As a doula, we often times hear this," Sooooo, we have decided that my parents, my mother-in-law, and my best friend are going to be in the room during the birth of our baby! Isn't that a great idea??!??" Um, nope. Not only is it NOT a great idea, it's a horrible idea. Not because of the effect that it has on the doula, or nursing staff, or care provider, but the effect it has on the mom, especially if mom is going natural. Now, everyone has the best intentions. Grandma feels she is going to be a wonderful, supportive cheerleader,Uncle Earle is going to fetch the water, and your bestie is going to journal every major event," water broke at 4:12 pm!," "sitting on the big yoga ball at 5:06! Go Sarah!," "5:56 pm -Oops, she just pooped....," "6:32 pm- Um, ok...Sarah just yelled at me for talking to her." Ok, so not every grandma, friend, other relative is that bad. In fact, I have been a part of a few (very few) births were family members were very supportive and helpful. That is not the norm, though.
Birth is a very sacred event. It needs to be bathed in love, support, encouragement, and have minimal people. Laboring mamas appreciate low-lighting and a quiet, soft space. You may have heard this analogy before, but would you want a lot of people staring at you while you tried to go to the bathroom? No, you need quiet and privacy. Women that initially have a room full of people during birth, often end up regretting it. They often feel like an animal at the zoo, being watched carefully, everyone anticipating each move. If a woman is faced with that situation and not sure what to do, have your doula or nurse excuse your well-meaning family to the waiting room. I had a nurse tell a couple, "Listen honey, I don't have to sit with them at the table during Thanksgiving. I don't mind being the 'heavy!' "
So to prevent the family drama mayhem, be sure and set boundaries BEFORE go into labor. Don't feel like sending a pointed email to one specific person ( i.e. your lovely mom-in-law) ? It's ok, send out a general email explaining your wishes and boundaries. If you send it out at the very end of your pregnancy, it also creates less time for drama.
Keep them out of the room and keep them out of your ear, too! Nothing is more frustrating than hearing a lovely text notification in the middle of a contraction!
My advice is to let all of your well-wishers know beforehand that YOU will be contacting them when YOU are ready. Also, kindly ask them to NOT text or call during the birth , but instead, remind them that your partner will reach out to them when he/she gets an opportunity. Your family should respect your boundaries. They will have plenty of time to love on you and your new baby.
Remember, it is YOUR day!
Dallas Birth Doulas