DEAR ABBY: "Pregnant with Apprehension" (Sept. 9) said she's dreading the birth of her second baby because her fiance's mother wants to witness the birth. Apparently, "PWA" wants only her mother and her fiance, "Cliff," in the delivery room. You said her wishes should be paramount. I agree.
I am a labor and delivery RN in a major medical center in California. More and more people today view birth as a sporting event. It's worse when the mother-in-law wants to be there because "it's her right."
"PWA" should let Cliff know if he can't stand up to his mom, her labor nurse will! I will be the one who informs visitors that it's hospital policy that there be only two people at the bedside, and there is no bending the rule. That way, the mother-in-law can hate the nurse, but not her daughter-in-law or her son. I'll willingly take the heat for my patient if it means a better labor outcome for her and the family. -- "BECAUSE I SAID SO"
DEAR "BECAUSE": Thank you for agreeing with me. However, those who disagreed shared experiences that are worth noting. My newspaper readers comment:
DEAR ABBY: For "PWA" to say she doesn't want Cliff's parents to see their grandchild for two weeks is selfish, and I don't think she should demand that her fiance back her up on this. Her mother is going to be there from the moment of birth. While it's understandable she doesn't want anyone else in the delivery room, she shouldn't be surprised that his mother is hurt. His parents have a lot to offer and can be a big help to her.
Cliff needs to tell "PWA" she's being unreasonable. I wish my son had spoken up on my behalf. Being shut out of this blessed event is hurtful and causes tension. She has the right to dictate who is in the delivery room with her, but she shouldn't deny his parents their right to be a part of their grandchildren's lives. -- BLESSED TO BE A NANA
DEAR ABBY: I didn't want my in-laws in the delivery room either, but I was sensitive to the fact that they are just as much family as my parents. My solution was to have just my husband present for the birth. Blending families together used to hold a greater importance, and I feel for parents who are feeling left out of their children's lives. -- MAGGIE IN AIKEN, S.C.
DEAR ABBY: As a young mom, I almost always went to my parents for support, baby-sitting, etc. However, now that one of my sons has a baby of his own, I see the other side of the coin. It hurts not to enjoy the kind of relationship with the baby that my daughter-in-law's parents have. There must be middle ground.
While I would never invite myself into her delivery room (although it would have been nice to have been asked), or assume I could stay in their home immediately after the birth, some effort to include me should have been shown. I agree Cliff needs to explain to his parents the logistics of the situation, but in a way that still assures them they will have their special time, too. -- THE OTHER GRANDMA
DEAR ABBY: If "PWA's" mother is staying with her, she should make sure the paternal grandmother helps with new baby duties for a few days as well. The bridges that are built now will go a long way later in life. She needs to think about the long-term relationship being built for the children. Cliff needs to be a dad, not a frat boy. But both of them need to grow up. -- KAREN IN FORT COLLINS, COLO.