Monday, July 28, 2014

Should my mother be in the delivery room?

People tell a bride that her wedding is her big day. Do what you want! Make whatever choices you like best! But in reality, brides make choices not only based on personal preference but on the preferences of her guests. A bride is hosting a party; a gracious hostess cares about her guests' comfort.

When you give birth, though, it really is all about you. :-) No one else is carrying that baby for nine months or bringing him or her into the world. So, should your mother be there as you give birth? Only if YOU want her there. There are women who want to share their birth with their mother, husband, children, and maybe even other family or close friends. If that's you, go for it! The only note of caution I would add is to remember that this baby is yours and your husband's, not your mom's. Dads can sometimes feel pushed to the sidelines, so do be sure that he is involved and knows he is wanted.

Photo credit: David Beyerlein

If you're unsure, here are some reasons your mother should not witness you giving birth:
You want to patch a tense relationship. If you and your mom are not on great terms, the delivery room (or other birthing location) really isn't a good place to mend fences. Giving birth requires 100% of your concentration; you won't be able to spare the mental effort to keep up social niceties. Instead, consider having your mother be the first visitor, or have a special song for Grandma and her new grandchild, or some other way to make Grandma feel special and wanted (since she is!).
Your mother is a Negative Nelly. For a great birth experience, you want anyone in the room to be positive and confident. Your body was designed to give birth, but stress and fear cause you to tense your muscles, working against the natural flow of things. If you mom will be doomsaying, critiquing, or complaining, she's not going to improve your birth.
You'll feel uncomfortable having her there. There could be any number of rational or irrational reasons for you to feel that way, but if you have a nagging feeling that you'll wish she would leave, it's much easier to not invite her than to tell her to leave halfway through!
Your mother is a Chatty Cathy. Now, if you have a great relationship with your mom, you might want her talking to you through the early stages of labor to keep your mind occupied and then leave. Once you get to the transitional stage, though, odds are good that you won't want any distractions. Let me repeat: giving birth requires 100% of your concentration. If you want mom around only in the beginning, be sure both of you are clear about how you will ask her to leave and that she will respect your first request.

Now, none of those are true of me and my mom, but I still didn't want her in the delivery room. She didn't particularly want to be there, either, so thankfully it wasn't a touchy situation. I just didn't want another person in the room. This is the same reason the idea of a doula doesn't appeal to me. I don't want anyone talking to me or touching me during labor other than my husband. I asked my midwives (who were awesome) to direct everything through him when practical. I am introverted and fairly reserved by nature; being in labor really amplifies those traits in me.

Should your mother watch you give birth? Sure, if you want her there. And if not, that is perfectly OK, too. She will have many more opportunities to bond with your baby! :-)


  1. How 'bout a post directed at husbands who think that if you invite your mother to be in the room, HIS mother should get to be in the room, because otherwise your mother will get to meet the baby first, gasp!! Yes, I have actually heard of this one.

    1. Hm, yeah... I try to stay out of other people's marriages. ;-)