Having a baby at the holidays? Put your ‘tude & a cup of tea on simmer.

by heirtoblair on October 10, 2012

Picture 1 300x201 Having a baby at the holidays? Put your tude & a cup of tea on simmer.

Truthfully, having Harrison in October when I did was a masterful plan. At my old job, we only got Christmas Day off from work & having a baby in October ensured that I would be out on maternity leave the entire holiday season. & y’all know how I adore the holidays – I’m like Will Farrell in Elf, with a huge cup of coffee in one hand & a bucket of twinkle lights in the other. I daydreamed of sitting by the fire while my baby played on his mat or napped lazily in his swing, with Christmas cookies in the oven & me decked in a bright red sweater, looking cheerfully pretty.

The reality? I was a sweaty postpartum mess. I didn’t get Christmas cards out that year. The neighbors didn’t get goodies. I couldn’t squeeze into my dresses or sweaters yet. & instead of carols over the sound system, I had a screaming baby in my ear 13 hours per day.

I remember a shopping trip the day before Thanksgiving. I had waited & waited, praying that the kid would nap or snap into a good mood before I braved the store but the clock was ticking & he was the bomb ready to go off. So I ran to Target in my yoga pants that had spit-up on them & blazed through the aisles, only to stand in line with a screaming baby & beads of sweat rolling down my back, feeling the eyes of judgment all around. I threw together sausage balls & a pie that night & by Thanksgiving morning, I was passed out on the couch while everyone cooed at my baby.

Christmas & tacky sweater parties & church festivities – it was like the song that never ends, yes it goes on & on my friends.

I’ve learned my lesson, though.

A) Don’t plan maternity leave over the holidays if it can be helped.

B) Simmer down.

I should have cut myself some slack & gave a firm “no” at bringing anything other than the baby to any holiday gathering. If I brought a pie, it should have been a delightful surprise (mostly for me) other than feeling like it was a requirement. I should have handed off my baby to eager relatives & gone to nap in a back room rather than feeling like I had to put on a show of glowing new-motherhood. I should have bought a sweater that fit me that year but instead, I cringe to see the pictures of that year.

Maybe if you’re not all Type-A control-freakish, you’re thinking I’m a little bonkers for even thinking I could do all of that. If you are a Type-A control-freak, you’re probably nodding & thinking that is so me.

So to my lovely fellow freaks, pour yourself a cup of eggnog & have ye a merry little Christmas, even if you are a sweaty postpartum mess.

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Becky October 10, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I’m due Thanksgiving day with my second.

Our big plan is Cracker Barrel because I’m not dealing with hosting or driving to family.

Christmas is just us. I may see people after New Years but I’m hosting nothing and they must bring food. Preferably chocolate :)


Claudia October 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm

My sons first Christmas was spent in an incubator and he was a mere 15 days old. All we could do was sit there and hold him, wishing he could be home with us (he came home the following week, NYE). Last year he had turned 1 and I was 7 months pregnant with the second one. This year probably still won’t be fun, but I know next year will be amazing.


Jessica October 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Have an October boy myself! Christmas that year was a complete mess! I learned my lesson with the 2nd one though, born in January. I have really learned how to say no and to keep my mouth SHUT when offering up my services that, even as I speak the words, I’m dreading offering! It’s hard to say no when you are so used to doing some much “BB” (before babies). I’m just waiting for the first person to say… “What happened to the girl we so loved and counted on!” My mom actually asked me why I was “Half-assing” things lately… well… Cause I just really don’t care as much about that stuff now and I’m tired and busy with two munchkins! Some day i am looking forward to the Thomas Kincaid picture perfect christmas! (maybe when they are in college???)


Laura October 10, 2012 at 4:46 pm

My first baby was born in October and I surprisingly did okay, but not without a ton of stress and anxiety over having to “appear like everything was perfect”. This second baby will probably arrive December 15th and let’s just say I’ve already been a sobbing mess over it many of times. Let’s hope I can hold it together. Family will be here in my house approximately 2 days after I get home out of the hospital to celebrate Christmas with the new baby and my two year old. Hold me.


Therese October 11, 2012 at 9:37 am

What? People are going to your house to celebrate Christmas? Pull a Nancy Reagan & “just say no!” Poor woman, tell the family that you will see them in January!


Rose October 16, 2012 at 8:24 pm

My 1st son was born December 14th, just 2 weeks after we moved into a new house, and for some reason, both my family and my husbands thought it would be a great idea to spend the holidays with us. And by with us, I mean actually staying at our house. A new baby, new house, and 8 house guests…worst idea ever.


Nikki October 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm

So I never commented on your other blog. Mostly because it was waaaay too big and quite honestly, I didn’t think you read comments. But, I’m commenting now. (YAY!) :) Anyhow, I couldn’t help but laugh and nod as I read your post, which I guess makes me a crazy Type-A control freak….even if almost 3 years later, that darn red sweater STILL doesn’t fit quite right. Seriously, I need to give it up and donate that shiz to Goodwill. Darn…where was I going with this? … Yea, I dunno either. Let’s hope this holiday season is nicer to our waists and rear ends. :)


Heather October 10, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Aw, I had my first in mid-November & I loved having a newborn so close to all the holidays! It was so cozy! I didn’t have PPD or maternity leave to worry about, but just in case there are first time moms out there expecting a holiday baby- it isn’t a forgone conclusion it’ll be bad! I loved it!


Stefanie October 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Nodding. Definitely nodding.


Jess October 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Baby number 2 was due day before Thanksgiving last yr. I told my husband if I still hadn’t delivered I expected him to make me my fav dinner (enchiladas) and was staying home. He didn’t see the big deal of going to his family’s house and then my family’s house. Luckily my little boy knew what he needed to do and was born on his due date. Probably saved our marriage!!!!


Jill @ Calm Cosmo October 10, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Yeah… my son was born 11/11/10 and I remember those holidays “fondly”. We did a 10 hour drive to spend Christmas with the family (dragging our 6 week old and 16 month old) and I also

a. hate the pictures
b. wish I had chilled the f out

This Christmas? We’re moving halfway across the country. I’m not sure which is worse but I am trying to be all zen about it. We shall see!


jessica October 10, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Oh my gosh, my husband and I just had a good laugh at this post.

Not 20 minutes ago I said “We should have our next baby in October so I can be on maternity leave for the holidays.”


Nevermind :)


Salena October 10, 2012 at 8:18 pm

We had that same cute little new born bunting! SO cute! Love baby Harry!


Robyn October 10, 2012 at 8:25 pm

We are expecting our first on December 11th. I am actually looking forward to the fact that we will be having her around the holidays because we will have so many helping hands around! My whole family will be in town (staying somewhere OTHER than our house), and I can’t wait to have everyone here within weeks of our little one’s arrival. Call me naive, but I’m really excited!


kodi October 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm

I loved this post. I had my first son November 15th and it was a c-section so I had only been home a few days at Thanksgiving. I just didn’t go anywhere. My parents came to our town and we ate at Cracker Barrel. It was the most enjoyable Thanksgiving ever. I’m so glad I didn’t pressure myself to go to every family dinner.


Jami October 11, 2012 at 5:13 am

Hayden was born on 11/11/11 and we set out in June to ensure we wouldn’t have these stresses. We told both families that Thanksgiving was off limits (my dad graciously cooked a turkey and my mom dropped it off) and that we’d see everyone for Christmas when I had my shit together. Shopping was all done online and my presence was all that was expected at the table. We made it as stress free as you can possibly make the holidays.


Kersten October 11, 2012 at 9:26 am

This post brought back “fond” memories. I was due with my daughter last Christmas day and freaked (as in utter melt down that required best friend intervention) a week before when I got the “what to bring” e-mail and had been assigned appetizers and wine. The hostess was well aware that I was due that day and that we may or may not be coming. On the sound advice of a woman who was more rational than I, I dropped off bottles of two buck chuck, pretzel & pita chips, and assorted grocery store dips a few days before. To the delight of all of our family that Christmas Day, they got lovely wine and appetizers, plus news of the newest member of the family that arrived that afternoon. To my delight, I got to spend a wonderfully peaceful day giving birth and not with my in-laws!


Meredith @ La Buena Vida October 11, 2012 at 10:38 am

I’m due with baby #2 on 11/15 and am nervous about the holidays for all those reasons. I *have* already said that I will not be bringing anything to Thanksgiving this year, nor will I be organizing the church bazaar on Dec 1st…but I have a feeling there are probably 100 other things we’re just going to have to say no to as well…and we’re not great at saying no!


Lindsay October 11, 2012 at 11:04 am

I love this post! I am 4 weeks postpartum right now and I can’t even figure out how to make dinner each night let alone doing something nice for the holidays. It took me two tries just to write this because the baby needed to be changed and fed. How do moms do it with a multiples?? I can’t even fathom right now, good for you knowing your limits for the future.


Molly October 11, 2012 at 11:22 am

I didn’t “plan” either of my babies (2.5 year old boy and 3 months preg with #2), but I can’t imagginnee having a baby in the fall/winter! My first was born in late April, and #2 is due THE DAY BEFORE his birthday. I remember the set of holidays after my son was born (keep in mind, he was five/six months old) and we have so much family all across the state of Georgia, we just said if y’all wanna see us, come to us, and don’t expect us to do much! Having people to our place was SOOO much easier. Baby boy was comfy at home, and we didn’t have to drag him around the state in the cold. I understand most people wouldn’t like this set up, buy man-oh-man, it worked for me! They brought all the fixin’s for both meals, and all I had to do was clean the house, which I probably needed to do anyway. It was a dream.


Evy October 11, 2012 at 11:59 am

My oldest (now almost 21) was to be born Dec 21. We had it all planned so I would be home for Christmas. We hosted Christmas…the in-laws did I think everything but the ham. He had plans of his own and came Dec 7. We stayed with our plans for the holiday. The only thing I remember that Christmas is someone holding at the table and he puked all over them. While we were eating. Luckily is was Daddy so he could change quickly and be back. We didn’t commit to anything other then our respective family holidays, anything else was a bonus.


Krista October 11, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I am a Martha Stewart Control Freak but since having a child, I have learned where to give and where to hold tight. I don’t decorate as elaborately and I don’t cook as much, but I do spend time reading the stories, watching the movies, planning HIS holiday activities to get the most of the season and I find satisfaction in that. And we absolutely do not bend to the relatives and try to visit everyone etc. etc. We do it on our terms.
You can’t be everything to all people, so I choose to be everything to my son (and the hubster of course). It works well for us.


Megan October 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I had a late September baby in 2010 and was on leave through Christmas. While the holidays themselves were painless (all our family is just a 5 minute drive away and getting out of the house was very welcomed at that point… and each home was filled with many helpfuls aunts, uncles, etc), I have to agree with another commenter, I HATED the pictures! In all those holiday pictures, it just looks as if I decided to eat the entire Holiday meal myself, without sharing. That was the worst part for me.


Megan October 11, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Chloe was born 10/24/2009 and Paige is due this Thanksgiving….Luckily the family on both sides has been really understanding but I suffered from PPA (untreated unfortunately) severely with Chloe. Because of that we are keeping things VERY low key this time around. Thanksgiving may be a TV dinner for all i know and Christmas will probably be hanging out at home recovering. :)


TarheelJean October 11, 2012 at 10:30 pm

My son was born a week after yours, and I completely understand that feeling. I felt like I kind of missed out on maternity leave in a way, because I was so distracted by holidays and family and events happening. The first few weeks were really hard, and then the holidays happened, and then I was back to work! So I never really got a chance to just be home and be a mom.

(I did have a small victory when I was able to address ALL of my Christmas cards during a surprise nap though! Funny how I still remember that)


Johanna @ These Prices October 13, 2012 at 10:58 am

I loved having a holiday baby. Even though his first Thanksgiving we ate lunch at Perkin’s while he slept in his car seat. I have sweet memories of wearing him in the wrap, while sitting on my couch watching Love Actually in front of the fire and addressing Christmas cards. My mom, a taskmaster if there ever was one, came into town the first week of December and helped me decorate the whole house. (Otherwise I just wouldn’t have bothered.)


Laura October 14, 2012 at 10:34 am

Not trying to come across rude…at all, really. But why would anyone take advice or anything else seriously from someone with such little experience. This just makes me laugh…just saying.


heirtoblair October 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Well, that did come across as rude.

Whether I experienced it once or ten times, I learned from the experience. Why would that be laughable to take something away from an experience?


besszilla October 18, 2012 at 10:24 am

I had my little H just a few days before yours. We don’t live near any family so holidays are always hectic but that first year was a doosey for sure. I spent Thanksgiving at my in-laws refusing to take a nap because I was so lonely from maternity leave and shopping with my SIL for a bridesmaid dress for her wedding in June. I didn’t know whether to get it 2 sizes smaller or bigger. All I knew is it was horrible. Then I went back to work the first week of December, that’s when the kid gave up sleeping at night for good. I am pretty sure we drove 8 hours to NJ stayed a few days and drove back but if it wasn’t for the pictures of the little guy dressed as an elf under the tree I wouldn’t remember any of it. It was a dark winter that lasted about 15 months. Thanks to your honesty, if the skies look that dark this Spring when #2 shows up, I am not going to think it will just go away.
Don’t let the ‘I don’t mean to be…’ people get to you. You’re not the only one who leans from your experiences.


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