Some of the most important people in a baby's life is their grandparents. While mom and dad get the day-to-day task of caring for their precious bundle of joy, the grandparents get the pleasure of spoiling them. The relationship with the grandparents can start really early — but whether or not it works out in the delivery room depends entirely on how they are with the mom.
The mother-in-law relationship can be really precarious. Most sons would do anything for their mother, but when their wife is having a baby, that can be tricky. The mother-in-law can get involved in debates on the birth plan and even the baby name — even while the mom is going through labor. She can send her son off on all kinds of errands during the critical moments or remind the mom just what a complete mess she is. On the other hand, some mothers-in-law are awesome to have around in tough situations. They provide wisdom and a lot of calming advice. And one thing is for certain — they love that little baby even before they meet them.
It can be a big decision whether to allow the mother-in-law in the delivery room, so we have some circumstances that might give readers pause. Here are 20 things that happen when mom's mother-in-law is in the delivery room.
20 Language Police
Labor and delivery are really painful. We have absolutely no judgment when a mom chooses to say some four-letter words during the process, but when your mother-in-law is in the delivery room, it can mean that the language police are in town.
Through the struggles of labor, we think women shouldn't feel like they have to censor themselves. It's hard to deal with giving a good impression to your mother-in-law when you are going through pain and stress, and we think women should let the four-letter words fly if they feel like it.
19 No. 2 Worries Heightened
You might be surprised to learn that one of the biggest fears that women have going into labor doesn't have to do with the baby at all – it's that they will embarrass themselves by pooping a little on the delivery bed. It's an embarrassment that most women don't want the nurses to see, and if their mother-in-law is in the delivery room, those concerns can quadruple.
Talk about giving a bad impression — no one wants to poo in front of their in-laws. So the worry can take even more away from the ability to be able to follow her body and stress less. It's difficult to figure out the pushing process for all women, but we don't want the mother-in-law to make it worse.
18 Telling Horror Stories
When a loved one is in labor, many moms think back to the times when they were having their own babies. It's natural and, even if the memory is painful, there is a swell of love in the nostalgia. When it's a woman's son who is having the baby, the mother-in-law can really get weepy and want to recount her own tales.
That's all well and good when the mother-in-law is in the waiting room, but if she's in the delivery room, she's likely to recount some not-so-pleasant memories of hours of agony. It's not fun to hear about how bad things might get or how big your husband's head was when you are about to push his child out. But that can happen if you let the mother-in-law in the delivery room.
17 Lots Of Belly Pats
Pregnant women get lots of belly rubs from perfect strangers. And even if their mother-in-law has barely ever offered a hug, when her grandchild is in that belly, she is sure to get up close and personal and give a lot of pats. That's even true in the delivery room.
Grandmas can't wait to hold their grandchildren, and when they are still in their mother's bellies, they will do their best to touch them at every opportunity. Unfortunately, during labor, moms typically don't want to be touched. It can be hard to deal with all the belly pats from their mother-in-law, who just can't wait to touch the child outside of the body.
16 Extra Pushing Pressure
All women feel incredible pressure when it's time to push. They are the ones responsible for getting the baby out of their body, yet it can be hard to figure out the process. Women would do anything to stop the pain and meet the baby, but it can still take hours to finally deliver the baby.
When the mother-in-law is there and she can't contain her excitement to finally meet her grandchild, the pressure is on even more. While words of encouragement from your husband might be music to your ears, they can be problematic from an in-law, especially when the pressure is high already. No one needs things to go up a notch just because the mother-in-law wants to be in the delivery room.
15 Third Wheel In The Relationship
Even though it's exactly a honeymoon, going through labor and delivery with a partner at your side can be kind of romantic. Many couples take walks together and sway side to side like dancing to help with the pain. A husband can give his wife a massage to help too. And going through such a difficult experience together can cause a young couple to bond and build their relationship.
But when the mother-in-law is in the room, that can add a third wheel to the relationship. The father might not want to touch his wife so closely in front of his mother, and he may not step up in support and love the way he would if it were just the two of them. It's just different with the mother-in-law in the middle.
14 Questioning The Birth Plan
Many moms spend months figuring out their plan for the birth. They do a lot of research and think about what makes them comfortable. They have their own goals in mind, whether it's trying for a certain amount of time before considering interventions or ensuring more comfort or placing a high value on their concerns about the baby. The birth plan can be really personal, and there are only two other people that a woman needs ot get on board — her partner and her healthcare provider.
That is, unless she invites the mother-in-law into the delivery room. It's not always intentional, but the mother-in-law tends to have different ideas and opinions. She places a high value on the baby's health and also the mother's, but that doesn't mean that she would plan the birth the same way. She might question everything from the music playing during the labor to the decision to have an epidural or not. Parents don't need people questioning their decisions before the baby has even arrived, but that's a big possibility with the mother-in-law in the room.
13 Complete Mess Warning
During a long and hard labor, a woman doesn't always end up looking so beautiful. Between the long, painful marathon of contractions and the sweating and stress, it's no wonder a mom's hair ends up more messy than bun and if she had on makeup, it's streaked and down her face by the end.
Some women are sure to fix their lipstick and look their best in front of their mother-in-law, but that's not going to happen with a long protracted labor and delivery. And there are some mothers-in-law who are going to be sure to let their daughters-in-law know when they aren't looking so good. That doesn't help anyone in that situation. In fact, it can make a hot mess situation a whole lot worse.
12 Calming Presence For Some
There can be some good in inviting the mother-in-law into the delivery room, but it can certainly depend on the person and the situation. Some grandmas-to-be aren't very good at navigating the experience, but for many, their experience has tempered them to handle tumultuous situations well, and they may actually provide a calming presence in the midst of a really stressful situation.
That can be especially true if the parents start to worry that something is wrong or the doctor has identified a problem. Sometimes, the parents might tend to panic. But an older, wiser influence can help them understand that this kind of thing has happened to other people, and it might not be as bad as you think. It's important to not panic and make clear decisions when complications arise, and sometimes the mother-in-law can be the one to help you get there.
11 She'll Want To Hold The Baby Right Away
Grandmas love their grandchildren. And whenever you arrive at their home, they will immediately take the baby and won't let go until it's time to leave. The same temptation rings true when the mother-in-law is in the delivery room — she can't wait to squeeze her tiny grandchild, even if that means taking the baby from the mother before she is ready.
The moments after the birth are precious for new parents, and we think that they should have as much time to love on their new child as they want. We understand that other family members are excited as well, but they don't have to hold the baby right away to show their love and support. For most families, it works out better to give the mom and dad their private time with the baby and then let the rest of the family meet the baby a few hours later, but that isn't an option if the mother-in-law is in the delivery room.
10 In-Law Competition
Family matters can be difficult for a couple. There can be a lot of jealousies and competition between the moms on both side. Sometimes the mother-in-law makes it into the delivery room because the mother's mom has already made it in and she doesn't find it fair for her to have to sit out.
With both the mom of the mom and the mom of the dad in the delivery room, it can get really crowded, and the women can get competitive. If they don't have a great relationship, they might be trying to one-up each other in their children's eyes the entire time. That just adds drama to an already high-stakes situation, and it's possible that no one comes out of it happy.
9 Holiday Debate Begins Early
Speaking of the struggle to keep two families happy, one of the hardest things to do when you marry or have children is to handle the holidays. Each set of grandparents can't wait to dote on their grandchildren at Christmas, but they don't want to give up Thanksgiving time either. And even summer vacations might be an issue. When the baby's birth is impending, those hopes and dreams come up, and that can mean the holiday debate can begin when the mother-in-law is in the delivery room.
Parents feel a lot of pressure to make both sets of grandparents happy and given their children memories with both. But that can mean that the holidays are stressful with extra trips back and forth. It's not the time to put the pressure before the baby is even born, so do your best not to make any promises until later on.
8 Dad Gets Sent On Errands
A mama's boy is always a mama's boy, and that can mean that when the mother-in-law is in the delivery room, the dad-to-be is at her beck and call. Instead of the grandparents running errands for the mom and dad, the dad will be the one sent to grab his mom some fast food or running to the store when she needs something.
We think that the dad should be by his wife's side during her labor and delivery, and if his mom can do her best to go run her own errands and go in search of anything the parents-to-be need, we think it might be OK to let her in the delivery room. But if she's going to rule over her mama's boy, it's time for her to take a step back for the new mom and dad.
7 She Will Talk Up The Nurses
The woman in labor needs to be the top priority when there is a baby on the way, but when a grandparent is in the room, she can become the center of attention. Many mothers-in-law make friends during the process, and that is just fine when they are in the waiting room. But when she is making friends with the nurses in the delivery room, it can make the mom-to-be feel less important.
It all depends on the mom's personality, as well as her mother-in-law's. Will she feel left out if she is struggling through a contraction while her mother-in-law is laughing with her new friends — the ones who are supposed to be helping the mom? It could happen, so let that factor in to your decision.
6 Privacy Non-Existent
Labor and delivery can be difficult for a modest woman. The hospital gown's gaping back is only the beginning of the problem, since many women have to put their legs up in stirrups for cervix checks over and over again and then keep them up there for pushing.
Women get so hot during the transition phase that they often have no problem stripping down, but that can be a lot more awkward if the mother-in-law is in the room. She's probably going to get a show from top to bottom, and it's one thing to do that with nurses in the room and quite another when it's your in-law. Privacy is non-existent in the delivery room, and you have to think about what you are comfortable with your mother-in-law seeing.
5 Baby Name Questioning
Unless she has already monogrammed the baby name on everything, you can probably count on the mother-in-law doing some last minute lobbying about the baby name. It seems like most women and their in-laws aren't quite on the same page when it comes to naming the next generation. Unless you've decided on continuing a family tradition — a tradition from that side of the family at that — you might just hear some questioning about it.
If the parents haven't decided on a name yet, the mother-in-law is still going to let her opinions be known. She's only got a limited time to get her favorites in the mix, and she will take advantage of it. After the birth, most grandmas calm down a bit about their angst over a baby name that they weren't wild about at the beginning, but while the labor is going on, they'll be doing some lobbying.
4 Not So Golden Hour
The first hour after the baby's birth is known as the golden hour. That isn't just because it is a precious first encounter that should be cherished, although it certainly is that. It's because the baby has a naturally instinct that is greatest in that first hour to latch on and breastfeed, giving him the golden, thick milk called colostrum that is can provide nutrients and natural immunities.
That golden hour can be an amazing start for breastfeeding, and it's certainly something that moms should take advantage of, if they can. But it's harder when the mother-in-law is in the room. This is a sweet time that requires a lot of patience and closeness, and grandma waiting for her opportunity to hold the baby can rush it and make it so that the baby doesn't get that chance when his instinct is at its greatest.
3 Unwanted opinions On Medical Decisions
There are a lot of medical decisions that have to be made when a baby is delivered. Even with an uncomplicated birth without interventions, the parents need to decide how and when the cord is cut. Many women have to think about whether to use induction drugs — whether labor doesn't begin or it doesn't progress quickly — and if she wants to have medications such as an epidural. Even if the mom has already researched and chosen her course of action, her mother-in-law is likely to weigh in on the discussion with the doctors.
And if there are complications, it's even harder for a mother-in-law to hold her tongue. Some parents may like having another person to help them talk through the pros and cons of how to proceed, but for others, it might be an obstacle they don't want shoved into the situation. Just know that if she is in the room, she is going to feel trusted enough to at least express her opinions, so proceed with that in mind.
2 Describing The Situation Down Below
Husbands are notorious for describing how long the needle is when a mom-to-be is getting an epidural placed in her back. Most mothers-in-law know better than to do that, but that doesn't mean that they will refrain from describing things that the woman going through childbirth isn't going to want to hear. All too many tend to get a good view of the action and describe every glorious and disgusting moment.
On the one hand, the words usually contain some awe and reverence about the birth of their grandchild. But on the other hand, no woman wants to hear how much her vagina is stretching, especially not from her partner's mother. It can be off-putting, but it can come with the territory when the mother-in-law is in the delivery room.
1 Bonding Experience
The biggest pro to having the mother-in-law in the delivery room is undoubtedly the potential that it could be an amazing bonding experience. We're not just talking about grandma's bond with the baby, although that one can be pretty special as well. Usually, the baby and grandma fall in love pretty quickly, whether the meet when they are minutes old or a few months later. But there is a relationship that can be cemented in the delivery — the one between the mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law.
The delivery room can feel like a war zone, and it can bring a couple together, and also bond the others that go through the experience. The mother-in-law will see her son's wife in an entirely new light, and she will respect her as a person and as the mother of her grandchild. It can definitely be a positive experience, but it isn't always, so good luck with your choice.
References: Little Things