If you’re pregnant, you’ve probably given a lot of thought to how you want your birth to go. You might even be one of the many women who has drafted a birth plan to record her preferences on things like pain management, medical interventions and breastfeeding.
But what about the guest list? BlogHer’s Melissa Ford asks if you’d let your mother-in-law watch your birth. Who do you think belongs in the delivery room with you?
My births were crowded affairs. I had my midwives, my husband, my mom and my best friend in the room. My stepfather and my stepson were there too. It became a family party.
Not entirely one of my choosing. Did I want my stepfather at my birth? No. But my mother wanted her husband there with her, and I didn’t have strong feelings about it. I drew the line at inviting my sister and her husband.
“They can see the baby a few hours after the birth,” I said. “This isn’t a party.”
I’m an extrovert without a shred of modesty, so I didn’t find the crowds disturbing. They waited in another room through most of the labor and when the baby was crowning someone ushered them in to watch. I didn’t even notice.
At the moment I gave birth, there was no one in the whole world except my mom, whose hands I clutched, my husband and my midwife. I could have been delivering in a packed football stadium and not noticed the cheering crowds.
That’s unusual though. Some women don’t even want their husbands with them.
While most hospitals have relaxed their rules about who can be in a delivery room, doctors and midwives generally recommend that you only have people at your birth who have an essential support role to play. This is why I vetoed my sister attending the birth: I didn’t need her there.
Birth is not a party. Labor is hard, emotionally raw work. No woman should feel pressured to have extra people around just because they want to witness a birth, or see their grandchild born, or whatever.
Who was with you when you gave birth? Would you do it the same way again?