As pregnant mamas, we sometimes fight insane, unwanted requests from family members who want to be in the delivery room. I find this rude, appalling, and frankly, stupid. Let’s be real here: if a woman wants you in her delivery room, she’ll ask. If she doesn’t ask, you can bet she doesn’t want you there.
Mama, who comes into the delivery room while you birth your baby is 100% percent up to you. No one else. I didn’t even plan on having my spouse in the room—yes, you read that correctly—only my doula. It was my choice, and you bet I made it.
Was there judgment from family and friends? Oh yeah. Did people purse their lips, bulge their eyes, and question my choice? Yep. Even my nurse judged me, much to my disappointment. But I held my ground and made the choice that was best for me.
Your opinion, mama, is the ONLY one that matters.
You’re the ONLY one who gets a say and your vote is the ONLY one that counts. It isn’t up for discussion. So back off, creepy family members, in-laws, and those who think they have some crazy right to be present for you delivering your baby from your body. Not today, Satan.
My firm belief in a woman’s choice extends beyond visitors in the delivery room; it goes all throughout the postpartum period.
(Technically, after giving birth we are postpartum forever. Here, I am referring to the “fourth trimester,” a.k.a. the first three months postpartum because I believe they’re the most intense.)
I didn’t have any family visitors for two months after my baby girl was born. Why? Because I didn’t want to. Of course, when we told our families ahead of time we weren’t scheduling any visitors, they balked. They teared up. They even went to my spouse behind my back to question it, but he 100% supported me . . so the joke’s on them. Basically, they made it about them and their feelings.
But, I was not swayed nor was I amused. In fact, their responses further confirmed my decision.
Mama, you get to decide who is present for your birth, your postpartum.
I knew I’d be tired, emotional, and in pain after birth, and I knew, without a doubt, I only wanted to surround myself with people who would make me feel comfortable and at ease. So no, that didn’t include some family members.
If your mother, sister, best friend, aunt, mother-in-law, and brother’s girlfriend make you feel comfortable and you want them around, go for it! If their presence soothes you, invite them over!
But please, never ever feel you owe it to anyone to have them present in your delivery room or visiting you in your postpartum period. You have every right to make the best choice for you.
Mama, you deserve to be surrounded by those who bring you peace.
For me, this was my husband and a few friends who stopped by with meals. For you, it could be more people or less. Whatever and whoever you invite (or don’t) is up to you. My dear friend had her sister-in-law (who’s also her best friend) live with her for three weeks after giving birth. And, it brought her so much peace and help during her fourth trimester.
You deserve to be taken care of and supported in the way you want to be. Not the way others want you to be. And you certainly don’t deserve to be pressured or manipulated into having visitors simply because they want to visit. That’s just them being selfish.
Mama, you don’t have to give in to family pressure.
It starts early when you’re pregnant. The expectations. The comments. The insinuations about which family member(s) get to visit the baby first or who will be closest to the baby. It makes me want to throw up—or at least throw something at someone.
I don’t care who that person is—if it’s your best friend, your father, your mother-in-law, or your cousin. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your choices about your body, your birth, your baby, or your postpartum.
And, if someone gets upset or reacts strongly, questioning your choice, it reveals their character flaws and their selfish wishes. It does not reflect or say anything about you or your choices.
When we’re pressured into doing something we don’t truly want to do (like have visitors earlier than we want), it leads to resentment. Trust me, I’ve been there.
It doesn’t matter what someone’s relationship is to your baby—grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, etc.—they DO NOT get to pressure you into having visitors before you’re ready. Their wants do not outweigh your needs.
Mama, you have all the power, so don’t forget it.
Now that I’m pregnant with my second baby, I will wait even longer to have certain people visit. For some, two months was too soon to have them around me. For others, I might have them visit sooner because their presence was soothing and their help was actually helpful.
The most important part is to remember it’s your choice. You, mama, have the power to say yes or no. You, mama, have the power to say when, if, how, why, and who. Don’t forget that no one can show up to visit you and your new baby without your consent.
(And if they do, I recommend not answering the door.)