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Labor & Delivery Turf Wars: Delivery Room Bullies

Labor & Delivery Turf Wars: Delivery Room Bullies

By Amalah

Hi Amy!

I am a first-time mom (FTM), 29 weeks pregnant, and just realized I’m kind of freaking out about L&D visitors, among other things. I’ve talked to DH about my fears, (I’ve got two older sisters who have six children between them, so I am fully aware of the chaos that is birthing a child), but I don’t think he gets it. I think your advice to the other moms in your L&D Turf War posts are spot-on with how I feel about this situation, but I have one problem… My family (and his) is so pushy.

Ideally I would like to have a private birthing experience, just me, DH, and the OB and nurses…. But I don’t see my family respecting my wishes on this. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable at all; I’m willing to call and let them know when we’re headed to the hospital, willing to have DH make the phone calls when we’re close to delivering, in case they feel like they need to come up and sit in the waiting room for hours on end (I can’t understand why, but this was the norm with all of my nieces and nephews), and am asking for everyone to wait until we’re ready for them to come in and visit. I expect that this will be somewhere between a few minutes after delivery, (long enough for me to deliver the placenta and put my legs down, phew!) and a couple of hours (long enough for baby and I to do skin-to-skin and nurse for the first time without interruption, and then for me to put my boobs away). I’m okay with them being at the ready if they choose to, but I don’t think anyone is going to be content waiting in the waiting room.

My mom was present for all six grandchild births before this one, and expects to be present again with lucky number seven. My older sister would also like to be in the room. I have expressed my feelings on the matter, but both of them completely dismissed me by saying “Don’t worry, you’ll change your mind.” It’s true, I may… I’m new to this birthing thing… But I sincerely doubt it. My sisters and my mother are very close, so it makes sense to me that they would want her there… However, I’m daddy’s girl. My dad and I are both very private people, and the thought of everyone seeing me on display is incredibly stressful to me. My dad would understand completely, but I can’t get mom and sisters on board.

Mother-in-law, while she is trying to be respectful, was a L&D nurse for 30 years, and keeps telling us that she would love to be there because she “knows how to make babies come.” We don’t want her there as a professional… We want her in the waiting room like a normal grandparent… But she knows all of the staff at our hospital and I suspect she will be allowed to slip past due to her connections here.

I am trying to tell myself that everyone will respect our wishes when the time comes, and the staff will support us in this, and remind myself that I might just be a crazy pregnant lady after all, so breathe… But this isn’t the first thing we’ve encountered resistance on. Everyone wants to name the baby, everyone wants to know the name of the baby (we want it to be a surprise). There are literally daily discussions about what I should name the baby, and every time I see my family or his mom they comment on how upset they are that we won’t share the name, or won’t name her after one of her grandmas. We’re constantly receiving unsolicited advice, and being told that the things we want to do (baby-wearing, cloth diapering, etc) are not practical and won’t work. They also attempted to veto my opinions for my own baby shower, because I wanted it to be co-ed and asked not to play shower games, but they are insistent that “you have to have games at a baby shower.” So this is just one more area I expect to be bullied into.

I have no problem standing my ground about our wishes, but I don’t know how to respectfully handle this most important issue in my opinion, of keeping the delivery room private for my own comfort. I know I’ll be in pain and preoccupied with labor when it happens, and I think they’ll probably just try to override my decisions when the time comes. Obviously I won’t be in the state to physically stop them from being there at that point, and I don’t feel comfortable making DH the bad guy. I really don’t like feeling like I’m hurting everyone’s feelings, but this is my day… Shouldn’t it be the way I want it?

Thanks for listening!
Super stressed FTM

Not going to lie, part of me kind of wants to tell you to go ahead and have a Big Massive Shrieking Attack at these people — to just go gloriously unhinged at everybody for a few minutes — and put your foot down about ALL OF THE THINGS and order them to back the hell up and off you and your bizness. (Both the bizness you push a baby out of and all of the rest of it.) You would at least be 1) completely justified, and 2) completely able to blame the freak out later on being pregnant. Even though being pregnant is really only part of it, because I AM SORRY, it is BAD FORM and NOT OKAY to bully and boundary-stomp your way into someone else’s delivery room.

I don’t care what your sisters and your mom and every other female relative and next-door neighbor did. They made their choice, they had their turn. It’s now your choice and your turn and they need to shut up and respect that you do not want them there. If that actually hurts their feelings, well…I don’t care. Neither should you. Because it’s not about them and their feelings, at all, not even a little bit.

If you want to be all polite and rational with them instead, I do think a warning here is justified: If they don’t let this delivery room business drop — and I mean DROP — and if they can’t 1,000% promise and assure you that they will respect your wishes for a private delivery and wait until they are invited in…well, you are no longer promising to call them when you are in labor. They don’t want to wait in the waiting room? FINE. They can wait at home until you are ready to receive visitors. Bonus: You get to labor in complete privacy and peace and not feel rushed at ALL to have a big crowd barrel in minutes after you give birth and start insisting you pass the baby around before you and your husband have had sufficient time to soak it all in.

Now, in the past I did advise another mother-to-be to maybe possibly rethink her plan to not tell anyone that she was labor, because the plan was already causing a lot of hurt feelings AND (big, important distinction) I didn’t really get any indication from her letter that her family was pushy or disrespectful or would attempt to gate-crash her delivery. They just wanted to know and didn’t understand why she didn’t want them to know. (I also don’t think there’s anything inherently WRONG with not telling anyone you’re in labor, by the way, but to avoid hurt feelings it’s probably best to not announce the plan ahead of time. Just go into labor and give birth and then call. Blame the speed/stress/bad mobile reception. And then you can distract them with a brand new shiny baby.)

Your family fails on several key differences. They ARE pushy. They ARE disrespectful. And they ARE giving you some serious reasons to believe that they would attempt to push their way in to where they are not wanted and thus have absolutely no right to be. I mean that: This is your birth experience. You get to call the freaking shots. I am so het up on your behalf I am hitting the keys so. very. hard. right. now.

Next up, you are going to enlist the help of your doctor and the hospital staff. Arrange for a tour of the maternity ward and be very upfront and honest about your privacy concerns. Ask how they can ensure that your family stays out, and what can be done if anyone tries to push in. It would be unbelievably unprofessional for the nurses to allow your MIL in without your permission, so bring that up and make it clear that it cannot happen. Like, you will file official complaints if that happens. I don’t care if you’re worried you’ll sound like a crazy paranoid pregnant person, I just want you to go into your birth experience with these fears and worries COMPLETELY HANDLED. By someone else.

You will also repeat your instructions (or have your husband repeat them, since you’ll probably be focused on other things) when you arrive at the hospital. If you do decide to call your families while still in labor, wait until you are safely and fully admitted and settled into your room to do so, AFTER you’ve had a talk with all of the nurses on duty about the situation and your desire for a private birth, no matter what the hyenas in the waiting room get up to.

Back when I gave birth, by the way, it was actually impossible for anyone in the waiting room to get back to the birthing suites without a hospital escort. The doors were locked and alarmed. The maternity ward was more open, but you were still required to check in at a desk with at least the name of the person you were visiting, giving the staff a chance to check and make sure that patient hadn’t specified no visitors or requested certain people be kept away (think custody or other domestic issues). Again, you’ll need to get the staff on alert that your family might think they are (grossly) entitled to sneak in behind someone or insist that you want them there. But hopefully your hospital is modern enough to have basic security safeguards in place.

But seriously, if you really think that no matter how many times you tell them that no, your birth will be private, that they will still remain so convinced that they belong there and keep being all, “there there, little idiot, you’ll change your mind” while plotting to go against your wishes…they don’t deserve to be in the waiting room at all. I mean that. I sense a very long and tiring road for you guys when it comes to setting boundaries about your baby and parenting choices, so I have zero problem with you putting your foot down as hard as you possibly can right now, right from the start. Set a damn precedent that you are not to be bullied or belittled by them about anything related to your child. They will respect your wishes and your choices or else.

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Cait
Guest
Cait

So I feel ya on pushy parents, my MIL doesn’t understand (like it literally doesn’t compute) why I wouldn’t want her in the room with me. DH is a little more reasonable but doesn’t get why I wouldn’t want them sitting in the waiting room…just waiting, because he doesn’t have the same OMG BAD HOSTESS ANXIETY that I do (other things he doesn’t understand, why we need things like sheets and pillows for guests *head/desk*)  *ahem* We did come to an agreement and I have zenned myself on the idea that they can wait in the waiting room as long… Read more »

trish
Guest
trish

In addition to talking to the L&D nurses/doctors
1) put it in your birth plan 
2) If you have the cash, I always think doulas are helpful for full-time births. Though they have no legal power and are just there for support, a doula can remind the hospital staff — and your husband — that you don’t want anyone other family in the room. Yeah, that’s another person in the room, but it’s a person who’s there in a professional capacity to help and doesn’t have an agenda. 

Allison
Guest
Allison

This wasn’t mentioned, but is the LW’s dad still in the picture?  Could he put some pressure on, at least, the LW’s sisters (and her mom if they’re still married) to compel them to back the eff off?

Jodie
Guest
Jodie

Second this!  Our doulas were literally blocking the door when peeps were a little too excited to meet the baby and my lady bits 🙂

Hallie
Guest
Hallie

Definitely, definitely tell your labor and delivery nurses that you don’t want anyone to visit you.  I failed to do that, assuming that my mother would actually respect my request to wait, and I was totally wrong.  So we had to go through kicking her out while I was in labor which was awkward and awful, and afterwards the nurse told us that all we’d had to do was tell her and she would have taken care of it.  That’s part of their job.

Erin
Guest
Erin

Why do you still have a relationship with these people at all? Now seems like the perfect time to sever this stressful and destructive relationship, so that you don’t have to spend every day for the rest of your life trying to protect yourself and your child from these people.

Isabel Kallman
Admin

woah.  that’s harsh.  not everyone can or wants to sever ties with family members.

Jessica
Guest
Jessica

It’s not harsh to cut abusive people out your life. It’s healthy. Just because they’re related to you doesn’t mean it’s a good idea expose your child to them.

Isabel Kallman
Admin

We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. She clearly wants to continue to have a relationship with her family and in-laws. There’s a compromise to be made here. It doesn’t need nor should be a zero-sum game. She can make her decision about exposing her child to her family once it’s born and her relationships play out. She can set boundaries and still be able to see her family.

Christina
Guest
Christina

Agree. This letter makes me seriously uncomfortable and worried about the mom-to-be. What a toxic dynamic. Time for MAJOR boundary setting and probably therapy to figure out how you got here in the first place.

Jean
Guest
Jean

The only people who need therapy are the toxic, pushy family members who need to stay back. Also, commenters like you who are blaming the pregnant woman for wanting peace and privacy. 

We women can be so nasty, and catty to each other. 

kris
Guest
kris

I am so glad that I read this because I’m going through the exact same thing! And not only with the hospital visitor aspect, but the baby shower too.  I’m also considering not telling anyone about the delivery until after the baby’s born to avoid the stress it would cause me to know people are waiting in a lobby for me to birth so they can rush into the room and interrupt the bonding experience with my son and husband. Luckily, my husband supports whatever I want so we will see how things play out.   Stay strong and do… Read more »

Jessie
Guest
Jessie

God this made me so twitchy for so many reasons. At one of my baby showers my SIL and MIL announced to me that they’d be in the delivery room and it was so outrageous I started laughing because SURELY they must be joking. As it dawned on me that they were serious I realized that my husband would have to handle telling them that this was a private event. In the meantime my mother had the green light to wait in the waiting room. What I wish someone had told me beforehand so that I could have told HER… Read more »

Isabel Kallman
Admin

Lock the room door. Also, do hospital rooms have locks on them?

Suzy Q
Guest
Suzy Q

No. It’s a patient safety thing.

Holly
Guest
Holly

Very similar here – pushy MIL who insisted to be in the delivery room if not at least the waiting room. I didn’t want any of it. My husband and I finally agreed that all grandparents would get a phone call on our way to the hospital. And, lo and behold, my FIL told us later as soon as we called, my MIL went for her keys “It is my right as a grandparent to be there”, and he had to talk her off the ledge. Otherwise she absolutely was going to do what she wanted, regardless of what we’d… Read more »

Stef
Guest
Stef

When I was around 30 weeks pregnant with my first my MIL began mentioning to me “remember we live 4 hours away so when you’re 4 hours away from pushing give me a call so I can make it in time to meet my grandchild”. Are you for real? Isn’t that just one of the craziest things ever? My birth plan for my midwife and hospital only had one thing on it. Under no circumstances could my MIL be anywhere near the delivery room. When I told her she was not going to be there she was upset, but that… Read more »

Jess
Guest

My family isn’t pushy in this particular way but I wanted to chime in because I am a little bit more private with things like this than my sister is, and I did and do have to set boundaries with my parents as a result. Like, my sister asked my mother to be there when she gave birth, whereas I very definitively wanted it to be just my husband and me. My sister calls my mom every single day and I call probably once every 1-2 weeks (though I text much more often than that). My sister wants my parents… Read more »

Hi, I'm Natalie.
Guest

Yes! I’m soooo that weirdo and it’s fantastic! My husband and I are both very private and it’s taken YEARS to get to the point where our parents respect our boundaries. We still get eye-rolls and silly comments, but it’s a helluva lot better than dealing with them on our doorstep constantly. What we did: Told them that if anyone showed up at the hospital w/o explicitly being invited, they’d be sent away and could visit the following week when we were settled at home. (I meant it, and they respected that.) Didn’t call them/tell them when I was in… Read more »

Karen
Guest
Karen

Have a home birth! Seriously, that is a great way to own your labor and delivery. And for a bonus, it will shock them all to shreds.

Kat
Guest
Kat

Ha! Man, this sounds a little familiar. My MIL was INSISTENT that she and my SIL and FIL and brother in law and god knows who else be in my delivery room. At about 5 months, I outright told my husband that I didn’t want anyone in the room or in the waiting room (not even my parents, though we already knew they were going to be out of the country about the time baby was due). MIL was so “hurt” and “sad”. Then my SIL had her baby about a month later, and it was a complete madhouse. And… Read more »

Rebekah
Guest
Rebekah

As one of the mamas-to-be that wrote in for Amy’s help with delivery room drama, I’ve got to say that after I set firm boundaries that I was comfortable with, my labor and delivery went really smoothly. So, I highly recommend biting the bullet and standing up for what you want and need now, rather than in the heat of the moment. My mom also pulled the “well, you’ll want me there when the time comes” kind of brushing off my requests as silly first-time pregnant lady talk. But, really, I didn’t. And when I was in labor, I still… Read more »

IrishCream
Guest
IrishCream

I remember that letter, and I’m glad to see an update! I like your strategy about not sharing the precise due date.

yasmara
Guest
yasmara

DON’T CALL! So speaks someone with a 49 hour first labor (sorry, not a horror story, I swear). It felt like so much pressure to have people calling us & wondering what was happening! And then once the baby was born, my aunt & uncle walked into the hospital room while I was being sewn up…SO….DON’T CALL.

Tiffany
Guest

Like you, I’m a pretty private person, and also like you, I was pretty sure I knew what I wanted but thought, “You know, I’ve never done this before; maybe I WILL change my mind.”  You know what? I didn’t change my mind. For all that this experience changes us, we don’t stop being who we are. If you hate the idea of being all on display in front of people, you’re still going to hate it. Labor is a profoundly exposing experience- there’s people in and out of your room, cramming their hands up into your business, discussing your… Read more »

kcc
Guest
kcc

Guurrlll, I am stressed out for you!

Amy’s right – this will NOT stop with the birth, unfortunately. Next, it’ll be breastfeeding, working vs. staying at home, introducing solids, potty training, and a thousand other things that they can’t help but insert themselves into, thinking they know better than you. 

Take a stand now, stay strong, and know that the internet is on your side at least!

IrishCream
Guest
IrishCream

Another vote in the “don’t call” category. Even if your hospital is 100 percent able to execute your request and keep everyone at bay, you won’t know that until after the fact, so it might be something you’re worrying over while you’re in labor. I didn’t tell anyone when I was in labor or had my c-section scheduled with my second (other than my little sister, who came to stay with my older daughter). I really, really wanted privacy, and knew that having people anxiously waiting for news, whether from home or from the waiting room, would seriously stress me… Read more »

Cara
Guest
Cara

Oh God this brings back memories.  My family respected my wishes, so no problem there.  But, there were complications that meant I touched my baby with one finger in the OR before we were separated for six hours.  Baby was okay long before I was, so several family members got to meet her and hold her before I did. (My husband was there.  No one was violating security or policy.).  I still don’t know why it made me so sad, except that it was one more blow in a birth that most definitely did not go according to plan.  It… Read more »

leslie
Guest
leslie

My husband and I asked my MIL to be in the room, which turned out OK. IN the end, she was great, but with her, the doula, husband, nurses and doc, it was a lot of people. I don’t like that much attention on me. She’s going to watch our firstborn when the second one comes.  However, my husband also called his dad’s family, who live two hours away, and all five of them drove down and waited to see us… unbeknownst to me… in the waiting area. Having them traipse into the delivery room when I hadn’t even been… Read more »

J
Guest
J

I was lucky in that my MIL had no desire to be anywhere near the delivery room and kept her parents away as well.  My mom on the other hand showed up on a ‘close call’ even though I’d set the boundary it would just be my husband and I.  Result?  We called everyone 5 minutes before she was born and they got to meet her after we’d had a chance to bond.

It gets easier with subsequent babies – she’s taken care of the sibs.

Suzy Q
Guest
Suzy Q

Since no one else had addressed it, I will say that if the nurses let your MIL slip in or tell her ANY medical information about you without your consent, it would be a HIPAA violation. Also, if you have any problem with the hospital staff, ask to see a Patient Care Advocate or someone from Patient and Guest Services. You can also escalate to the hospital administrator, DoE (Director of Everything), or threaten to contact Risk Management (everyone is scared of risk management!). Just some options you may not need but should be in place in every hospital and… Read more »

Christina
Guest
Christina

Yes, yes and yes.
$10,000 HIPAA fine and major sanctions. Don’t hesitate to enforce and put it in writing to staff before labor/birth.

Joanne
Guest
Joanne

Birth is a major medical procedure and nobody has the “right” to be there (technically not even your husband). Giving birth is about you and the baby, nobody else’s opinion matters. And if you need some motivation or have some spare time to read I’m just gonna leave this here:

http://community.babycenter.com/post/a25798437/the_best_of_delivery_room_dramas

Tammy
Guest
Tammy

The fact that people consider birth a “major medical procedure” and believe that the father has no right to be there is scary in and of itself.

IrishCream
Guest
IrishCream

The father does not have a right to be there. If the parents have separated, if they were never together, if the pregnancy was the result of abuse or assault, or sperm donation…so many good reasons why the woman giving birth is legally entitled to decide who may attend the birth.

I wouldn’t have wanted my husband anywhere else but by my side, personally, but everyone’s story is unique. And for me, with my medical history and complications, birth was a major medical procedure.

Laura
Guest
Laura

The toll that childbirth takes on your body and the amount of time to recover afterwards, even with the best of circumstances (quick, natural) qualifies it as a major medical event, and it requires care as if the mom had just had major surgery. Not to mention the births that DO require major sugery or present other complications.

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

For some of us it is a major medical procedure from the get-go, for others, no matter how devoted to the idea of freebirthing or whatever, it turns into one quite suddenly. If you’re in a hospital with a doctor specialist, at least one nurse and possibly an anaesthetist around, I think it qualifies. Birth often goes really easily and smoothly – happily – but quite often it doesn’t. It can turn into an emergency with seriously tragic results very suddenly before, during and after. One has no possible way of knowing what will transpire before the fact and so… Read more »

Lydia
Guest
Lydia

Don’t call and stop telling them so many details about your baby raising plans! (I can just see them insisting on something like crying it out, for example.) We didn’t call our families until after the baby was born, and they met him when we went home the next day. Fortunately, no one was pushy or expecting otherwise. Our hospital did not allow you to bring more than one person into the delivery room, by the way, and discouraged visitors in the waiting room. I never saw one person in there.

Belle
Guest
Belle

My oldest is married with no children yet, my youngest is 13, so I’m sort of between the letter writer and mother’s position. I also taught childbirth education for years and wrote academic position papers comparing methods. If my daughters or daughters-in-law want me there for support and ask for it I will be there, but if not, that’s fine by me. I made my own choices and they should get the chance to make theirs. Here’s my question. Why on earth does ANYONE want to sit and wait in a waiting room for hours? If you don’t want my… Read more »

Kat
Guest
Kat

LOVE THIS. This is so true. What is the deal with sitting in a waiting room? How boring, and also that baby will still be brand new tomorrow. Or the next day. Or next WEEK when things have calmed down a little.

Carolyn
Guest

This is one that I’ll be dying for a follow up on 🙂 I also just wanted to point out that I don’t think it would be wrong to ask hubby to “be the bad guy”. Not that it should all fall on his shoulders, but it would probably help to provide a united front on this one (and frankly, it’s HIS mother that is determined to sneak in! If anyone should be absolutely putting the foot down, it should be him. Both of them, but mostly him). 🙂 There’s no reason why the OP has to be the bad… Read more »

Wendy
Guest
Wendy

We went in for induction on Wednesday, which we knew on Tuesday but we told no one. Not even my parents or my sister who we all had met that day. Turns out our son wasn’t burn until early thursday morning, and we only started calling people after I had returned from recovery room (c-section) and had met my son for a bit longer than just a few secs. Worked out fine and no-one was hurt at all.

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Marci
Guest
Marci

I guess I come from a private family because I never considered having anyone other than my husband in the delivery room.  I have two sisters and we have eight children altogether!  Thanks heavens for my mother who wouldn’t dream of being in there.  Reading about this problem is quite shocking.   I will echo what everyone else has said:  set up your boundaries now.  After you have the baby, that’s when calls are made.  They will get over their annoyance when they realize that you control when/where/how often they get to see that precious baby.  Best of luck on… Read more »

Jenny K
Guest
Jenny K

This letter is so, so familiar to me I had to write to tell you my experience. First, though, can I gush over Amalah? Love your advice, love your blog, your boys are so precious! I love cloth diapering and never would have tried it had you not made it seem so doable. So here’s my story. My birth plan was very, very simple, and included just three wishes. I did not get any of them–which is my first piece of advice. Be prepared to not get what you asked for, as long as you have a healthy birth and… Read more »

Brigid Keely
Guest

I’m feeling really lucky right now, because nobody expressed interest about hanging out with me during delivery… until it turned out I needed a C-Section, at which point my mom (who I hadn’t expected to make an hour long drive up to sit around for hours waiting) offered to go in with me (my husband and I had discussed C-Sections previously and he stated his fear that he would pass out, so we decided if I needed a C-Section I’d go in alone, NBD) which turned out to be super helpful and exactly what I needed after all. But it… Read more »

Anna
Guest
Anna

We had decided to not let family know when I went into labor, and at 3 am and thinking I was going to die in transition (I didn’t die, obviously, but it sucked) I made my husband call my mom, and she waited in the waiting room til I delivered baby and placenta and then came in to see our boy for like 5 minutes and then god bless her, left. Us. Alone. As. A. Family. Without having to be asked. She cleaned my house while we were gone, and brought actual edible food to us for dinner that night…… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

I so agree! Bringing a new baby into the world is a very special time for mom and dad, and it is not a time to be entertaining the entire extended family!

Sandra
Guest
Sandra

Is this an American thing? In Australia, no one would DREAM of asking or expecting to be in the delivery room with a labouring woman and her husband. Some people invite sisters and mothers but I can’t imagine anyone inviting a MIL. Maybe it’s a culture difference but I can’t understand why the OP doesn’t just call family *after* the labour is over? It they’re mad, they can deal with that themselves, it’s their problem. You need to be relaxed, safe and have privacy for labor to progress smoothly. Ever noticed how cats go find somewhere private to have kittens?… Read more »

Autumn
Guest
Autumn

I wouldn’t tell them when you are heading to the hospital.  Ooopps, you forgot, hello Contractions!  My inlaws have boundary issues.  We are polite but firm.  Nope, this is how it will be.  We don’t argue, don’t explain.  This is how it will be. So now when we say something, they know we mean business.  Case in point, SIL’s wedding tomorrow.  MIL thought I would be sitting in row 2 with my almost 3 year old for the 30 minute ceremony.  I told her, nope, already hugged it out with SIL that we will be watching from the back so… Read more »

Vanessa
Guest
Vanessa

Culturally this is all very weird to me. Unless there’s some kind of abusive backstory I can’t understand wanting to keep such a distance from close family. I’m pretty stubborn about my boundaries and will stick to my guns on parenting issues but getting stressed out about whether or not someone is in the waiting room is hard for me to fathom. I only allowed my husband and mother in the room with me. But my dad and sisters were allowed in during our skin to skin time because I wanted them to see her. Maybe this thread is geared… Read more »

IrishCream
Guest
IrishCream

I can’t think of anything more passive than not being clear about boundaries up front. It’s not creating drama to explicitly state your needs and expectations.

People are different, across and even within cultures. I can’t fathom wanting anyone there besides my husband (and despite that have still maintained close relationships with immediate and extended family, thanks), but I can certainly understand that someone else might feel differently.

Nichole
Guest
Nichole

With my first, we called the grandparents when it was time to push. I wish we had waited. As soon as visitors were allowed my in laws were camped out in my room and my husband and I had only about an hour alone with my daughter. My parents were more respectful and could tell I didn’t want company. With our second we didn’t call anybody until several hours after she was born. Honestly, it was the best thing we could have done. Feelings were hurt but everyone got over it. 

traci
Guest
traci

Check your hospital’s visitor policy. It may be a non-issue. Mine only allowed 2 support persons in L&D and you had to give them their names, you could not tag team it. For recovery, only 4 visitors at a time, but you could tag team. I think a lot of the stated issues are the reasons behind their policies. I am a rediculouly private person when it comes to stuff like this and I was certain I wanted noone else in L&D, but then I read in hypnobabies that it is a good idea to have a support person for… Read more »

kimm
Guest
kimm

Do NOT call them when u go into labor. My parents are exactly like your families but I got so excited when my induction went forward that I called them. They live 9 hours away, and got there like 1 hour after baby was born and stayed 4 days, drama with my mom wanting to be up all night with the baby to “help” but I was learning how to breastfeed and our baby had GERD so we were trying to figure out what to do, hubby had to deal with me and mom crying and mad at each other.… Read more »

JMH
Guest
JMH

This post makes me very thankful for my parents and MIL…they didn’t even want to come and see the new baby until we were all cleaned up and ready to have visitors. That made for a very stress free birthing experience for all. 

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

Right. This is what is going to happen (how’s this for pushy?), you are going to invite your sisters, your in-laws and everyone else who is relevant out and you are going to say that this is a meeting, not a chat, a meeting, because you are feeling very stressed and as though it’s actually not your choice – which they will of course, strongly deny… this is what you want! Then you say ”oh good, because I have instructed my OB and the L and D nurses that no one other than my husband and necessary staff be there… Read more »

Autumn
Guest
Autumn

I like this!

Also, give the nurse manager or equivalent for your L&D unit a call as well.  Explain your situation, and you are concerned that MIL might sneak in as staff recognizes her or charms her way on the unit.  Please ask if the word can get out that “Kathy” is not on your visitor list, so they are alert for this type of situation.  

Suzy Q
Guest
Suzy Q

The nurse manager changes with every shift and may not even be working on the day of her delivery. It would be difficult to give these instructions beforehand and expect them to be followed.

MR
Guest
MR

And she needs to add one more part that is very important – that if her wishes are NOT respected, it will SEVERELY impact her relationships with them going forward. Because that’s true. If they disregard her wishes, she will resent them and pull away on everything going forward. She is not being unreasonable to want some privacy and space, so they darn well better respect her choices, or face not having a lot of contact with her in the future.

Lauren
Guest
Lauren

From what you’ve said, I would definitely advise against calling your family when you go into labor and/or are admitted to the hospital. You don’t need any more stress worrying about whether or not one of them is going to barge into the delivery room at any moment. Definitely be very, very clear about your wishes to your nurses, doctor, the front desk of the maternity ward, basically anyone you see. I’m SURE you are not the first person to go through that hospital with these concerns, so they probably already have a protocol in place.  But if you wish… Read more »

J
Guest
J

I’m seconding SuzyQ! Your MIL is not staff at the hospital nor is she part of your L&D team. Regardless of who she knows, if your instructions are no visitors they are legally obligated to not allow her access to you! 

Leslie
Guest
Leslie

Don’t discount the myriad ways that things may not go as planned that could leave you completely not yourself. I do think it’s not worth it to worry about some things, but I think in this instance you should make a decision about how to deal with this that is specific, and move on. I generally have no problems being clear with what I need or what I find to be professional or unprofessional behavior, and yet my blood absolutely boils when I think of some the BS I put up with from hospital staff. My induction lasted 2.5 days… Read more »

nora1
Guest
nora1

i haven’t read all the earlier comments so this may repeat what others have said. women have the right to choose how they will give birth. you have every right to have your feelings and wishes respected in this. your instincts are very important because your ability to birth well and comfortably will impact directly upon your child’s entry into the world. i agree with Amy that you have the right not to announce to your family when you will go into labour, i did this myself, but I encourage you to deal with this issue now, before the birth.… Read more »

Amber_S
Guest
Amber_S

Listen to your gut! Listen to your instincts! My instincts told me not to call anyone until the moment I wanted them in the room. But I tried to be polite, and generous. So we told our parents. And my mom came early and was a huge PITA and set us up for 7 months of passive aggressive exchanges. My baby was in NICU for 3 hours. It was heartbreaking to not hold her. Right before she was released, I told my mom I needed an hour to be with the baby before I would be ready for anyone else… Read more »

Amber_S
Guest
Amber_S

Oh, aaaand I checked into the hospital as a private patient, so the hospital was not allowed to give anyone any info on whether or not I was there. (That might be a law specific to CA). 

It didn’t stop the nurses from coming into my room at 5 in the morning (halfway through 18 hours of labor) to tell me “April’s mom is here.” Lovely. My response to that was by far the loudest I screamed that day. 

Alexandra
Guest
Alexandra

Oh. My. Goodness. I am shaking with rage just thinking about your in-laws, Letter Writer. No advice here except affirmations: you deserve all the support in the world. You know what you don’t deserve? A bunch of entitled tom-fools inserting themselves into a stressful medical situation where you will be doing some of the hardest work of your life and they’ll have nothing to do but sit on their interfering backsides. Rage. Seethe. Boil. If I were you, I would never tell them a thing. (I, too, had nightmares about my parents showing up at the hospital. So we phoned… Read more »

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

Don’t call them.  Best advice ever.  We had a scheduled C-section turn into an emergency c-section.  We made the mistake of telling my mother that that baby would be arriving that day.  Her response: “Today isn’t good for me, how about next Wednesday?”.  Holy hell woman, this isn’t about you.   So word got around work that I was suddenly having the baby, and a number of co-workers came to the hospital to wait (we were all very close).  I didn’t mind that they wanted to be there.  My mother told them all to leave, that they weren’t needed and… Read more »

Val
Guest
Val

I agree with the advice to not call them until the baby is born–or wait until right before you deliver. And if you make it clear to your nurses that you do not want anyone back there until you give the OK, they won’t let them in. It’s my experience that most nurses are perfectly willing to be the “bad guy” and take the heat from pushy family members so you don’t have to.

Natalie
Guest
Natalie

Oh I hope you read this comment! I felt the same way as you and EVERYONE! my family- friends etc told me I would change my mind. I did not. My mom was there during early labor and pulled EXACTLY the kind of crap I thought she would (getting all freaked out, “oh my god you are not doing enough to help my baby..look at me look at me!”) I had mentioned this to one of the nurses when we first arrived and she said to me “you tell me, who do you want here when you give birth” and… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

Giving birth is a very personal medical event. The mom, and ONLY the mom, should have a say in who she does or doesn’t want to be there. I have some fears about my MIL and other family members being pushy, but I will have no problem putting my foot down and saying NO. I will be the one laying on my back in pain with all of my parts showing and they will not be there to see that. Now way, no how. And personally, I want some time to adjust to being a new mom, breastfeeding, bonding, and… Read more »