When you’re pregnant, especially for the first time, at some point you’ll start planning for delivery. For some mamas, this happens the moment they see the double lines on the stick. For others, it’s something that happens while they pack their hospital bag. When it comes down to it, it really doesn’t matter when you start thinking about your delivery plan – but more that you have an idea of what your ideal birthing experience looks like. And a big part of that plan includes who should be in the delivery room with you.
Labor and delivery can be a beautiful thing – after all, you’re bringing a new life into the world. But lets be honest: birth can also be a high stress, painful experience that requires a lot of love and support from anyone who is going to be around you. Your body and emotions will both be on display – and while some moms are totally comfortable sharing that with their entire family, others aren’t. And that’s ok – the point is to choose what will be best for you in a very vulnerable moment.
As you’re thinking through what you want for your delivery experience, there are a few specific things you should consider:
Privacy: Depending on your level of modesty, you may be more or less comfortable with others seeing you pretty much naked.
Photos: A family member can take photos for you while your baby is being born and right after. But again, make sure you trust that those in the room will respect your privacy and not snap photos for themselves of a very intimate moment in your life.
Baby Bonding: Most moms want the first few hours of life to bond with their baby. If you want that time alone, make sure the people in the room know they’ll have to leave and come back later once you’ve had some time together.
Time Alone: Birth is messy, you’ll have a lot going on medically after baby comes, and you’ll likely want some time to get cleaned up. Be sure you take this into consideration as you’re creating your ideal birth plan.
Personally, I’m a private person. It took me a while to figure this out, but eventually I knew that I wanted a private experience that included just me and my husband (and, you know, that whole team of doctors and nurses). Not everyone liked my decision – there were several people who wanted to be in the room. I felt bad for wanting something different, until I realized it just didn’t work for me. Since it was my birth experience, I needed to plan for what was right for my family – which was a quiet gathering of just me, my husband and our newborn. And at that point, I no longer felt badly about doing what was best for me and my family.
Ultimately, I had a c-section with my son. It was a last minute decision – he was breech, I had about 12 hours to prepare. With major surgery, having people in the room ended up being a non-issue – but we did still protect our time after delivery by not inviting anyone to the hospital until we were ready. This included time to bond, get the medical ‘extras’ out of the way, let some of the anesthesia wear off and get into normal clothes instead of a hospital gown. I’m really glad we did what we wanted instead of catering to everyone else, because it gave us time to adjust and take in everything that had happened without becoming completely overwhelmed.
Choosing for You
When it comes to newborns, people just can’t seem to get enough. But remember that the birth of your baby really is your own experience, and if you want it to go a certain way you have to be ready to communicate and stand up for what that is. Not everyone is going to agree with your decision, and that’s ok. Babies don’t spoil – so whether you decide to share the whole experience with your entire extended family or wait to see people until you’re settled back in at home, do what works for you and your nuclear family. You’ll thank yourself afterward.