Sasha Answers: My labour and my mother-in-law
Dear Sasha, My first baby is due in a few months, and I desperately do not want my in-laws (specifically my mother-in-law) to be there for the birth. I will not go into why, but just trust when I say that she is manipulative and passive-aggressive and that there is full consensus on these points by others in her life (i.e., it's not just me). My own mother passed away very recently and I am very much mourning that loss. I know that if my MIL attends the birth she'll overstep boundaries and try to be my new mommy (not in a sweet way, but in a way that is entirely in the interest of fulfilling her own needs), and I think it would just add to the devastation of not having my mother there. My family is local and I want them to be there for the birth. Husband's family is not local, but they're a short flight away. Our plan at the moment is to call the in-laws when I go into labor, but if genetics come through I'm going to have a verrry long labor that will give them ample time to get to the hospital pre-birth. MIL also drives my husband insane, but she is his mother. I know it's our baby, but like... I'm the one pushing it out of my vagina, so... does that give me some leeway to be a total asshole in this situation? Is there any way to invite my family to the hospital and not the in-laws without being the worst human ever? I'm usually very diplomatic, but in light of my mother's death I just can't with this one. Help!!! M
Okay, let me get straight to my answer. No. You can’t invite your family and purposely exclude your husband’s. It has to be all or nothing, and I’ll tell you why.
M, if what you want is less strife and stress, then axing her out of one of the most important "days of your lives" will cause more sh-t to come your way. I know you’re all “my body my rules”, and of course while my heart breaks to hear about the passing of your mom, you’ve got to be strategic about this move, because whether you like it or not this woman is tied to you, for life.
Look, I’m all for you standing your ground and setting some boundaries (read here and here for refreshers) once that human pops out, but in my opinion if you ban her from the hospital you’re just going to add more fuel to her crazy fire. Because trust me, she’ll hold it over your head forever -- to the point where you’ll wish that she had just f-cking delivered the baby herself.
So circling back to the beginning of all of this - it has to be all or nothing, and my advice to you M, is to pick the latter. Cut everyone out of the plan and just keep it about you and your husband (and of course your mom) on delivery day. That way you can guarantee there will be no distractions, no hurt feelings and no unneeded stress.
Thanks for writing and keep all your questions coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.