Mommy Dearest
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I'm preparing to give birth to my first child. Not only will it be my first, but it will also be the first grandchild on both sides. My mother assumes that she is invited to attend the birth. I have no intention of having her there. We have a good relationship, but we are not very close. She always wants to be the center of attention, and she is incredibly high-maintenance. She nearly ruined my wedding with her insistence that everything go the way *she* thought it should, and now she's working on ruining my brother's the same way. I can't imagine relaxing enough to give birth with her in the room. I'd feel like she was judging me--thinking that she didn't make that much noise, suggesting another position when I was happy right where I was. Not to mention, she and my husband don't get along particularly well, especially in stressful situations.
To compound the whole thing, my parents are divorced, and my dad feels slighted any time I involve my mom in something, but not him. My parents and in-laws are concerned about who will be the "alpha grandparents" (yes, they've all used that term). I have zero intention of letting my in-laws see my lady bits EVER. I don't think my dad has had that intimate a view of me since I was in diapers. And I can't even begin to imagine laboring with all six of them (counting my step-parents) in the same building, let alone the same room.
I can cut this whole disaster off at the pass by making sure my mom doesn't show up. However, she's the sort who will insist to herself that I didn't really mean it, that every woman wants her mom there beside her, and she'd bully her way past my midwife. I'm half inclined to just not call anyone to tell them that my labor is starting, and just let them know when the baby has finally arrived (possibly waiting several hours until I think I can handle the onslaught of doting grandmas). All of my parents would be irritated about that, though. They would want to know what was going on, and no one but my mom would show up uninvited.
How can I stop this train wreck before it starts? I'm more nervous about this than about the actual pain of pushing another human being out of my body.

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fashion_doll24 fashion_doll24 4 years 23 weeks
A lot of the above advice is very useful, so I hope AAB can work things out. On a side note, I was wondering... I'm European (Belgian) and here, it's definitely not customary to have family members present during the delivery. For most couples, it's just them, doctors and nurses. No mothers or mothers-in-law. Is this a common practice in the US, having relatives present at birth? I remember seeing a lot of mothers and aunts on MTV's 'Sixteen and Pregnant', but I figured that just had to do with the young age of those girls delivering babies. Of course, I mean no disrespect to those who chose to have their relatives present, but I'm wondering if some of you can explain why you opted to have them in the room during the birth?
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 4 years 23 weeks
to add to all the great advice, one thing you might want to mention whether you are talking about respecting your wishes for the birth of your child or not being eager alpha-grandparents who want to be more important than the other grandparents, is that there certain traits that you and your spouse to not want to teach your kid; narcissism, pushiness, lack of empathy, etc its offensive, sure, but also a hard point for them to argue with. you could mention that you love and respect them but also believe in lifelong learning and that grandparents should be patient, unselfish, and mature?i think the best point made here so far is that pregnancy/ childbirth is a great introduction to parenthood; everyone wants a piece of you (and to give you advice about what they think is best for your child) so this will not be the end of the battle! but don't stress about that- just look forward to your sweet bundle of joy! (on the plus side, i have learned to be so much more assertive since being a mom and really wish i had learned assertiveness years ago)
4 years 23 weeks
If you're worried about your mom barging in past people even after your explicit directions to everyone not to: ask for security to be posted outside your delivery-room door, lock the door, or tell your family you're at a different hospital and have yourself listed under a false name and require a password for anyone receive information. I was having major issues with my bat-crap insane former in-laws when my late husband was dying, and we had to do ALL of the above things to keep them out.
4 years 23 weeks
It is a good idea to not call if you don't want to, but like you said, that may cause more harm than good. I called my Dad when I was on the way to the hospital, and he and his wife (my Stepmother) insisted on going to the hospital. My younger Brother also showed up for a little while, but that didn't bother me. I can tell you that any good midwife will be willing to go to bat for you, and tell her that you need your privacy. The nurses at the hospital where I gave birth were absolutely wonderful, and told my Dad to go eat or something, and not come back for a few hours. They were forced to leave the room each time they needed to do any exams, and (per my instructions) were not allowed in the room when I gave birth. Your midwife wants what is best for you and your baby, and will understand better than anybody that you don't need the stress. Talk to your midwife in advance to let her know what is going on. Then the hardest part will be reminding your Mom and other family that as much as you love them, you are just not comfortable at all with having anybody else in the room when you give birth. If they refuse to listen, just don't call them. I know it sounds really simple, but it is hard to do it in reality. Good luck!
zoorph zoorph 4 years 23 weeks
Oh, hon... This sounds like a nightmare and one of the reasons I have not yet had children! Pushy Mom/MIL syndrome. The best thing you can do is not to let them know you have gone into labor and are en route to delivery. That way, they have no idea you're even at the hospital. If that fails, please follow the advice of others who have been there and tell the nurses and doctors (and hospital security if you have to!) that your absolute preference is that you and your partner follow through with delivery solo and that everyone else is to wait in the waiting room until summoned. Of course, then the problem is going to be who gets to go first... I say pull names out of a hat. That way, no one can accuse you of "favoritism." The other thing that you absolutely must do is put your foot down about this "alpha grandparents" nonsense. Your child is not a toy to be selfishly pulled apart by his or her grandparents! This sounds like a second disaster in the making. I can envision it now: Each set of grandparents continually asking the baby "You love Grandpa and Grandma Smith the best, right?" and completely upending the baby's relationship with the other grandparents. Tell each set of grandparents separately or... well, maybe it'll be better if you told them altogether! that if you hear this kind of language around your child the grandparents' punishment will be no visits and no gifts for a set period of time. The point of extended family is not to see whom the kid will love best, but to provide love and support unconditionally to that baby! If they can't get over their egocentrism, then they are the ones compromising their relationship with the baby, not you. Enlist siblings if you can and if that doesn't work, spring family therapy on them. Tell them that you've visited a therapist and that that person's suggestion was x, y or z (whatever it is) which is certain to be whatever makes you comfortable. Your sweet baby is depending on you. You can do it!
4 years 23 weeks
I am currently pregnant for the third time. For the first two deliveries (both sets of twins, delivered naturally) I had 4 people with me...and they were all men...and my best friends. The first time was in the hospital and the second was at a birth centre. My mother and my partner's mother both thought that they should be there. That is was there 'right' to be there. Luckily, the guys kept them out...in fact we didn't call my mother until the babies were 12 hours old. This time we are opting for a homebirth and it will just be my partner and my best friend. This is all about you and what you (and your husband) want, all others be damned.
starbucks2 starbucks2 4 years 23 weeks
I say tell them beforehand that you want only your husband present and that due to the fact that you cannot trust her respecting your wish you will not call her until after the baby is born. That way she knows just how serious you are and can only be mad at herself for making you resort to this. She will be mad at you anyway, that just seems to be the way she is, but this delivery should be about what you want. Trust me, you don't want to add any tension to your delivery!
FireFly44 FireFly44 4 years 23 weeks
When my sister gave birth she let everyone stay until it was time to push. She had an epidural so it was a breeze for her to let us stay till then. She had given the doctor very specific instructions that ONLY she and her husband be in there for delivery so he kicked us all out. In fact the nurses wouldn't even let her nosey mother near the door to listen! They were that set on obeying her requests. The hospital also had a rule of no more than 4 people in the room other than nurses, doctors so that eliminated having lots of people in there anyway.
gigimama gigimama 4 years 23 weeks
I agree with the advice to simply not tell anyone until the baby has arrived. YOU are the mother and you need to assert your role now. If you can't stand up to family when it comes to the best interests of your child and your marriage, how will you be a forceful advocate for your child with teachers, doctors, and other people you'll encounter throughout the next 18 years? Keeping your labor and delivery as stress-free as possible is a mothering decision. Do not feel guilty for doing what is best for your growing family. Your mother brought this on herself.
Zivanod Zivanod 4 years 23 weeks
1. Wait until after the baby is born to tell them. 2. Explicitly say "Waiting Room Only" to family. 3. Scared to do two yourself, hire a doula to makes ure your requests are met so you can focus on the labour.
4 years 23 weeks
Tell the nurses when you get to the hospital that nobody else is allowed in the room except your husband. They WILL keep her away. Have you been to a labor and delivery ward? It's serious security. Your mom won't even make it past the intercom, much less be in a position to "bully her way past your midwife."
skigurl skigurl 4 years 23 weeks
i like your idea of not calling anyone - and phone them only after the fact you can easily claim it was a rush situation (which it will be) and that your husband was budy tending to you to make phone calls...i should hope that after the baby is born and present, your mother won't rip into you...it would be pretty insensitive, and frankly, if she does, i would have your husband on hand to ask her to please give you some peace
MonkiChriz MonkiChriz 4 years 23 weeks
I agree - don't call anyone until after the birth. No one needs to be there but you and your husband (if you want him there, of course). I only wanted my husband at the birth. Not because of any family issues but because it's our own new family and special time. My son was actually born 2.5 weeks early (no complications). It turned out to be a great excuse for not calling anyone until after I was ready for visitors. =)
CandaceW CandaceW 4 years 23 weeks
Oh "Anxious About Birth," I feel your pain. I'm in the same situation only my MIL will be staying at my house straight through my due date because my husband will not be home (traveling for work) until the day after my due date. It sort of robs me of the opportunity to go into labor privately. Even though I'd never let her in my delivery room, she isn't the problem. My own mom is a the raging narcissist and I don't want anyone in the room with me except my husband who may not even make it. If you are delivering in a hospital, make it VERY clear with the staff and make it the first BOLD CAPITALIZED sentence in your birth plan. Hell, make it the only sentence in your birth plan if you don't have one. "No access to my room by anyone other than myself, my husband (insert name) and hospital staff." If you plan to have a home birth, well, don't call anyone except your husband and midwife. As long as they are in on "the plan," it shouldn't get out... unless your mom lives across the street or stalks you, then you've got bigger problems. I know someone will (or maybe has already) suggested you have a "heart-to-heart" with your mom and explain your feelings, etc. Barf! Don't bother. If she's like mine, she cannot absorb logical reasoning. Just keep it simple. I plan to do the same and the way I think of it, my mom can be mad that I called her late or she can come and make my life miserable during delivery and inevitably find something else to be mad about. Either way, it ends up being about her so I might as well have a peaceful delivery at least ;-)
amandachalynn amandachalynn 4 years 23 weeks
I had this same problem. We ended up telling everyone that it would only be myself and my partner. We told them that this was the beginning of our family, the first child that we created, just the two of us. We told them that we want the moment to be ours, and after we have our moment and are ready, they could come in. My mother tried to argue, but I stood firm and told her this was how it would be, and that she would oblige me if she had any love and respect for me and her grandson. I had a hospital birth, so I told the nurses and staff ahead of time that no one was to be let in until we were ready.
4 years 23 weeks
I think Anxious About Birth knows this, she just wants advice on how to go about making sure her narcissistic mother doesn't show up and make that not happen! This advice was useless. Her mother's not going to listen to reason, will probably cause a fight or some sort of drama regardless of what her daughter is going through because SHE has to be the center of attention - how should AAB handle it? Call everyone after the baby is born? That would be my suggestion. This way it's just her, her husband, and anyone she DOES want to be there, and no one she DOESN'T.
4 years 23 weeks
I agree with Mommy Dearest! You and the baby are the most important, and that sounds to me like it means not calling anyone until after the baby arrives! Who knows, you might get lucky and have a quick delivery where you don't have much time to make any calls anyways! Seriously, it might feel like the lesser of 2 evils, but go with what you feel is best for you and what you can deals with the consequences of. Calling after the baby arrives might irk everyone a bit, but hopefully they'll all be so overjoyed with its arrival, when they found out won't really be important anymore.
lauren lauren 4 years 23 weeks
I would just tell them you feel the birth is for your husband and you only. You will be happy to invite them to see the baby after. Good luck and congratulations!