By Gabriella Gometra
With the advent of more hospitals allowing more visitors in the delivery rooms while babies are delivered, some relatives of the baby assume they can be present where they are really not wanted. Here are some ideas for the pregnant mother to consider.
I overheard a discussion at my last prenatal checkup; one that spoke to an incredibly common problem. This woman was frustrated because her mother was determined to be in the delivery room on the big day. She and her husband wanted it to be a more private event. The difficulty is telling the unwanted party that this is a special moment without feeling too much guilt, or choosing to accept the guilting in order to experience the birth of your child in the way you want.
It seems that everyone has a meddling parent that doesn’t know boundaries. They expect to be in the delivery room without any discussion, making it so that you’re not just trying to let them down softly — you actually must actively address the issue. Keep in mind that this is your child being born into your home. Although grandparents are important, you need to ensure that this experience is right for you. If you tell the grandmother-to-be nicely (i.e.: “We would prefer a quieter room with less people in it so that we can remember a more peaceful experience” instead of “Why do you always have to try to interfere….”) she’s likely to understand. Choose your words carefully to ensure that something that would make sense to her. If peacefulness is not important to her but modesty is then telling her that you’re shy about being seen in that position might work better. Tact is important; make sure you are kind in telling her that she can’t invite herself.
There is a chance that your reasonable explanation will not be accepted. Some people just want to be there no matter what you say. In this case, you may experience some of the behaviors intended to make you feel guilty. Whether it be sulking or complaining, try to let it be. If you internalize the immaturity of someone you love you’re bound to let them have what they want even though it’s not what you want. Stay strong and just ignore any attitude you receive. Remember, it is your day to meet your baby.
Sometimes adults can be even more immature than just whining and complaining. If you think your nosy relative might try to get into the room against your will, notify the staff of the maternity ward. They will refuse entry to as many people as you need them to, and you won’t be the bad guy in the situation. Whether they quote a policy limiting the number of people allowed into the room or the current flu epidemic you can feel confident that they will make sure you get to keep out the people you want kept out.
Although you may never get your relative to understand the boundaries between your life and what they have control over, it is never too late to start putting your foot down. This is the birth of your child, and only you have the right to invite people. It is possible to demand your nosy mother-in-law respect your choices in such a way that you don’t burn bridges. And even if they do get upset, they’ll get over it. Just keep in mind that there are only so many times you will get to give birth to a special child, and you have the right to experience it in any way you choose.