Should your mother in law be in the delivery room with you when you give birth?
Giving birth to your baby is the most precious, exhilarating, private life changing experience that you will likely ever go through. One of the things women consider when giving birth is who will be there to witness the big event. Now some women already know from the outset who they will have; it might be just the woman and her partner/husband, it may be that they want a sister or doula there as well or maybe your mother in law is the best one for the job.
But what happens when family members just assume that they have a right to be present during the birth like it’s some kind of nature documentary on the discovery channel? There have been stories of women who have fallen out with their own mothers, sisters, mother in law and other family members for simply stating they want to just have themselves and the father of the baby in the room during the birth process. ‘But it’s my grandchild!’ is what they may hear but hold on a minute, it’s not just about the baby here. How about the mother who is going through the throws of labour and birth, how about the mother who might not want everybody looking at her vagina or watching her poop as the baby’s head crowns. Your dignity is lost they say when you give birth but at least lets try to have a little bit of control here!
Birth partners are for support nothing else
You see, a birth partner should be chosen on their ability to support the labouring woman, not on their ability to stand and stare as the new life enters the world. It should be a person that the woman is comfortable with, not forced or obliged to have in the room.
Some family members are extremely supportive and can be great to help relieve dad when he wants to go for a break or get something to eat but overall the buck stops with the woman who is giving birth. She decides who to have there and who is the best person/people to support her through this time. Some may argue ‘oh but it’s the dad’s baby too!’ yes that is very true but he cannot decide who gets to view his wife’s vagina. Only she can decide that.
So what to do if you are in this situation and a family members says they want to be at the birth but you don’t want them there
Well be brave, make your feelings clear and be straight. You can do this without being rude for example ‘Sorry but it’s just going to be me and Jack in the room whilst I’m giving birth but we will tell you as soon as the baby’s here so you can come visit’
If you have a family member or in law that just wont take no for an answer, simply don’t tell them when you go into labour. Contact them after the birth to inform them of the new arrival and when they can visit.
Remember you are in control of this, no one else!