Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Carolyn: Im due to give birth to my first child soon. I am worried because I contracted an infection when I was 6 weeks old that required hospitalization. My husband and I decided that when the baby is born, we will limit visitors to close family and friends. Well ask everyone to sanitize their hands and arms, and well have clean gowns that people holding the baby can put over their clothing.
The issue: Some of my in-laws have stated they would not have purchased a shower gift had they known this. One couple has asked for their gift back. Carolyn, I never knew that concern for my babys health would cause this much grief! Am I overreacting?
To the possibility of infection? Way overreacting. At least, in this laymans opinion.
Please run this plan by your pediatrician not only because I think your fears are disproportionate, but also because letting fear guide your child-rearing decisions is an unhappy path. I might even go so far as to suggest you get screened for anxiety or OCD, given the extreme measures youre considering.
Still the threats from your in-laws are just bizarre.
Re: Twisted Logic: Carolyn, Im disappointed in your response. Newborns who get infections have far more risk than even older infants. New motherhood is stressful and filled with the opportunity to second-guess and feel guilty. If a few months of precautions let her sleep better, its insane to give into bullies for the sake of their convenience.
The reason I suggested she talk to their pediatrician has nothing to do with the in-laws and everything to do with getting off to a markedly fear-driven start.
My advice to any new parent is to take a fact-based approach to risk, since theres no way to eliminate it entirely; its more costly when its mismanaged. (As in, going to great lengths to protect against a perceived risk, in the process ignoring constant fretting that could have a huge negative impact on the childs life.)
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