Giving birth is a very personal experience for every woman. Whether you want your entire family with you to experience one of the most sacred and important, defining moments of your life, or simply want to just have your partner or a select number of family or friends there with you, that choice should be up to the mother alone.
Many pregnant women feel pressured to have people in the delivery room they may not necessarily want, from their own mother to their mother-in-law. But if they put their foot down and say “no” to unwanted guests, that is a decision that should be respected, don't you think? One pushy mother-in-law clearly didn't think that her daughter-in-law had the right to dictate who was in the delivery room during her own delivery and felt so offended that she was denied entry that she wrote for advice on the situation.
During a live chat with online advice columnist Dear Prudence, the advice columnist addressed a letter she received from one woman who declared herself a “second class grandma” asking for advice after feeling shunned by her son and daughter-in-law.
"My son, Steven, and daughter-in-law, Julia, are expecting their first child and our first grandchild next month," the woman explained. "I had what I thought was a good relationship with Julia, but I find myself devastated. Julia has decided only Steven, and her mother will be allowed in the delivery room when she gives birth. 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."
Any woman who has ever given birth can absolutely relate to Julia wanting to feel as comfortable as possible while giving birth for the very first time. But sadly her mother-in-law seems to have blinders on. The writer states that since she was a nurse for 40 years, there is “nothing I haven't seen” and even went so far as to plead with her son and Julia's parents to try to “reason” with Julia. She writes that she's “heartbroken” over the fact that she has been “banned” from the delivery room while Julia's mother gets to experience the baby's birth. She concludes her letter by stating she “no longer feels valued.”
" I cannot bring myself to speak to Julia. 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?"
Thankfully, Prudence delivered a solid piece of advice that every expectant mother and pushy mother-in-law needs to hear. "You can’t! You shouldn’t! You are entirely in the wrong!"Prudence writes in response. "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. It’s difficult to admit when one’s been wrong, but there’s nothing quite so clarifying as figuring out how to do better."
Prudence reiterates that “it's not about you” while telling the grandma-to-be that she is absolutely not being snubbed, but that her daughter-in-law has every right to dictate who is and isn't in the delivery room. "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." Prudence then stated that the mother-in-law needs to let the entire situation go while reminding her that her actions could have long term consequences. "Do not rob this moment of its joy by keeping score and demanding more," she wrote as she ended her reply.
A birth experience is truly amazing, and the one person who should have the final say on who gets to be in the delivery room is the person giving birth. While we can all appreciate everyone wanting to be a part of such a special moment, there are a lifetime of special moments to come. Prudence hit the nail on the head with this one.