Dozens of men and women have come to the defense of a new mother-to-be after her husband insisted that his own parents should be in the delivery room, despite her wishes.
The woman, whom BoredPanda has identified as Isabella Laguna, shared her plight on Quora recently. She wrote: ‘I’m pregnant and my husband is forcing me to let his parents in the delivery room, but I don’t want that. What should I do?’
Over a hundred people have commented with advice — most of which involves telling her husband that he has no say in the matter.
Help! A woman posted a question on Quora about how to handle a pushy husband who is ‘forcing’ her to allow his parents in the delivery room
‘The delivery room is not a place for a social gathering,’ reads the most-upvoted response, by a woman named Sharon Kaufman.
She went on to enumerate the reasons why she believed it was fair to exclude the in-laws, including protecting the health of the mother and baby, the fact that many people can’t handle the sights and sounds of delivery, and that having too many people in the room would make it cramped.
She added: ‘When you are pregnant, it seems that every doctor and nurse in the world has to have a good look at your private area. Even though you know that they have seen hundreds of women’s bottoms, and care only about making sure that you have a good outcome, it feels terribly intrusive — and it is.
He has ZERO say in your medical decisions!
‘As a result, hospital staff are trained to preserve a patient’s dignity, to the extent possible. And that may mean keeping people who are not involved in your care, except for your spouse, from seeing you exposed. It also may mean listening to YOUR wishes, and not your mother-in-law’s, regarding who may see you in the delivery room.’
Meanwhile, a woman named Margaret Challen said that she was ‘not too happy with this husband of yours, quite frankly.’
‘Your husband should have accepted your refusal the first time around,’ she wrote. ‘I assume your husband is not with you at every single medical appointment. If he is, make an extra appointment just you and the doctor, and tell him or her confidentially that you are under enormous pressure from your husband and in-laws to have them in the delivery room, you don’t want them there, it’s causing you massive amounts of stress just thinking about them witnessing you in labour with twins, you’re scared your husband won’t respect your wishes, and so on.
A few men also chimed in to take the side of the mother-to-be, including Johnny Austin.
‘First of all, any man that goes against his wife’s request especially in a situation like this, well he wouldn’t even be in the delivery room,’ he said. ‘He and his mommy and daddy can sit out in the waiting room and wait for the results.’
‘In labor, you are at your most vulnerable, both emotionally and physically,’ wrote a doula named Dama DeFuerza.
Yikes! She said he insisted on having her in-laws in the room while she gave birth
‘Stress is a significant factor in the outcome of a birth. I have seen births stall during times of minor stress in my own work. Having people around that are unnecessary and unwanted can make a birth more painful by feeding into the fear/pain cycle.’
Several focused on how intimate childbirth is, since vaginal delivery exposes a woman vagina to whoever is in the room. Women in labor also have less control over themselves in the process — and sometimes even defecate on the delivery table.
Other unpleasant things can also happen, like vaginal tearing, that a woman may not want her mother-in-law and father-in-law present for.
‘Tell your husband that before you’ll allow his parents in the room to labor and delivery, he must stand naked and also produce a bowel movement in front of your parents,’ wrote Julia LaLima. ‘He must remain naked, spread-eagle for at least 12 hours. If he accepts this challenge, allow his parents.’
Quite a few others also advised Isabella to put her foot down again, and if that didn’t work, to have a private word with her doctor.
Tell him to stand naked and produce a bowel movement in front of YOUR parents!
Many also stressed that, at the end of the day, giving birth is a medical procedure, not a party.
‘He has ZERO say in your medical decisions unless you’re unable to make decisions for yourself and have previously given him the power to make choices when you’re unable,’ wrote a woman named Rachel Adams.
‘It’s your body, your delivery, your time, tell your OBGYN that you do not want anybody in the birthing room but the medical personal , your husband and that’s all,’ added Micheline Seminet.
While it seemed quite clear to everyone who posted in the thread that the delivery room isn’t a place for a crowd — and it’s up to the woman actually giving birth who gets to be around — the Quora query is not the first time this issue has popped up on the internet.
It seems there are quite a few mothers-in-law, in fact, who would like to be in the room, and who don’t seem to understand why their daughters-in-law would prefer they stay out.
In February of this year, a reader wrote in to the Dear Prudence advice column on Slate with a similar question, but asking from the side of the mother-in-law.
The reader’s son Steven and daughter-in-law Julia were expecting their first child, and Julia only wanted Steven and her own mother in the delivery room.
‘I was stunned and hurt by the unfairness of the decision and tried to plead with her and my son, but Julia says she “wouldn’t feel comfortable” with me there,’ she wrote. ‘I reminded her that I was a nurse for 40 years, so there is nothing I haven’t seen.
‘I called Julia’s parents and asked them to please reason with their daughter, but they brusquely and rather rudely got off the phone. I’ve felt nothing but heartache since learning I would be banned from the delivery room.’
She went on to say that could no longer bring herself to even speak to Julia, concluding: ‘I’m being treated like a second-class grandmother even though I’ve never been anything but supportive and helpful. How can I get them to see how unfair and cruel their decision is?’
Unsurprisingly, the advice columnist shared a similar opinion to the people who chimed in on Quora.
‘You can’t! You shouldn’t! You are entirely in the wrong!’ she wrote. ‘I say this in the hopes that, after the initial flush of indignation fades, you will be braced and supported by the realization that you have been acting badly and that you need to change.
‘Your daughter-in-law is giving birth, which is a pretty difficult, painful, and intimate process. She has every right to plan ahead for just how many people she wants to be in the room for that.
‘This is not about you. You are going to get to see your grandchild the day they are born. You will get to be in your grandchild’s life for as long as you live. Nothing is being taken from you. You are not being snubbed. Your daughter-in-law and your son are drawing a totally appropriate boundary, and you need to stop trying to argue with them about it.’