In-laws and delivery rooms can be a touchy subject
Ah, the delivery room. Where everyone in your immediate and extended families feel they belong, and have no problem telling you so. It can be a battle, to be sure. But in a recent “Dear Prudence” advice column, one mother-in-law took her delivery room demands a little too far.
OK, way too far.
Writer Nicole Cliffe often finds controversial tidbits like this online and shares them on her Twitter account. So when she came across the “advice” this mother-in-law was asking Slate‘s Dear Prudence for, she had to share it with the world.
“My son, Steven, and daughter-in-law, Julia, are expecting their first child and our first grandchild next month,” the woman, dubbed “Second-Class Grandma” begins in the column. “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.”
Which is not totally unheard of, is it? Most women I know feel a thousand times more comfortable with their own moms. And most hospital delivery rooms only permit two people in there with you — your birth partner, and a guest of choice. That’s how mine operated, anyway. Well Grandma wasn’t having it.
“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 writes. “I reminded her that I was a nurse for 40 years, so there is nothing I haven’t seen. I’ve tried to reason with Steven, but he seems to be afraid of angering Julia and will not help. 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.”
So. True. While I will say my own mother-in-law was in the room with me, and she is also a nurse, she’s also the closest thing I have on this planet to an actual mother and it was a last minute decision to invite her. But my husband and I were terrified and I just needed a mom, you know? But poor Julia in this story ALREADY HAD ONE, and her mother-in-law is behaving rather beastly about it.
Grandma wasn’t done. “Steven told me I could wait outside and I would be let in after Julia and the baby are cleaned up and ‘presentable.’ Meanwhile, Julia’s mother will be able to witness our grandchild coming into the world. It is so unfair.”
Yeah. That’s the thing about birth. If you’re not the one giving birth or being born — it ain’t about you, toots.
Twitter seems to agree, with many sharing similar delivery room dilemmas.
OMG. The mere idea of that scenario playing out has me reaching for my smelling salts.
Grandma Guilt Trips are real, y’all.
Without a doubt. How is this a difficult concept to grasp? Labor and delivery isn’t, like, getting lip injections. It is a very serious medical procedure where lots of bodily things happen you don’t want everyone to see!
Luckily for all of us, “Dear Prudence” had no problem shutting Grandma down and bringing her back to earth by telling her she was “entirely in the wrong.”
Because giving birth is the most intimate process on the planet. Women have every right to decide who they wish to be present, and how it’s all gonna go down. The personal comfort level of the mother and what’s best for her and the baby should be non-negotiable. Here’s hoping Julia and Steven have exactly the birth experience they want to have.
BOUNDARIES, GRANDMA. BOUNDARIES.
“Let this go,” Prudence advised. “Do not rob this moment of its joy by keeping score and demanding more.”
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