This wasn’t enough for me. I couldn’t risk friends or family not seeing my post and turning up on our doorstep with no vaccination and a slight cough. This was why I created the Facebook group and it’s why I am going to be doing it second time around with my next little girl.
Firstly, a huge burden was lifted off my shoulders once I passed this message on to family and friends. Having contacted them all on a personal level, I felt sure none of them would go against our wishes and I was halfway there to protecting our little girl. We had allowed them plenty of time to go and get the vaccination before she arrived, otherwise we stuck with our ‘you can look but you can’t touch’ philosophy.
A newfound confidence
When people showed up on our doorstep, I didn’t feel overbearing and rude when I asked whether they were feeling well. I felt like I was following up on my Facebook post and it was the least I could do.
Funnily enough, my best friend was one of those who hadn’t had her vaccination. She hated vaccinations and while she planned to get it, she kept putting it off. Sure enough, Cassie arrived and she was still unvaccinated. She turned up in the hospital room the day after the birth to visit our little girl. She was absolutely besotted. But she didn’t even ask – she knew that no vax meant no hold. I know it nearly killed her. She joked about how hard it was. But I never had to say a word. She knew our rules and she wasn’t going to ask us to break them.
It was a simple measure that really did put my mind at ease. Our little babies are so vulnerable in those first few weeks. All I wanted to do was hug Cassie against me and protect her from the world, and I want to do the same with our second little miss.
So to all my friends reading this, if you aren’t vaccinated – no cuddles allowed. And if you are sick, please stay away. I know we all love the snuggles, but in the long run, it just isn’t worth it.