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  • 'My Mother-in-Law Held My Newborn Before I Could, While I Was Being Stitched Up After CS'

    This unfortunate incident shows why birthing classes and birth plans are crucial.
    by Rachel Perez .
'My Mother-in-Law Held My Newborn Before I Could, While I Was Being Stitched Up After CS'
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Having a baby, through all the nine months of lifestyle adjustments, body changes, and sacrifices, is all worth it. Giving birth to him is such a momentous event. Now, imagine what it feels like if, after laboring for hours to finally see and hold your much-waited little angel, someone else gets to hold him close first. It can be a little upsetting.

    A new mom from the U.K., who remains anonymous, vented her frustrations on the parenting site Mumsnet. She had a traumatic birth, which ended in her having an emergency C-section (CS). Little did she know that her husband had called his mother when her labor and delivery got complicated. Her mother-in-law (MIL) is a doctor but doesn’t work directly in the maternity division; she had used her work access card anyway to let herself into the recovery room.

    “I wasn’t asked if she could be there,” she wrote on the Mumsnet’s Talk board thread about her MIL’s presence in the recovery room. Since she was still being stitched up after her CS surgery, her MIL got to hold her newborn daughter before she even did. “I’m so angry and upset about this,” the new mom wrote.

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    Since her MIL was in the recovery room, she most probably also overheard some personal medical details about the new mom. What makes it even more upsetting is that she had told her husband that she didn’t want any visitors for a full day or so to give her time to recover.

    “The midwives allowed her [MIL] to be there without asking me, and I’m angry that [husband] didn’t advocate for me more, too!” she stressed. The new mom said her husband should not have asked his mother to come, or he should have at least told her to wait outside.

    “I am actually in tears this morning thinking about it all again, and so angry and upset still,” the new mom wrote. She’s had a long recovery and hasn’t spoken to her husband about it because she doesn’t want him to feel bad bringing it up. “Am I being unreasonable? To be honest, I just wanted to get it off my chest,” she said.

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    Her message board post has since been deleted, but many moms weren’t happy with MIL, the husband, or the hospital staff either, as reported by The Bump. They were quick to validate her feelings and even suggested to file a complaint in the hospital.

    “You are completely justified in feeling violated and angry. You’re also justified in feeling unsupported and let down by your husband,” affirmed one comment. Another comment read: “This kind of bad birth experience can be a trigger for postnatal depression, so you need support, and you need to be heard.”

    Another person suggested she sit down with her husband and talk about it. He may have just needed a bit of support as her birth had unexpected complications. “The intrusion was very thoughtless, and the hospital staff and your mother-in-law should have known better.”

    The unfortunate incident is probably why birth plans are now considered the norm rather than the exception. While they are not set in stone, you and your partner should discuss it with your doctor. Put your instructions in writing to help ensure everyone in your birth team and your families know about it, too.

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    Based on what happened, be sure to tackle the following when you’re creating your birth plan:

    • The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a pregnant woman to have at least one companion during birth. Still, you can never be too careful as to put in writing who you want to be with you in the delivery or recovery room. Typically, apart from your husband, most moms ask for their mom (not MIL) or a close friend. Why not add who can visit, too, or if you’d allow it.
    • The Essential Newborn Care (ENC) protocol, implemented worldwide (in the Philippines, it’s called Unang Yakap), also includes immediate skin-to-skin contact within an hour after birth to help initiate breastfeeding – even for moms who delivered their babies via C-section.

    On this particular case, taking birthing classes could have prepared him for any unexpected birth circumstances that may come up. But as for MIL outstepping her boundaries, it may be best to settle the issue first with her husband and let him talk to his mom.

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    Read more about how to settle issues with meddling in-laws here.

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