Hey, lovely mamas!
Today I wanted to write to you about a very important part of the birth experience: choosing who should be in the room for your labor and delivery! While the obvious people include your OB/GYN or midwife (unless you choose to have an unassisted birth- kudos to you!), there are harder choices to make when it comes to deciding who else should be in the room. Birth is an intimate occasion and should be treated as such. Here are some important questions you should ask yourself before inviting anyone to your birth!
Is this person supportive of your birth beliefs?
This is without a doubt the most important question of all! Does this person support you and respect the way you desire to give birth? For example, if you want to have a natural birth experience, you probably don’t want someone with you that will push you to take pain medicine at the first signs of discomfort. Additionally, you want someone who agrees with your birth methods and will advocate for your wants and needs if you get to a place where you are unable to advocate for yourself.
How does this person deal with seeing you in pain?
If the answer is not well, you may want to rethink having them there. You want someone who can remain calm and not add undue stress to you at this time. While many people can man-up and be the support you need, some will let their discomfort get the better of them, adding more stress than relief to your situation. That is not what you need while you’re in labor!
Would you care if this person possibly saw you naked?
I think anyone who has given birth can attest to this fact: it doesn’t matter how modest you are or want to be, at some point at least your bottom half of clothing is coming off. And while you might stay covered for a while chances are you probably won’t be when it gets down to baby birthing time. Not to mention all the cervical checks during labor! How much would you care if this person happened to catch a glimpse of your lady bits? Although I will say, most women don’t care as much as they normally would once their sole focus is on getting that baby out!
How does this person get along with your partner?
This is very important! While your needs and wants should come first, it’s smart to take into consideration how well this person and your significant other get along. No one needs bickering or tension in the delivery room. While they don’t necessarily need to be crazy about one another, you should make sure they understand they are on the same team for a day. And that team is yours. If it comes down to choosing between your partner or a relative/friend, choose your partner! When it comes to the birth of your baby, they can offer you the support you need in a way no one else can.
Is it realistic that this person will be available when you go into labor?
I am not saying that you shouldn’t invite someone to your birth based on their schedule or location, but what is the likelihood of them being able to attend? Are they in a position with their job or families that they can drop everything when they hear you’re in labor? Every birth has the potential to be quick. Would you be upset if they couldn’t make it?
What is this person bringing to the table by being at your birth?
Even if they passed all the other questions with flying colors, please consider this one carefully. What will this person do at your birth? If they don’t have a job, they shouldn’t be there. There’s nothing worse than the feeling of someone waiting around on you for the main event to happen. If they don’t have a job, find one for them. Whether it be taking photos, getting you or your partner refreshments, additional support- it could be anything! Just make sure they have a clear purpose for being there.
A couple of additional things to think about…
- Would you consider letting people drop in or are you strictly sticking to birth-team-only? As for me, I didn’t plan on anyone attending my birth other than my husband and my sister. But my labor was a lot longer than anticipated and I was thankful when another sister came by with breakfast and coffee for my birth attendees and clothes for me! My mom also came for a few minutes with dinner. We were all very thankful for those slight changes in plans! Whatever you decide, make sure everyone knows and respects the boundaries you set and that if you allow anyone to drop in, they know when it’s time to leave.
- If you don’t want anyone there period, when can they come afterwards? Do you want people to come see the baby immediately, the next day, when you’ve come home? The choice is up to you, but again, make sure your wishes are made clear to your loved ones! There is no wrong or right time to have visitors. Go with your gut! If you give birth and decide you want people to come earlier than you thought you would, your family and friends will be more than happy to oblige!
Above all else, remember this, mama: It’s your birth and it’s your choice who attends or not. You get to decide who comes, stays and goes. Some people may feel a little hurt about your choices, but they will get over it. Enjoy the journey to meeting your little bundle of love. ♥
May you have a safe & peaceful birth!