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Party In The Delivery Room!

By Sierra Black |

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?

Photo: tiswango

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About Sierra Black


Sierra Black

Sierra Black lives, writes and raises her kids in the Boston area. She loves irreverence, hates housework and wants to be a writer and mom when she grows up. Read bio and latest posts → Read Sierra's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Party In The Delivery Room!

  1. Amy C says:

    I ended up letting my mother, mother-in-law, grandmother-in-law, and husband come and go while I was laboring, but when it came time to push, only my husband stayed in the room. I wanted my mother to stay, as well, but I didn’t want to feel like I was excluding my mother-in-law. Instead, we excluded everyone, which worked out pretty well. Our mothers got to see both of their grandchildren within minutes of birth, so the moms didn’t really miss out on anything, as far as I’m concerned.

  2. PlumbLucky says:

    Husband and medical staff. I’m an extrovert…except when in pain. Then I’m a “leave me the eff alone” introvert. And yes, this is the plan for the new one’s arrival as well. I am unpleasant and do not wish to have visitors while in pain or if I’m not getting enough sleep.

  3. PlumbLucky says:

    *Much less visitors who waltz in and argue with me about holding the newborn who I’m currently breastfeeding and announce that its gross. That’d be my MIL.

  4. goddess says:

    The husband. That was it. All 4 times.(Don’t have sisters, and both Moms were totally NOT going to be invited to the events). I’m an extrovert to the nth degree, but I draw the line at people seeing me give birth. Plumb- I am YOUR type of extrovert. The only FRIENDS I had in those rooms were my anesthesiologists!

  5. LogicalMama says:

    My husband, my doula, my sister and two female friends that had given birth naturally. The hospital only allows three people but our nurse (loved her!) turned a blind eye to it and loved the atmosphere we had going on! I would have loved for my mom to be there but she didn’t feel comfortable with the natural birth and didn’t want to see me in pain!

  6. Ri-chan says:

    Just my Husband. My Grandmother, In-Law’s etc… wanted to be there, but I was completly against it. My Swim suit has sleeves and a skirt that goes to my knees, for crying out loud, I couldn’t imagine anyone but my Husband and doctor seeing my most private area’s!

  7. Pam says:

    I was in so much pain Abe Lincon could of been there and I wouldnt of cared!

  8. kat says:

    Just the hubby, we had moved 6 wks prior from west coast to east coast and nobody could be there, and that was fine! We were supposed to be at our midwife’s house on her commune in TN but baby came 17 days early and we were still in NC! This time around, we’ll have 2 local midwives, hubby, my mom, and possibly sister in law to watch toddler and possibly be there for the birth (not labor, my son can’t stand to see me in any pain). In my birth doula training we were told that for every extra, non-necessary person at a birth it adds an hour to labor. Not exactly, but just trying to make the point that it can be really distracting and some people do not help the process!!

  9. MsC says:

    We didn’t want anyone there, and no one was close enough by for it to be an issue. Our hospital a) has a limit and b) has you give them a list of who’s permitted and the nurses will play bouncer if they have to in order to keep out kibbitzers.

    To me this is totally a matter of personal preference. My sister had Mom in there with her, but while I did call my mother on the phone at one point, I would not have wanted her there in the room with me.

  10. JBoogie says:

    I think it’s definitely personal preference. My hubby, mom, and sister were there for the pushing, and it was nice because I pushed for three. long. hours. and I will always remember my mom coming over and kissing my head. Got me through a rough patch. As for my mother-in-law…hell effing no, a million times, it’s a hell effing no.

  11. PlumbLucky says:

    @kat – hmmmm…interesting. And my MIL butted in three separate times during labor when I’d asked for no visitors during, thank you. That might have shortened things up. And yeah, after the third time, it was obvious she wasn’t getting it, and I was way over “polite” and told the desk staff. Since you had to call the desk to be admitted to the floor…that was that.
    @JBoogie – I hear you on that “no” ;-)
    My Mom and one sister were “on call” had my husband requested a break. Their preference was sister, then Mom (the whole not wanting to see daughter in pain thing. I suspect sisters care less strongly about this, as we tend to put each other INTO pain at various points in life, LOL!)

  12. Kayt says:

    My husband, my parents, and my sister were there. My father stayed up next to my head while I was pushing; he helped support my head. During a particularly painful bit of labor, my in-laws dropped by with my five year old niece. I freaked out and hurt their feelings, but I didn’t want them there, and had asked them not to come.

  13. Sarah says:

    In the end, it was just hubby as I had c-sections. It was planned that my Mom, MIL and of course DH would be there. MIL and I have a great relationship, and it was decided that she would stay at my head. My Dad would have come in as well, had circumstances been different. My sisters are much younger than I am and for various reasons would not have been in the room.

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