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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.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


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

    June 6, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    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 as they want and it’s not up to me to care. Also I talked extensively with L&D nurses both with DH and by myself and actually they have a policy that no one (except support people) are allowed in the room until 1 hour after delivery, so don’t even ask people in the waiting room. You sit and wait for your baby like everyone else.

     I fully plan to take advantage of this and do have a small caveat on my birth plan that says “Please ensure that no one except my husband, (name) and medical professionals employed directly by (name of hospital) are to be admitted to my hospital room until I have given express verbal consent to the nurses. Thank you very much.” And then I plan to bribe them with food related presents to keep them on my side. 

  • trish

    June 6, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    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

    June 6, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    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

      June 6, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      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

    June 6, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    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

    June 6, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    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

      Isabel Kallman

      June 6, 2014 at 2:59 pm

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

      • Jessica

        June 6, 2014 at 5:29 pm

        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

          Isabel Kallman

          June 7, 2014 at 11:31 am

          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

      June 18, 2014 at 12:38 am

      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

        August 22, 2015 at 12:57 am

        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

    June 6, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    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 what you want!!

  • Jessie

    June 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    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 was that in the event of complications you are probably not going to want immediate visitors after the birth. She expected to meet the baby about 1 second after she was born but my husband and I didn’t get to do that. She was under close observation for about an hour before we could hold her – we held her for about one minute and then she had to be observed for several more hours apart from us. My mom was trying SO HARD to get in to meet her and ACK it was so stressful and terrible continually pushing her away but shame on her for putting us in that position…anyway I am not sure I could have kept the L&D a secret – I was a week late and everyone was up in my grill every second of the day – but I wish I had tried to keep it a secret or at the very least specified that if there were any problems there would be NO VISITORS until we said so whether that was one hour or one day or one week later.

    Please please please begin setting some firm and clear boundaries now – people really show their asses when babies are involved. Lord yes they do.

  • Isabel Kallman

    Isabel Kallman

    June 6, 2014 at 3:01 pm

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

    • Suzy Q

      June 6, 2014 at 5:09 pm

      No. It’s a patient safety thing.

  • Holly

    June 6, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    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 told her. We also, thankfully, did not tell her which hospital we were going to be at, so that was a bit in our favor as well had she managed to get to our town.

    For 2nd baby, lucky for me, I went into the hospital at midnight, baby was born at 3am, and so we had the lovely excuse of not wanting to call anyone to tell them because it was the middle of the night! yeah! We called around 6:30am, and we’d had 3 hours with the baby already.

  • Stef

    June 6, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    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 became my husbands problem to deal with. Not mine. He agreed with me that it was not a good idea to have her there.

    I was also very wary about having my mom in the room. I originally only wanted me and my husband, but as the time got closer I eventually caved to my moms guilt trip and let her in. It turned out to be the right choice for me (I was so grateful for her help and being there – and she was 100% essential for my second labour) but I was not impressed with the tactics she used to get into the room.

    Whatever you end up doing will be right for you, and you’ll have a beautiful baby to distract people with. Stay firm, establish boundaries now, and hold firm. It’s easy to relax boundaries later then to establish them after the fact. Just like with kids 🙂

  • Jess

    June 6, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    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 to stay with them for long visits, go on regular vacations with them, etc. I… don’t want those things. So I’ve had to set boundaries, and do it repeatedly. For example, I moved 1600 miles away, and I’m very clear that when we travel back to the East Coast, we don’t always want it to be a big family thing, sometimes we want it to be just us.

    As a result, I think what’s happened is that I have a little bit of a reputation in my family for being sort of uptight and private and picky and wanting my space, and my mom and sister sort of chuckle to each other over how silly it is that I act that way… but they respect my boundaries, and it works. My sister has waaaaay more problems with blurry lines and interfering and pushy comments from my mom than I do, because I’ve set those boundaries and she hasn’t.

    So, my point is, I’m sure that Amy’s advice to not tell your family when you’re in labor is going to sound sort of horrifying to you, because you’re going to imagine how they’ll react when they find out, and it won’t be pretty, but that’s OK. That’s actually the first step toward setting boundaries. They’ll probably be annoyed when you call to tell them the baby is born that they didn’t know you were in labor, and the form their annoyance will take will be in talking to each other about how weird/crazy you are for not wanting them to be involved, and that may bug you, but… that’s OK. It’s actually good! Every time they go through the process of venting to each other about you being so nutty and private and uptight, they’re actually getting more used to the idea that you have boundaries. And eventually you may have that general reputation with them, but that’s a good thing, because it means they know that you have boundaries, and when you set further boundaries they can just chalk it up to you being so weird and private, and that’s fine, great even, because it means they’ll abide by the boundary. The uptight/private reputation is a totally worthwhile tradeoff.

    • Hi, I'm Natalie.

      June 6, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      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 labour. (Although I did yell at my mother for showing up at my house uninvited – but she didn’t know I was in labour. 😉
      Only called them a couple of hours after the babies were born.
      With my second, we didn’t invite them to the hospital (my first daughter was our only visitor), so they met her the day after she was born.

      All in all… it’s what we needed to do. At this point, they don’t even really get upset that I don’t want to be their best-friends-in-the-whole-wide-world. And I don’t really care when they are upset – because it’s my kids, my family, and my space. 🙂

      Good luck, this won’t be your first boundary-setting battle! 🙂

  • Karen

    June 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    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

    June 6, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    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 my SIL called me a few days later and told me she understood why I wanted that moment to myself. Apparently her mother barged in within moments of her giving birth and started SNAPPING PICTURES of everything. Not just the baby, but of SIL too! She was getting stitched up, and that woman was taking PICTURES. My husband heard that and decided to more firmly support my wishes. We didn’t call anyone when we went into labor. We called them after the baby was born, and told them to schedule a visit because the “hospital’s policy was only a few visitors in the room at a time”. It worked beautifully, and I would do the exact same thing again. Our experience was private and so meaningful. I love my family (and I care a great deal for my in laws), but I wouldn’t trade those first few hours for anything.

  • Rebekah

    June 6, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    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 felt the same way. So, listen to yourself. Just because you are a first-time mom, doesn’t mean you don’t know what will and won’t work for you.

    What worked for us not telling anyone the exact due date, generalizing it to be just the month baby was due. This way I didn’t get any phone calls, FB messages, or emails asking if I was in labor yet.

    We also registered at the hospital as private, so if people were to call or show up and ask if we were there, the receptionist would not be able to say one way or another.

    We also didn’t call and tell people that baby was born until 3 or 4 hours after the fact. This was such a wonderful time where the three of us could adjust, get to know each other, practice nursing, and relax without worrying if someone was going to just appear. I’d highly recommend giving yourself lots of time and space for just being together without any performance pressure from outside family members.

    As a result, when we did call and let grandparents know about baby they were very polite in asking us when they could stop by. When they did stop by they visited for about a half hour to an hour and then left. They were so distracted by new baby, that they didn’t even mention the fact that they weren’t called immediately and didn’t seem the least bit upset.

    I think that by setting our boundaries it helped show people that we meant what we said, and they began to respect these boundaries. It’s helped tremendously now, when we set boundaries with extended family in regards to things related to our son.

    And really, you do hold all of the keys – you’ve got the baby. Your baby, your rules. What you are asking for is completely reasonable. And, even if it wasn’t, you’re the parent. You and your husband are in charge of deciding what will and won’t work for your family. Once people know that you can’t be trampled over – it will take some time (and conversations over and over again) to teach them this – it will be so much easier.

    • IrishCream

      June 6, 2014 at 4:36 pm

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

  • yasmara

    June 6, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    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

    June 6, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    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 anatomy in a clinical way… If you have an epidural you’re going to be basically helpless in the bed and the nurses are going to have to roll you over and install a catheter, and then there’s a bag of your pee hanging off the end of the bed…

    My point is not to scare you; my point is just, if you’re a private person, there’s a lot to feel private about during labor and you are NOT WEIRD OR UNREASONABLE for feeling that way, and for putting your foot down.

    And look, if your experience is anything else like mine, the unsolicited opinions/assvice are just going to ramp the hell UP once there’s a baby. Now is a great time to practice setting boundaries, sticking to them, and tuning out the useless crap you don’t want to hear for the sake of a good relationship with your child’s extended family.

  • kcc

    June 6, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    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

    June 6, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    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 out.

    Also, in the event that you have a c-section, you may not have much time with your baby before Baby goes to the nursery and you’re hanging out in recovery for 90 minutes. If your family is at the hospital, would you be okay with them meeting and holding your baby when you’re not there? If not, would your husband be able to keep them away, or would that be a source of conflict? It might not bother you at all, but if you think it would, that’s something else to consider.

    Good luck with the boundary-setting, and congratulations on your little one! It’s a stressful crazy time, but so, so wonderful.

    • Cara

      June 8, 2014 at 11:57 pm

      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 wasn’t a boundary I had set or even knew I had, but next time I will make sure my husband knows I want the two of us to hold her before anyone else.  Four years later it seems absurd, but oh how it hurt to know others met her before me.

  • leslie

    June 6, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    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 cleaned up and was just under a sheet, exhausted and out of it, with my MIL (they had a bad divorce) was beyond weird and certainly unwanted. They are all wonderful, but it was too much for me. I know if they knew I didn’t want it, they wouldn’t have come… or at least would have waited. My husband is clueless about things sometimes. When he told me he called them, I said, oh man, they’ll be coming. He said, no they won’t. Does the dude even know his own family!? I made my husband promise not to tell anyone until all was finished and we were in the post-natal ward.

    I say don’t tell them. They’ll get over it… We’re dealing with all the judgy bits about nursing and cloth diapers, too. I just ignore them and in some cases, have just reduced our visits until the judgy dies down. My family figured it out eventually. 

  • J

    June 6, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    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

    June 6, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    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 most patients are unaware of.

    Congrats and good luck! (I am another vote for don’t call, BTW)

    • Christina

      June 18, 2014 at 12:51 am

      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

    June 6, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    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:

    • Tammy

      June 9, 2014 at 11:54 am

      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

        June 9, 2014 at 4:31 pm

        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

          July 22, 2014 at 2:42 pm

          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

        June 10, 2014 at 12:21 pm

        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 it’s best to be conservative and assume there may possibly be stitches, vomiting, crying, tears, C-sections, a bit of bleeding… the list is endless… and quite commonplace

  • Lydia

    June 6, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    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

    June 6, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    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 help and prefer just your family/doctor/doula, good for you, and give me a call when everyone is cleaned up and ready for snacks and cuddles – later that day, the next day, or when you get home. Babies do stay new for a few days at least LOL.

    • Kat

      June 9, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      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

    June 6, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    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 one. I think it’d be most effective if they BOTH were 😉 And yes, I’d vote not to call until after the baby is born, too (“Oh gosh, it all just got so intense, and I left the phone charger at home and then we got so wrapped up in things that there just wasn’t time. But hey, look, new baby!”) 😉

  • Wendy

    June 6, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    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

    June 6, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    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 this journey.  It’s a heck of a ride!!

  • Jenny K

    June 6, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    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 baby at the end of it. If you’re prepared to not get your wishes, it makes it easier for you to enjoy the birth you got instead of having bad feelings surrounding the birth you expected. Anyway, one of the three things I wished for was that my father not be allowed in the delivery room without my permission. I spoke to the L&D nurse, who had 27 years’ experience, and she assured me the delivery room was in a locked ward and no one could enter without permission. I said, well, watch out, because he is a doctor and is used to getting his way from nurses. No problem, she said, he doesn’t have privileges at this hospital and I’ll tell them not to let him in.

    Cut to post-delivery, my unmentionables are still in the spotlight while I’m getting sewn up, and who comes strutting in to the delivery room. Yep, good old dad, who still doesn’t understand that I’m his daughter and not his patient. Fortunately, he kept his eyes averted from me (whew) because the baby was there already. Still, I was so frustrated because that was the one thing I asked for.

    I’m now 34 weeks pregnant with my second and this time I’m going to play it differently. This time I think I’ll risk hurting his feelings by telling him I don’t want him to make a surprise stop by the delivery room. The delivery room is invitation only and if he doesn’t like it, I’m going to do as many of the other commenters have suggested, and not tell anyone we’re going into labor. We’ll just invite them by later after the baby arrives. I don’t want to be stressing out about an uninvited, however well-intended, visitor while I’m in labor and delivery. Full stop.

    Good luck to you!!!

  • Brigid Keely

    June 7, 2014 at 12:35 am

    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 was very no-pressure from her.

    That said, the nurses all stressed multiple times that they would keep out anyone who needed keeping out, would lie if needed (oh no, they’re doing X and can’t receive visitors today, so sorry!), call the cops if necessary, etc. The hospital I delivered at and every hospital I’ve visited new parents/baby at have had really strict security protocols, too, including calling up to make sure the patient is receiving visitors, and which visitors are allowed.

    Good luck with your boundary setting, OP. That’s one of the hardest adulting tasks there is, I think… drawing lines in the sand where your parents are concerned.

  • Anna

    June 7, 2014 at 12:39 am

    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… Fabulous. Would do it again exactly the same.

    My inlaws… Arrived at 7 pm after I’d been up for 24 hours and you know, had a baby, and all 8 of them (parents in law, SILs and their husbands and my niece and nephew) piled into our room scrambling to hold my son. I had literally just started trying to nurse him (he had low blood sugar at birth so it felt more stressful than I expected) and the kids were literally sitting on my bed. I lost it. Not a pretty scene. And then my husband disappeared for almost an hour chatting with them. I still regret having them in there. It colored my sons birth, just a little bit, and I still get mad at my husband when I think about the fact that he left us to go be social. They won’t be invited to visit until well after we are home and settled with our next baby.

    Don’t let them in until LONG after baby has arrived and you and your husband and child have had a lot of bonding time. Soak up those brand new family moments. There will be ample time for them to hold and adore the baby. You will never get those first hours back.

    • Laura

      July 22, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      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

    June 7, 2014 at 12:59 am

    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? If you have family members standing around making you feel tense during labour, you are right on track for complications.

  • Autumn

    June 7, 2014 at 2:09 am

    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 we can make a quiet exit cause I know my kid.  She had her little huffy moment, and was then like, okay.  This from my MIL who once had a tantrum on our deck during a family dinner at our house cause DH didn’t want to take cold medicine.  “I AM YOUR MOTHER!” didn’t work well and made her look rather foolish.  

    And if somehow they get into your room, tell them they can leave on their own, or security will escort them out.  A friend worked hospital security for awhile, and he said hauling relatives out of L&D was defiantly the entertaining point of his job.  With what another poster said, them their without your explicit OK, is a HIPPA violation.  Hospitals don’t like those.  Under HIPPA, you can kick out the baby’s father.  That’s how strong privacy laws are.  And your MIL knows it, just remind her.  

  • Vanessa

    June 7, 2014 at 7:22 am

    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 much more towards passive individuals, and that’s where all this stress is originating from. I don’t know. But I do know if you want to have a close relationship with immediate family, extended family, friends, neighbors and your wider community you have to let them into your life a little. And learn to not get so twisted up inside about setting boundaries. If it’s that important to you that you can’t compromise a bit then don’t stress. Set your boundary, let the nurses know, let your husband know and that’s the end of it. Even if people keep bugging you leading up to the big day, don’t stress because you know you’ve been explicitly clear to the gate keepers. I don’t think it’s wise to stress or create drama over these things. The unsolicited advice will be never ending, and so what? Say thanks, if it’s good, use it and if it’s not shrug your shoulders and do what you’re gonna do any way. The sooner you learn to set boundaries with your family the sooner they will learn to respect them, and the less likely it will be you’ll feel the need to cut them out of your life or move 1,600 miles away as some of the above posts have suggested.

    • IrishCream

      June 8, 2014 at 10:05 am

      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

    June 7, 2014 at 10:43 am

    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

    June 7, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    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 your support person as they may need breaks and someone to bring them food etc. They had a great handout explaining the role so that person would know exactly what you wanted from them. Knowing my husband, I thought that would be wise and so we asked his mom. She really wanted to be there but never would have asked and was so grateful. It ended up being very wise bc I was induced and it took 3 days and having an extra person was great. She went home right after he was born and came back later in the day to really meet him.

    Also, not to assume, bc I know there are some crazies out there, but are we sure that the cultural stereotype of the overbearing MIL isn’t influencing so many people’s view of their MIL? (I don’t think the OP is, but it seems this site is very anti-MIL) It is easy to underestimate how much it means to mil’s to be involved bc you might not feel as close to them, but it is still their baby’s baby and very important to them too. Maybe try to cut them some slack. Think about what you would want if your baby boy were having a baby. I imagine you would want to be just as involved as if it were your baby girl but bc of gender norms you don’t count as much if it is your son bc you know, guys don’t have feelings or those close ties with their mums…I get that we’re the ones giving birth, but what an opportunity to build those connections.

  • kimm

    June 8, 2014 at 2:04 am

    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. With the second baby our babysitter for our 2 yr old stayed with him and we called parents when baby was born. It took them a day to get here so it was great, everything went better.

  • JMH

    June 8, 2014 at 9:29 am

    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

    June 8, 2014 at 11:52 am

    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 unless and until I say so”. Please respect that. I may easily change my mind, I see that, and if I do, you will naturally be called immediately, you will OF COURSE be in and visiting very soon anyway and not ignored or shut out for any length of time, but I am a private person, I want calm and just ”us” initially, so please, for me, respect that. Then instruct your OB. Tell him or her your worries and fears and get him to go dragon on anyone who contravenes. Then relax and here’s to a relaxing and smooth and super-speedy delivery!! xxx

    • Autumn

      June 8, 2014 at 11:57 pm

      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

        June 10, 2014 at 1:40 am

        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

      June 9, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      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

    June 9, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    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 to circumvent all the angst, call them after you’ve had the baby and if your families complain, tough. They will have to get over it. Start putting your foot down NOW, because you think they’re bad now? Wait until the baby is actually here!

  • J

    June 9, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    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

    June 10, 2014 at 1:19 am

    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 and ended in a completely traumatic birth. And who was sitting there somewhat awkwardly just after all stitching was complete while surgeons were giving me advice on pain meds? My SIL’s fam, including husband and three sons. Seriously. Save them from themselves. Look up advice on how to say “no” to people who won’t take “no” for an answer, as well as dealing with toxic people, in general. I think once you do some reading and recognize some of the core issues that are at play, you’ll feel more empowered to say “no”, not feel one bit bad about it, and sticking with it. It’s not a fun emotional journey, and while you’re pregnant is probably not a great time to have some of these revelations about your family, but it makes such a difference when you realize the selfish nature of their behavior and free yourself from your guilt.

  • nora1

    June 10, 2014 at 3:07 am

    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. because otherwise, you will go through what happened to me, as the due date approaches – family basically visiting and calling several times a day, every day, to ‘spy’ on you and check whether you have gone into labour yet so that they can then spring into action. If you become overdue the pressure just mounts. it’s truly stressful and the last thing any pregnant woman needs.

  • Amber_S

    June 13, 2014 at 1:31 am

    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 in the room. My mom literally stopped the bassinet at the nurse was pushing it down the hallway so she could take pictures. It made me so angry and hurt my feelings so much. Then, she followed us to our room, but wasn’t happy with her pictures. So I’m anxiously trying to breastfeed for the very first time while using a cover (my dad and sister followed my mom in). I ask my mom if she wants to come peek at the baby, she answers “NO. I want a picture.”

    Holy hell woman. 

    I should have known she would not be able to handle boundaries.

    I should have protected us both, protected our relationship, and NOT called her until I wanted her there, which would have been AFTER getting my baby effing latched, thank you very much.  12 months later, things keep going this way, and I’m sorry to say we’re not making much progress.

  • Amber_S

    June 13, 2014 at 1:38 am

    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

    June 15, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    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 them once the baby was born and we had already had some hours of cuddling and mutual adjustment. It was perfect.)

  • Sarah

    June 21, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    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 I didn’t want them there.  She made everyone who came to support me very uncomfortable.  

    Don’t. Call. Anyone.  Its not worth it.

  • Val

    June 22, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    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

    June 28, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    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 I said my husband. She said then that’s all who will be here. She said as labor and delivery nurses that is something they are all comfortable with, being the person to say to family “get out, only XY and Z can be here right now” and it completely took the pressure off me. As soon as the nurse saw my mom doing this she said “okay, time for everyone who didn’t make this baby to leave”….so make sure you talk to the L&D nurses and let them know if you need help keeping things under control in the room. Mine even said she had no issue telling family members that it was hospital policy. Meanwhile I had 17 people in the waiting room, waiting for us…I have no doubt had it not been for that nurse they all would have tried to crowed into the room as I was delivering.

  • Laura

    July 22, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    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 all that new stuff without 50 visitors swooping in immediately after the birth and passing my baby around. The baby will still look the same a week later so we will happily have visitors once we have adjusted to our new family member.

  • Jana

    April 6, 2015 at 11:59 am

    I understand the pushyness too. This is the first Baby Girl on my DH’s side of the family, and so my MIL and FIL want to sit and wait in the waiting room THE WHOLE TIME!!!! Which I really don’t want them to do, it makes me feel super anxious about the whole deal, not to mention my own parents who live 6 hours away will be driving down, DH family is like 15 min from the hospital. I’ve tried to tell them that I really would prefer for them to stay home, but they won’t listen. I just dont want to feel rushed to give birth, and then not have time to bond with our new family without DH parents bursting in. My mom and dad asked me what I wanted them to do, my IL’s just kinda said you call us when you are driving to the hospital and we will meet you there. 

    I already had to be the bad guy earlier in the pregnancy when my MIL stated she was coming to my reveal ultrasound. Didn’t ask, just stated she was coming, too which I had to be like no you aren’t can you please let me and hubby have our moments just the two of us? My MIL is awesome but DH and I like to be a little more private about our lives, and just the thought have having people on edge out in the waiting room just makes me REALLY REALLY Anxious.

  • Sarah

    October 2, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Oh my goodness, OP I feel for you. Not only is my family super pushy (MY MOTHER GRRR), my DH’s family are literally a bunch of what I refer to as “supernuts”. He does not speak with his parents anymore over serious issues and yet they continue to barge into our lives. This is serious shiznit people, like showed up at our wedding (to which they were not invited and also to where we hired security (STROKE OF GENIUS)). I literally gave my L&D nurses (and the front desk) photos of his psycho-ass parents so they would not ruin our special day. We had a fantastic delivery so props to my L&D team (THEY WERE AMAZEBALLS) and to the hospital which has a mandatory 1 hour of skin on skin just mommy and daddy time after delivery. Glad to say that I don’t know if DH’s parents showed up or not because we were both enjoying special moments with our baby boy. You have to be your own advocate OP and say NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT. It’s okay to blatantly call out their bullying tactics. This is a special day for your family too, but mostly for you, DH, and precious new baby. :)) blessings

  • Jean

    November 9, 2015 at 8:24 am

    I still don’t get why some pregnant women’s husbands aren’t supportive of what their wives want for HER labor and delivery. and don’t forget their wives 

    I think might we need to go I to the era when the husbands and all others  were not allowed in the woman’s private birthing room. 

    I still don’t get why pregnant wives are afraid to put their foot down and  tell their husbands, that he needs to be more supportive and respectful of his wife’s exposed body and need for privacy. apart of his job, is to recognize and respect his wfe’s desires and block ALL, non medical people while she is laboring inpain, breastfeeding, giving birth, and getting stitched up.

    Why is it so hard to get husbands to understand that women want and need privacy?  

  • Marie

    January 31, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    My daughter and I have always been close. At one time she said she would want me in delivery if dh fainted. Now she has so many ideas of boundaries like so many have voiced here. Yes, I will respect her boundaries, but lest all of you forget, we love you and worry about you. To not call us until after baby is born is a slap in the face. Who is the first person you call in time of trouble? I couldn’t wait for my mom to come to the hospital after my babies were born! What has changed? Someone mentioned that you will be that mom in the future being excluded. You’ll be ok with that? I am so saddened by something that was to be so wonderful comes with so many stipulations….

  • Jean

    February 25, 2016 at 2:51 pm

            It bothers me to know that people keep having these outrageous urges to be invited into a woman’s delivery room.  

        What’s wrong with a woman wanting some boundaries when she is laboring and breastfeeding, etc.Every woman doesn’t want you all up in her business, with a bird’s eye view of her breasts and vagina. Get real. 

         Would her husband or your husband allow their dads in their naked exam room? Why are you angry about your daughter wanting her space?  Why do we as a society always make a big deal out of women telling us They want to birth in privacy? It’s ridiculous how we scold women about this. Grandparents do not have a claim or a right, and actually they just need to wait until that poor pregnant woman is comfortable and cleaned up! 

         Just in case you have forgotten, it is your daughter who is pregnant with run away hormones, pain, and discomfort. Her legs are the ones wide open, while her doctor has forgotten to protect her modesty as her dad thinks he can walk up in her room. And you as her mother should never bring your husband into your daughter’s delivery room, unless you have knocked and waited for her to say come in!! No woman’s dad should ever violate her privacy. That’s just wrong. 

            When my young daughters have children one day, I will be the one outside of the delivery room door blocking inlaws and grandpas and uncles, until she is cleaned up and finished breastfeeding.I would not  feel entitled the way you do. I preach about this all the time. When my nieces gave birth, their moms( my sisters) sat in the waiting room, until they were called. I had to tell my niece’s brother, dad, grandpas to back their behinds up. Breastfeeding  and birthing privacy is a big deal in my family. I don’t even discuss my daughter’s period and bra talk around their dad or any male relatives. 



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