Giving birth to babyWhen considering who to allow in your birthing room, it's OK to be selfish.
Some women envision their birth-day as a time to invite anyone who is close and dear to them into the birthing room-mother, sisters, partner/husband, children, in-laws, next-door neighbor-and yet other moms feel most comfortable with only their husband/partner in the room. Ultimately, there is no one right way, but rather, the way that is best for you.
Choosing who may attend your birth can be a challenging task for moms who receive pressure from friends and family. This is a time when you have permission to be selfish! While your mother may assume that she has a front row seat during your birth, you may not feel comfortable birthing in the same room with a woman who has a long history of nagging and criticizing.
When considering who to allow in your birthing room, explore your relationship with the person.
Ask yourself some questions:
> How do I feel about this person?
> How does this person feel about my birth preferences?
> How did this person respond the last time I needed their support?
> Write down five words that describe this person. How do those words make you feel?
Continuous support (emotional and physical) during labor and birth has been shown to result in healthier birth outcomes and a more positive birth experience.
What does positive support look and sound like? First and foremost, the person(s) supporting you during labor and birth must be familiar with and comfortable with your birth preferences. A good support person will offer words of encouragement and compassion, and refrain from passing judgment.
What if you just can't say no?
Sometimes, even if we know better than to allow our aunt/grandma/mother-in-law in the birthing room, we do it anyway. If this is your situation, plan for additional support. Appoint at least one other trustworthy person to be your primary support during labor and birth. Ideally, this person is very familiar with your birth preferences and will be your advocate and spokesperson-including speaking up to your sister/mother/aunt who insists that you ask your doctor to break your water, because that's what she did in her births.
You also may consider hiring a professional labor support person, called a doula.
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