Pregnancy, and the expectation of the birth of a child, brings joy to entire families. Not only the parents to be, but the grandparents and siblings of the expectant couple all wish to share the joy of this miraculous event. A new baby in the family is a wondrous thing. However, many people seem to forget the pregnant mother in all the excitement. Grandmothers and aunts start planning what they will do and give to the child. Family members sit and discuss who will be at the actual birth and who will get to hold the baby first.
Grandparents run out and buy entire nursery sets and decide color schemes.
Many expectant Grandparents see a grandchild as their opportunity to do all that they could not do when they, themselves, were parents for the first time. People tend to forget or run over the feelings and desires of the actual mother to be. Some family members even go so far as to accuse the pregnant mother of being selfish. Any time a pregnant woman will announce HER wishes, it is swept under the rug as raging hormones, and the other family members go on planning HER life. The following are situations that often occur during a pregnancy.
1 - Grandparents start to decide what the baby will be named. In fact, many grandparents start to insist, and are then angry and hurt that they do not get to name the grandchild. They also believe that they have the right to veto a name that is not appealing to them. As much as this child will be a part of the grandparent's family, they already named their children. This is the sole right of the expectant parents.
2 - Decorating the nursery: Many relatives start going all out and buying entire nursery sets for the new infant. Either that, or they totally disregard the mother’s wishes as to color schemes and decorating wishes for the baby’s nursery. People, this is NOT your baby. Please honor the mother and let her have the joy of decorating HER child’s room.
3 - There have been various occasions where the Grandparents go out and buy an entire nursery for THEIR home, with the intention of the baby staying overnight quite often. There have been, unfortunately, many instances where the Grandparents will keep some of the shower gifts at THEIR home, so that THEY will be able to use them for the baby. Once again, we must iterate, this is NOT the Grandparents’ child. It belongs to the mother and father who conceived him/her. Most mothers want to have their infants/children with THEM at all times. This is NATURAL.
4 - The question of who attends the birth. Nowadays, there is a loud voice demanding that things be FAIR (e.g. “If the pregnant woman’s mother is with her at birth, then it is only FAIR that the husband’s mother be there as well.”). Many families are quite put out when they are told that they cannot be in the birthing room. They call the pregnant woman SELFISH. In this situation, the only people being selfish are those who demand the right to be in the audience, and this includes the father of the child. Many a time a man has berated his spouse, because she does not want his family members in with her while she is in the throws of labor. What people seem to forget is that, while this is a miraculous moment, there is an actual HUMAN BEING going through labor here. Just as everyone has the right to privacy when going under surgery, so does a woman have the right to privacy when she gives birth. While the event is miraculous and beautiful, it is also one of the most undignified positions a woman can find herself in, if she has people staring at her personal parts. No one has the right to demand attendance or be hurt by not being there. Not even the father of the child has the right to allow someone in the birthing room, unless the mother gives her consent. Please do not guilt the expectant parents. Do not barge into the room when told not to. NO ONE has the right to do this. Fathers, do NOT tell your spouse that she is being unfair not to allow your parents view the birth. You did not ask them to be there at conception. Do not insist now.
5 - Holding the child after birth: While we acknowledge that the desire to hold one’s grandchild, niece, or nephew after birth is a very natural and accepted desire, the mother and father have the RIGHT to hold their child first. They even have the right for a bit of quiet time to enjoy this bundle of joy. Please hold your excitement for a bit, and let the actual parents bond with THEIR child. The mother has just gone through hell. Let her enjoy the payment. You will have ample opportunity to hold and coo over the child.
6 - Visitation after birth: A woman who has given birth is just like someone who has gone through surgery. She needs time to rest, and she needs peace and quiet. She does NOT need tons of relatives coming to visit. She does NOT need the grandparents sitting by her bed 24/7. She certainly does not need rude people who refuse to leave, even when she nurses the infant. Also, as exhausting and hard as the birth is also on the father, his wife needs him WITH HER. He should not be catering to his family or going home to rest and leaving his wife alone at the hospital while he entertains relatives. The time for entertainment will soon come. Taking a couple of days off and spending it helping the mother of your child is the RIGHT thing to do.
7 - Visiting once the mother and child are home: While it is perfectly understandable that relatives want to see the baby, they must remember the mother. She is tired and needs her rest. She needs alone time with her husband so that they can get used to this new person in their household. The parents need bonding time, before the entire world goes back to its regular orbit. Soon, the father will go back to work and the home must be taken care of. Give them a week. Also, many Grandparents want to come visit and "help" the new mother. Helping means doing the wash and the dishes. Helping means cooking, cleaning and doing the shopping. Helping does NOT mean sitting around, constantly taking the baby from its mother and waiting to be catered to. Helping also does NOT mean telling the mother all the things she is doing wrong, how her baby is starving and should get the bottle instead of the breast, and generally berating her for all her child raising decisions.
8 - Grabbing the baby: There is a very NASTY and HURTFUL habit of relatives and friends simply grabbing the infant from its mother’s arms. No one has the right to do this, not even the grandmother who just wants to hold her grandchild. No one has the right to do this. If you want to hold the baby, then ASK!!!!. The same thing goes for grabbing the baby from the stroller, or waking the baby up. If the child is asleep, leave her/him be!!!! ASK the mother if you can hold her/him. This is also true when it comes to giving the child BACK to his/her mother. If the baby cries and the mothers asks to have him/her back to feed the infant, THEN GIVE THE BABY TO HER. There are numerous instances where a grandparent will refuse to hand the baby back, citing that the baby is NOT hungry, or that h/she needs a bottle and not the breast. No one has the right to refuse to hand a child back to the mother.
Please remember, in all this excitement, that it is the pregnant woman who carries the child for 9 months under her heart. SHE is the one who throws up, feels sick and has to run to the bathroom every ten minutes. The MOTHER is the one who goes through labor/surgery and has the child. SHE and her husband are the only ones who have a say in what goes on during and after the pregnancy. Let them ENJOY this special occasion, and do not ruin it for them with selfish desires. Also, do NOT put the husband in an awkward position. Many men are pitted against their parents and their wives. Please do not put a son in this position. Yes, he has to honor his parents. Yes, he loves his parents. However, he loves and honors his wife as well. This child was created by TWO people, with no help and interference the grandparents (on BOTH sides). No man should be put in the position to have to placate his parents at his wife’s expense.
One more thing that we would like to speak about has already been mentioned above. Many a father finds himself torn between his parents and siblings and his spouse. There should be no problem here. When you decide to marry/live with/start a life with a mate, then you have made a commitment to this person. THEIR desires should count above all others. Especially when it comes to something so precious as a child. Please remember that if you find yourself in the middle it is NOT your spouse who put you there, but your parents/siblings. Your spouse agreed to have YOUR child, yours and hers. She did not agree to be an incubator so that relatives on either side could have a child. When it comes to birth and childrearing, the ONLY two people who have a say are the actual parents of the child. To demand and insist that others have the right to tell the mother what to do is WRONG. To try and guilt one’s spouse into placating your parents/siblings is to betray and belittle her. By doing this, you are telling her that she is nothing in your eyes, and that her only duty is to bow down to you and your wishes. Please do not use the old worn phrase of honor thy parents, because your spouse IS NOW a parent and HER desires with HER child should be honored. Also, please take into account the implications and the results of your actions. If you side with others against the desires of your spouse, it will lead to resentment and lack of respect on her side. By you showing her that you have no respect for her as the woman who carried your child (and in pain shalt thou bring forth children) you are letting her know, intentionally or not, that you have little or no respect for her feelings AND WELL-being.
This article is NOT meant to bash anyone. It is not meant to try and ruin the very miraculous event of the coming of a child into this world. The only thing this article is meant to do is to remind people WHO is important here, and to protect the mother who wants to raise HER child.