How to handle family member wanting to "help" at delivery

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AmberC727's picture
Joined: 06/05/06
Posts: 226
How to handle family member wanting to "help" at delivery

When I first found out that I was pregnant, I invited my 2 sisters to come and watch our two children at our homebirth. One of my sisters was there for Lindy's birth, and my other is a mom now herself and I have no doubt that they'll both be just fine watching them while I labor. Well, my aunt told me to let her know what I'd like her to do when the time comes. If I thought it would come to this, I would have told her to make me a nice pot of soup and have it ready after delivery. But since I didn't say anything really (I did tell her my sisters will be here) she eventually invited herself to watch the kids.

The problem with this is that she's a REALLY anxious person. I've gotten 3-4 phone calls in the past week with her asking ridiculous questions like, "What do I feed them, can they drink tap water?" to "Do I need to dress in layers?" Umm...really? I don't care what you feed them, use common sense and sure, dress in layers if that makes you feel better! I can't figure out a way to UN-invite her without hurting her feelings. We have a really small house and as it stands now it'll be me, DH, 2 sisters, 2 kids, MW, 2-3 apprentices and photographer friend. That's a lot of people in a 1 story, 1500sf house! I don't need 3 people watching my kids. I also don't need the negative or anxious energy.

If anyone has any suggestions on what I can say to her that will spare her feelings (she's very sensitive) please let me know. I'm kind of hoping I'll go into labor in the middle of the night so I can just not call her and then tell her later that I just didn't want to wake her up since we had the situation covered. As it stands though, I live so close to my grandma that she could drive by any moment and see tons of cars in the yard when it happens, and then know something is going on and wonder why she wasn't called.

Help!

Joined: 04/30/09
Posts: 2257

These situations are not fun. I didn't let anyone in the room when the kids were born besides Dh because I knew anyone else would just make me feel tense and "watched".

I don't know how to suggest uninviting her, but if you did decide to keep her on, maybe a list of the kids favorite foods, activities and basic routine would help her feel less anxious? I wish I had an easy answer to this problem. I want to say just be honest with her in how you're feeling, but I know that can be hard to do knowing she's likely going to take it personally.

Joined: 04/21/08
Posts: 1063

Maybe you should clarify what you want her to do exactly. Does she know how many people are going to be there? If she is a really anxious person she might actually be relieved. I know I would NEVER want to attend a home birth because it would make me anxious - though I'd be happy to help with anything when it was all over (and I have delivered at least 40 babies). I am just saying you might be surprised by her reaction. Soup sounds like a wonderful thing to have her help with. You can just explain it to her like you have to us... maybe I am just reasonable, but I think your reasoning makes total sense. Oh, and leave out the part about the anxiousness and negative energy - which would probably apply to me as well. Just tell her that your midwife is bringing 2 apprentices which is very important for their training and the house is going to be quite full. Good luck!!! But you have to say something soon!! Keep us posted.

Joined: 10/02/11
Posts: 1937

I'd definitely leave out the anxious part, but explain that there's going to be a lot of people there, but you'd appreciate help after the birth (either with food or whatnot). Her feelings might be hurt at first, but I think that's better than keeping YOU down because there's no many people and negative energy from her. You're the momma here, your feelings come first!

Just a SN: My MIL asked me to be in the room when I delivered. I laughed it off but she took it as a yes. So, DH and I were talking and I cautiously explained that I wouldn't be okay with her in the room. I mean, a lot of people have been looking at my hoo-hah since I've been pregnant, but that doesn't mean I want EVERYONE in on the action. So, he told her it'd just be him in the room - no one else and everyone can be at the hospital, but no one in the room. I think she felt kind of bad about it, but she just said "okay". So, I made DH be the bad guy in that one, but I didn't want all that company.

patricia2383's picture
Joined: 04/17/08
Posts: 458

That's a hard one because your sisters will be there with the kids. My MIL wanted to come but I said no because my mom couldn't be there because she is watching DS. I would just tell her the truth you don't want that many people in the house, and if you would have known before she wanted to help then you wouldn't have asked your sisters.

xMyLovelyLadyBumpx's picture
Joined: 02/17/11
Posts: 1198

Eek. My grandmother is under the impression she will be attending the birth since I havent found a doula I like.

I plan on just NOT calling her when the time comes and afterwards explain that it just slipped my mind because I had so much else going on. Maybe not the BEST way to handle it, but who can be mad at you when your holding a newborn?! lol