When my husband and I began developing our birth plan for our first child, one of the things we had to take into consideration was who would be with us during the birth itself. There are so many unknowns when it comes to delivering a baby — how long labor will last, whether interventions will be needed, if you will poop on the delivery table. Managing all of that on top of added family dynamics seemed like a lot to handle. We had to determine who to have in the delivery room with us, and it was a conversation that started long before my due date was approaching because we knew there would be hurt feelings no matter what we decided.
My husband and I come from very different families. His side takes their cues from him. If he indicates that he'd like them to be involved with something, they're happy to support. They respect his wishes, whatever they may be. My family dynamics are very different, and my family likes to be very involved in my life. They also have thoughts and opinions about how I should do things. We took all of these things into consideration when we decided who should be in the delivery room with us when our daughter was born. For us, we felt it was best to have no one with us aside from the delivering midwife and the nurse assisting. When we have our next child, we’ll set the same boundaries.
When making decisions about who to have present for the birth of your child, there are some questions to ask yourself that may make the decision easier.
1. What Kind Of Family Dynamics Will Be At Play?
Will having your mother in the room make you more stressed or less? Will your best friend be a great source of support or distract from the situation? Do you really want your mother-in-law staring at your hoo-ha? The day is about you and having the healthiest birth possible for you and your baby. Anyone who isn’t going to prioritize that should maybe stay out of the room.
2. What Kind Of Birth Are You Having?
If you’re having a planned C-section, you may already know that no one besides your partner will be allowed in the operating room with the doctors (and maybe your doula, should they be allowed.) If you know you have a high-risk pregnancy, it might be wise to have as few people as possible in case something does go wrong.
3. What Kind Of Support Are You Looking For?
Are you having a doula? If so, that’s one more body to take the place of family or friends, and that’s totally OK. In fact, it gives you a great excuse to give them as to why they can’t be in the room.
4. What Does The Hospital Allow?
Some people want a photographer or videographer to capture the birth. In my case, no video was allowed to be taken, so the latter wasn’t even an option for us. Before inviting anyone into the room, make sure it’s in line with the hospital’s policies.
5. What Kind Of Environment Do You Want In The Room?
Some people bring laughter. Others tend to stress out. What kind of atmosphere do you want to create in the delivery room? Invite people who will help you uphold the space that you want.
6. What Are Your Motives For Asking Someone To Be There?
Are you inviting someone because you feel like you have to or because you want to avoid a fight, or are you inviting them because you really want them there? Because if it’s the former, see number seven.
7. What Do You Want?
This day is about you and your nuclear family. Ultimately, you get the final say and you are not obligated to have anyone you don’t want in the room. The best piece of advice I got for navigating this was from my midwife. She told me, “If anyone gets upset, just tell them that I said you couldn’t have anyone else besides your partner in the room with you.” Boom. Pressure’s off.