Would You Implement A "Month Of Silence" When Baby Arrives? Two Writers Discuss

Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder will turn away visitors for a month after their baby is born. Rebecca Eckler and Heather Jones give us their take.

Does it count as the ‘silent treatment’ if you tell friends and family beforehand that you'll be ghosting them as soon as your baby is born?

That's what Twilight actress Nikki Reed and her actor husband, Ian Somerhalder are planning to do when their first born arrives.

"We’ll take the baby’s first month for ourselves," Reed first told Fit Pregnancy magazine. "After the baby arrives, we’re doing one month of silence. Just the three of us, no visitors, and we’re turning off our phones too, so there’s no expectation for us to communicate. You don’t get those first 30 days back, and we want to be fully present.’ 

Genius idea? Or a guaranteed way to piss off your friends and family? 

We chatted to two of our writers to find out what they made of this "month of silence," and if they thought it was a good idea.

YES

Rebecca Eckler, Executive Editor at SavvyMom.

"In the age of social media, a 'month of silence' is a very interesting concept"

As any new mother knows, you are overwhelmed with emotion as soon as that baby is put in your arms. But very few moms get to really enjoy their babies, alone, thanks to well-meaning and well-intentioned visitors. Some may view this as selfish. How could you not allow your parents to see their new grandchild? Why wouldn't you want to show off your new baby to friends who have supported you throughout your pregnancy? Why wouldn’t you want to know who the well-wishers are, so you can thank them? 

But in spite of all that, I find this 'Month of Silence' after baby is born, to be an interesting concept, especially in this day and age, where newborns are posted on social media within minutes of their birth. Many moms aren’t completely present, thanks to having to respond to well-wishers. While I so appreciated my family, other close relatives, and good friends, I was exhausted after both my C-Sections. Part of the problem is etiquette. How do you nicely tell people, who are only happy for you, that you want them to leave the hospital room because you’ve just had a C-Section and are in pain and in no mood to ‘host’ people? How do you tell friends that, no, you’re too exhausted to see them, without sounding rude?

Reed is pretty smart. If you tell people that you’re going to take a month off of communicating with everyone ahead of time—like giving notice at work—they may not like it, but at least they know what your plans are, even if they don’t include you. So, is this really such a big deal, to go undercover for a month, after your baby is born?

Looking back, I would have liked to try this. Not only because, like I said, hosting people in the first few weeks of your babies life is exhausting., often people just don’t know that a two-hour visit can seem like a two-day visit to a new mom. I think if a pregnant friend told me they were going silent for a month after their baby was born, I would accept their decision. It’s their baby and their life. Plus, the baby has been cooking for nine long months. What’s one more month, anyway, especially if it’s the decision of the parents? 

NO

Heather Jones, writer.

"To me, this screams, 'I was a better parent before I had kids'"

I would last 15 minutes.

That was my reaction upon seeing Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder’s plan to cocoon themselves away from the world for a month with their new baby.

I mean, setting boundaries is good. Constant visitors and phone calls, especially unannounced, is stressful with a newborn. I understand laying some ground rules. But completely cutting yourself off from friends and family is a recipe for insanity—theirs and yours.

When my first baby was born, he would only sleep on me…or my brother in law. When John came to visit, everyone was under strict orders not to touch that child except John, so I could get some sleep. That was a life saver.

With my second newborn, I had fewer visitors, but he cried all the time, and venting to my friends online was the only thing that kept me going. I’m fairly certain that if it wasn’t for friends and family saying “I hear you, man, I’ve been there,” I would have exploded.

Not seeing or hearing about their grandchild for a month would definitely have brought my parents to the brink. My mother would have worn the carpet by her front door down to the wood underneath, pacing and counting the month down.

And staying inside for a month, HA! I was so anxious to get out of the house, I didn’t care where we went. Toys 'R' Us, the mall, the dentist, I don’t care, just get me out of this house.

And good luck resisting the urge to show off your brand new baby. Sure, you might not want to gather a party and pass the baby on the left-hand side—but few new parents I know, especially of a first baby, can fight the desire to show photos of the most beautiful baby in the world to anyone who will view them.

So it’s a grand idea, but we will see if they can pull it off. To me, this screams, “I was a better parent before I had kids.”

If it works for them, great, go for it. Personally, I would have been a shaking, twitching mess by the end of the month. And my mother would have so much bottled up, that by the time she did see the baby, she would have grabbed him and run through the neighbourhood holding him high in the air for all to see—Lion King style.

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