What to do about such hypocrisy?

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Joined: 12/16/11
Posts: 6
What to do about such hypocrisy?

My girlfriend's sister, who I have know for years, has invited (only) me to the birth of her first child for support. That is her free choice. I don't know who the father is and I don't ask. I will probably be too embarrassed to even look at her 'below', but I may do. However, I will tend to stay focused on holding her hand, offering her words of support in a quiet way, and have already started to look at sites about what the role of a birth-partner is.

My girlfriend (her sister) thinks it inappropriate, but has yet to provide me with convincing reasons as to why it is inappropriate, but I know her sister would never have another woman with her (we have discussed it several times) and her dad is not in the area. I also know if my girlfriend had been invited it would NOT be considered inappropriate. Apparently, if I attend it is voyeuristic and sexual, but if anyone else does, it's not, and that is the hurtful part. It's not my baby, but myself and the sister simply get on well. I am a kind of neutral in her family and don't get involved in any family arguments - always keeping my distance - so I am assuming she sees me as reliable which is probably what you want on the day in question.

Why would her inviting me cause such a rumpus - again, she would rather have nobody there than another woman: I am just amazed at the double-standards of some people.

Prudence's picture
Joined: 05/02/05
Posts: 256

I'm confused... Why would it be voyeuristic? I'm assuming you are another gal- but even if you were a guy, I wouldn't view attending a birth as sexual and voyeuristic.

Any which way- in this case- it sounds like your girlfriend is jealous that her sister trusts you enough to be in labor and delivery and yet has not asked her to go to L&D to hold her hand, since she is the obvious blood relation in this discussion. That would seem to me the heart of the problem.

Anyways, I'm not seeing this as a double-standards issue, but it would irk me nonetheless to be in your shoes!

laurensmitty1982's picture
Joined: 07/30/06
Posts: 1117

I being a women, think that it is inappropriate. I am picturing my sister asking my husband to be the only one in the delivery room at the time of her birth and it just wouldnt fly. I figured you are a guy because you said you are not the father. You may not be thinking about what this may mean to your girlfriend. She may question the intentions of why her sister asked you to be the only one at the birth of her child. I think it is a little strange to be honest, even if her family is or isnt disfunctional and she doesnt want family there. It sounds like your girlfriend and the sister are close enough and you are close to her as well if she asked you to be the only one in there, so I can kinda see why she would ask you, but not without the sister.. Defiant no go in my books..

Do you want a happy girlfriend or a happy girlfriend's sister?

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

From a woman's perspective, I also consider it inappropriate. In particular if you are a man and your girlfriends sister wants you as the only person in there. Very strange. I know my husband would never go for a thing like that, but if my sister asked him to be the only one in there it would be a very serious issue. I imagine the situation has your girlfriend questioning every aspect of your relationship and what this scenario reveals about your relationship with her sister. I don't think that your being there is sexual or even voyeuristic (unless you are just really excited to watch a baby come out of your girlfriends sister), but it is weird. Of course, based on your short post, we cannot know all the dynamics of your relationship with your girlfriend, her sister or the rest of the family, but based on the information I have it definitely seems inappropriate.

combatcutie's picture
Joined: 04/04/07
Posts: 2129

I agree with the ladies above. I find it inappropriate. It is very odd that your girlfriend's sister wants you and only you in the delivery room. I don't think it is sexual or voyeuristic, but very strange and inappropriate in my eyes

Danifo's picture
Joined: 09/07/10
Posts: 1377

It would make me uncomfortable if someone (other than his sisters) asked my husband to do that. I would be ok if they asked him and some other people to be present even if I was not. By her sister asking you and only you, it is initmate and I would be uncomfortable with my husband having that relationship with another person. Although I don't have sisters, I would be hurt if my sister would rather have my partner in the room alone rather than me alone or both of us.

Having said that my husband was only at our births because it was importnat to me and wanted to support me. He would probably rather shoot himself in the foot than see someone else.

Joined: 12/16/11
Posts: 6

Hello Prudence

Many thanks for your reply and your implicit support.

This event may well happen once in this girl's life and as long as I can leave the delivery suite knowing I have done my best in terms of support, while she has a heathly baby (and she is OK herself), well, that's enough.

People confuse these issues, because of the sexual overtones to do with nudity, etc. I kind of understand that attitude, but that raises a further question: if there are those kind of overtones why would a woman invite a female (mother, sister, friend) to see her giving birth? It's either sexual or it's not, and I don't think it is.

If it upsets a few people then I won't go, but on what is supposed to be a majestic day for the mother-to-be, I think it's all a bit silly.

Thanks again

Joined: 12/16/11
Posts: 6

Hello Lauren

no, her family are just normal, not dysfuntional and nobody is trying to play anyone off anyone else. The sister finds it a little strange about asking another woman to see her, that's all. In reality, I won't 'look'. I will probably be a bit overwhelmed myself.

This is not a sexual thing, just a supportive thing.

Thanks for your reply.

Joined: 12/16/11
Posts: 6

Hello Anna

It is no more inappropriate than if she had asked her sister. My gender is IRRELEVANT. No, it is not my baby; we just get on well. She simply feels comfortable around me. I don't put her under pressure. I don't argue. I am easy-going. So she probably thought, 'why not'.

The mother-to-be is not very close to other women, in general, so that's probably a factor, but that doesn't mean that there is anything sinister going on (because there isn't).

Thanks for your post.

indigoV51's picture
Joined: 09/19/03
Posts: 101

You gotta do what makes you most comfortable. I think it is awesome that you would be supportive for your friend. I don't find it strange at all. For the most part I have much better guy friends then women. If your girlfriend is having issues with it, they are HER issues and needs to get over herself and if she can't then maybe she isn't the one for you. Also some of these women are seriously prudish here and are stuck in gender stereotype roles. If you want a more liberal free thinking message board there are better options.

MissyJ's picture
Joined: 01/31/02
Posts: 3218

While I would disagree with your girlfriend about it being voyeuristic, I do believe that there can be a somewhat sexual aspect (as described in Orgasmic Birth.) The process of giving birth IS an incredibly sensual and very intimate experience. I agree that it should be a mother's choice to have someone there that she trusts to support and preferably cares about to share that intimacy in welcoming her child to the world.

For some women, this is a joyous celebration of life that they are open to sharing with their partners, parents, siblings, and more. Again though, it is centered on who *they* wish to share that intimacy with.

While I gather that your girlfriend is lashing out by the statements / reasons she has used, perhaps she is feeling somewhat threatened by the closeness that she recognizes the two of you would share in going through this together... and rather left out. From her perspective, I sense that she sees the two of you in a relationship that she feels should be exclusive to her sister sharing something this personal. She may feel the same way if it was her best gal pal being asked without her as well... just her reasons that she would lash out with might be different.

**********

I do have a question for you. It appears that you have posed this question elsewhere along with postings of other childbirth related questions or scenarios with women being naked with other women present (in non-sexual situations) as a bad thing. Within one of those you claim that

"Yes, there is something odd about a woman who gets undressed in front of another woman. It's wierd. I have lots of sisters, they would never do it. If they want to do in the US fine (but I don't think they do)."

I'm curious as to why it would be odd for a woman to be undressed with another woman present - sexual or non-sexual situation? What about women having a natural birth with a female midwife present?

***********
Indigo - it is good for you to drop by and weigh in, but unnecessary to call others that disagree with you as being "seriously prudish" simply because they answered in a way that you disagree with. For someone to not feel comfortable with their husband being the only one to attend the birth of *their* sister -- particularly if they view it as an intimate (not sexual in a voyeuristic way) sharing... is simply their take on the question from their personal perspectives and situations. I think it could have more to do with them being in relationship and finding it odd that their sister would choose to exclude them in favor of their spouse/partner (no matter the gender.)

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

I just want to add to this, that one of the issues your girlfriend may have with this, whether she says so or not, is that this is an experience that she feels should be special between you and HER, on the birth of your first child. I know for me, my husband was a first responder and is RCMP, as such he has been present at a number of births. I was very disappointed1` that he did not see the birth of our child as 'special' (for lack of a better word), because it wasnt his first experience. It changed the experience for us. Maybe she is worried it will change your experience as well.

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

I personally think it's very stranget that she would choose you of all people to be in the room with her "alone" during the birth of her child. It wouldn't be so bad if both you and her sister, your GF, were invited. I too would question her motives on this, and I would be very uncomfortable if I were your GF. Like another poster said, wouldn't you rather do what makes your GF happy? If not, maybe you shouldn't be with her if you're not going to put her feelings above someone elses. I have guy friends, a couple that are very close, and if I wasn't married I might ask them to be there to support me, so this has nothing to do with you being a male... it's the entire situation that's strange.

tink9702's picture
Joined: 09/28/08
Posts: 2977

I think it is very hard for family to be told they cannot be in the delivery room when they know someone who is not family is. I'd say that is the heart of the matter. I feel that the woman giving birth is the ultimate authority on who is appropriate, whether that person is family, regardless of gender, it doesn't matter. What matters is she gets the support she needs, no matter who that person is.

I personally am very prudish! LOL and the only person I want in the delivery room is my husband. I tollerate the nurses and MW because I'm supposed to have them there and for the baby's sake etc. I would never want my sister, my father, any female friend, any male friend etc. in the delivery room. that's just me though! Smile

I hope you are able to make a decision you, your girlfriend, and your girlfriends sister are comfortable with.