Question: Dear Luise: Are you familiar with the way family members sometimes attend the birth of a new baby these days? I am pregnant with my first child. Unfortunately, I am naturally pretty shy. The idea of everyone standing around, cheering me on, running a video camera and witnessing something so totally personal really upsets me. My husband doesn’t much care one way or the other but he doesn’t want to take on his parents, who are sure they should be there. I don’t want to start a war, and yet it feels like I don’t have a vote at all. I’d like your take on this. Thanks a lot. Sandy
Answer: Dear Sandy: Boy, am I glad I didn’t have to work my way through that minefield in my twenties. I’d have wanted to keep a modicum of privacy and distance, physically, from those near and dear at such a time…but then that was 1948…a little, teeny while ago.
Please let your husband know that this isn’t working for you, and you need to have the final say. It’s your body. And the birthing process is your job. There is enough stress built into the process without adding to it.
I have a friend that went the whole nine yards with her first baby three years ago. She said that it felt like it was a circus and she was the main attraction. After the baby was born, the grandparents were really pushy and she always felt it was because they got their way on that first major decision. Everyone ran right over her. When the second child came, they decided to just have Mom and Dad there to say “welcome” and both of them liked it a lot better that way.
I’m sure you know women who aren’t the least bit shy, love attention and feel very supported giving birth in a room full of relatives. If so, then it’s for them. It’s their cup of tea. No one is right and no one is wrong. We’re just all different.
Better start setting limits and establishing being heard ASAP. After all, I’m assuming that when the baby was conceived it wasn’t a “hail, hail the gang’s all here” event. Blessings, Luise