Do fathers have a right to decide who attends the birth?

[deleted account] ( 203 moms have responded )

If your partner wants his mother, or female relative present for the birth, does he have a right to make decisions regarding the birth? Or is it totally up to the woman? What if he doesn't want somebody (eg.your sister) at the birth, beause he feels uncomfortable? Should that matter, or is that just not his decision at all?

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Nikki - posted on 12/18/2011

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I think it's ok for him to make suggestions but the final decision is the mother's without question.

Jodi - posted on 12/18/2011

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My vagina, my choice. Sorry, compromise is not an option. No woman should have to *compromise* who she wants with her while she is giving birth. I would absolutely veto my husband's choice, and he can get over it.

Mary - posted on 12/18/2011

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I don't think it's so much a question of "rights" as it really is about the nature of your relationship. The simple truth is, he actually has no legitimate rights when it comes to determining who is present at the birth...hell, even he is only present for the birth at the mother's discretion. So, no, as far as any hospital or birthing center is concerned, the only people allowed to be present for the birth are those whom the mother desires.

As a couple...well, that's something the two of you need to hash out between yourselves. There is no right of wrong answer - ideally, the solution is one that you will both be comfortable with. If you and your partner have a loving, supportive relationship independent of the pregnancy, then it should go without saying that the feelings and opinions of each other matter.

If you cannot agree on that, then ultimately, the final choice does rest with the mother, since it is her body. His paternal "rights" don't really begin until that baby is physically independent from the mother.

Ez - posted on 12/18/2011

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Unless he is going to be the one pushing a baby out, the final say must be with the mother. Sure, it would be nice if a couple could come to an amicable compromise, but I will never support the idea that a woman should have anyone, on either side of the family, present at her birth who makes her uncomfortable. Even if that means going against the father.

Ashley - posted on 12/27/2011

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Since the woman is the one receiving care, it is the woman's right to choose who is in the room - whatever you make clear to your nurse, is what they do.



This is a LEGAL issue with privacy of medical rights and has absolutely nothing to do with whose child it is. After the baby is born however, there may be another issue, but still your medical room and your privacy. There are privacy laws to deal with this. The father does not even have the legal right during labor.



Ask your hospital that you plan to deliver at their policy.

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Heather - posted on 01/02/2012

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I have not attacked anyone by voicing my opinion! Isn't that what Circle of Moms is about..sharing how you feel about something?? Keep pointing the finger at me and saying all this crap becuz I don't agree with some of the responses.
My opinion is simple..and mine. Just becuz you don't like it does not make my opinion wrong. Everyone has opinions..that's what makes us all unique.
I'm not here to make a million friends..I just came to get opinions and share mine. All of this tonight did turn into a personal attack on me and how I feel about a father having the right to have a say in who attends the birth of his child. I didn't say anyone had to agree with me. I voiced my opinion that I feel a lot of people are selfish and do not care about anyone other than themselves. That was my OPINION..that's it. Nobody has to like it except me..and its not gonna change. People have proven to me that I am justified in my feelings.

Krista - posted on 01/02/2012

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Sherri makes an excellent point. At the end of the day the OB is the one with veto. If anybody in that delivery room is interfering with the birth, then he/she has the right to have them booted. But if all else is equal, and people are behaving themselves, then I think it's something that the couple should try to come to an agreement about, with the understanding that the mother has the prerogative to change her mind at any point during the birthing process.

Sherri - posted on 01/02/2012

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@Mandie I have to disagree with some of the things you said.

#1. I have never known a hospital to tell you ahead of time that you are the sole decision maker.
#2. In all hospitals in our area it is not up to the hospital but up to the OB how many people can be in the delivery room and usually they have no limit, unless it was out of control of course.

Krista - posted on 01/02/2012

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Heather, I would urge you to read the actual rules of COM. Calling someone out on something they say is not a personal attack. Denigrating someone, slandering them, or calling them names IS.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/02/2012

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*head desk* People like me because I'm honest, but I try to be nice about it when I am honest. And calling someone out or refering to someone in a reply to another post is NOT a personal attack. Saying you shouldn't have children because of a parenting choice such as what you allow your child to watch on TV is a personal attack.

Back on topic both parents should have a say in who is in the delivery room. But the mom should have the final say because it is her body the baby is coming out of and it is her vagina that everyone will be staring at when the baby's head crowns.

Heather - posted on 01/02/2012

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Selfish: To think only of oneself; having no conderation for another being.
I'm not saying anyone is selfish becuz they have a choice and I didn't! I'm saying people are selfish becuz all they care about is "ME ME ME"!!!!
I didn't say all women are like that..just the majority of them.
If I was not personally attacked then why was my response removed? If you call somebody out..it IS a personal attack on them.
My 'tell it like it is' is why most people like me..becuz I'm a REAL person and I don't sugarcoat things.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/02/2012

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Heather was posting about how bad her life was. so much for personal attacks and some other stuff. I believe she deleted her own post.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/02/2012

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Heather, first Krista didn't personally attack you. Second, since you didn't have a choice and other women do doesn't make them selfish. So now I'm confused by what you're posting and why you're calling everyone else selfish when you don't know their stories either.

I was in an abusive relationship with my first husband. He would berate and belittle me at every opportunity. He would even let our roommate call me names and allowed him to stay at our apartment after he'd attacked me. When I was in labour with our daughter and my OBGYN (Who I wish could've come with me to BC) came into the room he was more interested in his computer. My mom had to smack him with O magazine to get him to pay attention and he was upset with me for not being able to leave the hospital the next day. I am honestly glad that he cheated on me and left me for the other woman because now I am healing and I have a wonderful husband. But I am not about to call someone else selfish who hasn't dealt with that. You don't know what anyone else has gone through either so don't judge us.

[deleted account]

Sorry you had to do through that. Its still not very nice to take it out on other people while you "tell it like it is". I went through a lot of horrible things in my life, I'm still not going to make fun or ridicule others personal decisions because i was dealt a shitty hand once upon a time.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/02/2012

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Heather I understand what you are saying to a point. But if the woman in labour is not close with who her husband or partner chooses it's the husband or partner who is being selfish not the woman. In my opinion people who are in the delivery room should be there for the comfort and support of both parents. And your experiances don't give you the right to attack other women for their choices. BTW Heather, I'm a care aide and have worked in hospice and paliative care so I am NOT a selfish person and I know a lot more about the 'real world' than you may think.



My last birth was scary for everyone. My labour was induced, I had to deliver 2 weeks early, my husband was still in BC and my diastolic at one point was over 200. My mom and her younger sister were with me along with some of the best labour and delivery nurses at Unity Park Ridge. My mom and my aunt had my husband on speaker phone through most of my labour. My MIL called a few times after she read my face book update (I wasn't in real pain until 3 hours before I had my baby) because she's also in BC and I lived in NY when I had my daughter. I KNEW who was in the room with me and I was focused on how the people I had CHOSEN to be in the room with me would help me through what is definitely the worst and scariest of my two birthing experiances. Of course this was before I was loopy from the Nubain and had to push an object the size of a toaster out of an opening the size of a tampon, but even then I knew my mom was there.



Honestly I don't know how I'll get through my next labour and delivery without my mom. Because even though she's never been in that situation (My brother and I are adopted) she is very supportive. I will be glad to have my husband with me (provided he isn't like my ex and freaks out when amniotic fluid gets on his shoes) because he is very important to me. And I know I'll have my MIL and probably aunts and cousins from both sides and maybe my younger BIL's girlfriend because my family is on the other coast. But my husband knows that even though he does get a say in who can be there, I do get the power of Veto. He wouldn't dream of wanting to be the only one in charge because we are a team in our marriage. That's not selfishness, that's being understanding of both people's wants and needs.

Krista - posted on 01/02/2012

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Heather, not everybody's experience is the same as yours, and it is unfair of you to call women selfish for wanting a say in who witnesses them giving birth.

You are very concerned about the father's stressful, scary experience, but seem to have very little concern for the mother's experience. Giving birth IS very emotional, and I cannot imagine how horrible it would be to have someone in the room who you dislike, when you are in such a vulnerable, raw, primal state. So if you want to let your husband have full say on whoever is in the room, then that is your right and your prerogative. But it is NOT your right to judge those women who DO want to have a say on who is present for the birth.

Krista - posted on 01/02/2012

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Knock it off with the personal attacks. I have already deleted one post, and do not want to have to delete others.

Thank you,
Krista
WTCOM Moderator

[deleted account]

.I know that it doesn't matter who is in there when you're in labor..all you're focused on is having that child.

It doesn't matter TO YOU. I compare people watching you in labor to people watching you have sex. I want no one to be present for either.

Heather - posted on 01/02/2012

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Let me explain my view..since some of you have decided to pick at my original response. YES..I SAID THAT THE FATHER HAS MORE RIGHT IN MAKING THAT DECISION THAN THE MOTHER!! I have given birth..more than once..I know that it doesn't matter who is in there when you're in labor..all you're focused on is having that child. For the father..it is a very hard, stressful, scary experience. He NEEDS to have people around that he can lean on so he is there for you better. I did say that women are selfish..I say that being a woman that..from what I understand..is not a part of the majority of women that don't care about anyone other than themselves. When my husband and I expand our family some more..he already knows that the decision of who is at the birth is up to him..becuz the only person I need there is him..but he will need a support system to be there for him. I let him know..becuz I love him more than anyone else and want him to be taken care of..becuz I am not selfish..like so many others!!! Pick this one apart..go ahead..I'm not here to sugarcoat the world for you..you're already dramatic and delusional..you don't need my help. Wanna face reality..I'm here..and I'll share with you what I know =)

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/02/2012

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Mandie again, it depends on the relationship you have with your inlaws. I get along with my MIL better than my husband does. So since I'm in BC and my family is in NY when I have my next baby I would want her in the delivery room.

Mandie - posted on 01/02/2012

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In the end its solely the mother's decision and the hospital will let you know that ahead of time. You are the one who is having the baby and you are the one who is going to have to deal with the stress of someone being there that you don't want there and the hospital usually won't tolerate it in the room.Plus most hospitals only allow the father/partner in the room and maybe 1 extra relative of the mother's choice. They want you to be in the least amount of stress possible that is why they let YOU decide who will be in there and who will not. Its alright for him to make a suggestion of who he wants in there. Let him make the suggestions without you getting rude or mean about it,so he feels involved because some dads can feel really left out during this whole experience,but then let him down easy by telling him you want him and you in there only because this is your time to be together and bring this baby in the world,and you want to share it with only him. Doesn't matter if that sounds selfish because it is true. Its your moments as new parents to bring that baby into the world. My husband had no problem with it being him and my mom with me for our first daughter because he was uncomfortable and had NO idea what to do. With our second daughter we wanted it to be just us in there,me and him. With our third daughter he made the mistake of calling his parents BEFORE we had the baby and they showed up 15 minutes before I started pushing and I will tell you that was the most AWFUL experience I've had in my life(I can not STAND his mother AT ALL!!!),his mother decided it was a good idea,mid-painful contraction to get up in my face smelling like all kinds of smoke and nastiness and start calling me her baby. So after shooting the death look to my husband he got them outta there asap. Also just wanna throw it out there but the nurse was about to kick them out anyway because I was doing fine until they came in and once they did,my blood pressure started rising and the baby's heart rate started dropping... With our 4th and last baby it was just us. So with our third baby is the proof right there that having people in there you don't want can have some bad effects. So yeah let him make suggestions and then let him down easy if you don't agree with them,but in the end its the mother's choice and hers alone,or the nurses will end up kicking out who you don't want. OR just thought about this,but you can also call the hospital ahead of time and tell them you don't want anyone else in the room besides hubby until after the baby is born. They will always respect your wishes and will keep it confidential too. They will just tell the people something like "I'm sorry but we only allow one person the father or partner in the room before the baby is born", or something like that. This might be a better option,that way no one;'s feelings get hurt and you have in there only who you want.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/01/2012

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LOl Krista same with me. My dad was in the room with me for my first daughter and at first I needed two hospital gowns so my bare ass would be covered. Near the time the stuff they gave me to induce my labour really kicked in the delivery and my untidy vagina could've been broadcast on youtube and I wouldn't've noticed

Krista - posted on 01/01/2012

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Everybody has their own comfort level. I viewed it as something very special that was happening to me and my husband, and so didn't want a cast of thousands in there. So while I was in early labour, a few people came in and out to visit. But once I was up on that bed, I only wanted my husband.



Of course, once the pushing started, I was so focused on what I was doing that an entire gaggle of clowns could have been riding unicycles through the delivery room and I wouldn't have noticed nor given a sweet damn...

Sherri - posted on 01/01/2012

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Interesting Sal I don't find it personal or private I don't find it to be a spectator event either. However, there are definitely certain people I want and wanted with me as did my husband and I was so blessed to be chosen to be in the delivery room for the two births I got to see.

Sal - posted on 01/01/2012

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My husband had no say at all, we are both pretty private people so it was no issue when I wouldn't allow anyone but fully my choice, I am fully stunned by how many people see it as a spectator event, I have no desire to have an audience or be in one, my sister wanted me with her fir her first I visited her and waited outside I have no desire to be there at the business end, and my mum really wanted to be with me and I just couldn't face that, if is such a personal experience. I think If dad needs some support that's ok but not in the labor ward if mum doesn't want it

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/01/2012

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He does have a right to a point. But it also depends on your relationship with his mom or another female relative as well. Hospital policy also plays a roll in this.



I believe you should make this decision as a couple



ETA: I dissagree that the father (if in a good relationship with the mother) has no say what so ever in who gets to be in the delivery room.



When I had my first child my family members were in the hall alternating who got to be in there. My ex's family didn't show up until the next day.



My 2nd child was completely different because my husband and his family were across the country and in Canada. I had my mom with me both times. But I definitely would let my husband have some input

Krista - posted on 01/01/2012

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I think that the father has a right to request having certain people there, and both parties should try to compromise, but the mother has the right to veto at any time.

After all, it's not the father's vagina hanging out for the whole world to see, is it?

Margaret (Margie) - posted on 01/01/2012

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This is the best response. Good Chrystal..Happy New Year everyone!!

Sherri - posted on 12/31/2011

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@Kate It's a place the man just cannot go...he won't ever know the emotion, the pain, the elation, the fear..

See I disagree my husband totally understood and also felt the emotion, the elation and the fear. He also 100% understood my pain.

I also get your feeling on it and that doesn't make you wrong and I respect your feelings on the subject. However, mine is no more wrong or right because I feel differently and felt it was a decision my husband and I should make together as a cohesive unit.

Now should he have a say as to your medical actual care no. Now that is a totally different topic all by itself. That should 100% be up to the patient.

Jodi - posted on 12/31/2011

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LOL @ Margaret, we have opinions on everything!! You should see the opinions we have in the debate forums if you find this interesting!

Chrystal - posted on 12/31/2011

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The last say is the moms because she needs to be totally comfortable its been shown that if she's uncomfortable it will take longer and be more painful and has a higher likelihood of complications. Compromise can be made like a person being in the waiting room or moms right to kick everyone out at anytime. We talked and agreed to it being just the two of us at the birth hubby never wanted anyone else there because he felt like we started the journey of having a baby alone we should end it alone and I could understand that and trusted he could handle supporting me.

Margaret (Margie) - posted on 12/31/2011

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This is interesting, the varied response from all of you gals out there. I have never read so many opinions about this subject before. Wow...is this cool or what? ;=D

Kate CP - posted on 12/31/2011

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You know what my husband wanted while I gave birth? He wanted me to have an epidural because he doesn't like seeing me in pain. Should I have just given in and gotten the epidural because it's what HE wanted?

I have a friend who's husband wanted her to have a c-section because he thought it was safer. She should have consented to abdominal surgery because it would have gone along with HIS desires?

I'm sorry, I'm all for equal rights for dads...but when it comes to GIVING BIRTH, it's the mom's territory alone. It's a place the man just cannot go...he won't ever know the emotion, the pain, the elation, the fear...it's a woman's journey. Not a man's. It's a woman's right to choose whom she wants or doesn't want with her during her birth. It's a woman's right to choose what she wants or doesn't want done to her during her birth. It's a woman's right to choose WHERE she births. Does that make her selfish? Hell yes! And she DESERVES to be selfish at that moment. It's about HER and the BABY. NOT THE MAN.

Sherri - posted on 12/31/2011

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What I was actually agreeing with is he has as much right not that he has more of one. I also agree with the frustrations of not taking the husbands desires during childbirth into consideration. So yes that is what I agreed with!!

Bernadette - posted on 12/31/2011

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Thanks Shannon, you saved me from going back through to find those quotes. That is what I was referring to Sherri.

Sherri - posted on 12/30/2011

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Okay so I may not agree with the fact he has more but I certainly think he has equal right.

Shannon - posted on 12/30/2011

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Retread Heather's post Sherri - here is a quote taken from it." The father has just as much right as the mother..actually..he has a little more!!"
Then she refers expressed frustration with 'selfish' women who don't put their husbands desires during childbirth first. This is what u 'agreed' with!

Amber - posted on 12/30/2011

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i have had 2 children and it is completely up to the woman on who she wants in the delivery room the man has no say what so ever on who is in that room with you!!

Maggie - posted on 12/30/2011

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you should have people there to support you both BUT you should both be comfortable with the people who are there. He can ask that his mother attend but if you don't want her there then she should respect that. Same with your sister - if he's not going to be able to support you the way he feels he needs to then she shouldn't be there either.

Sherri - posted on 12/30/2011

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Bernadette we must be reading two different threads no where did Heather say the man had more rights than the woman and the poster seemed to be posting a generalized question not a personal one.

Lyn - posted on 12/30/2011

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I THINK BOTH THE HUSBAND AND WIFE SHOULD DECIDE TOGETHER WHO COMES TO SEE THE BIRTH

Bernadette - posted on 12/29/2011

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I was referring to the fact that you said you completely agree with Heather, who said yes the father can decide (and in fact, has even more say than the mother) and then in the same statement say that both have to feel completely comfortable. I think that's the point here -she DOESN'T feel comfortable, and therefore it is her right to say no regardless of what her partner says.

Jeanie - posted on 12/29/2011

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My ex has his whole female relatives (sisters, mother, gramma) at his daughters birth from his previous marriage. I definately felt pressured to do the same and my mother was very supportive (she said she didnt blame me not to want anyone). and thank God I didnt. I stuck to my guns of wanting no one but my partner at the time and Dr's. I ended up with an emergency c-section which almost killed me. Seriously though, you conceived without a crowd watching, you can deliver without a crowd.

Bernadette - posted on 12/29/2011

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Sherri, you said that the couple should have an equal say to make sure that they are both comfortable, but as far as I can tell the person asking is saying that her husband is trying to make a decision that she doesn't feel comfortable with - to have someone present at the birth that she doesn't feel comfortable having at the birth. And if she feels uncomfortable, then no amount of talking about it and making compromises is going to make her any more comfortable with the situation. It sounds like he is not respecting her wishes at all, and therefore the decision is not being made together to make both of them as comfortable as possible. Maybe you felt comfortable with your mother in law. Clearly, the poster doesn't. Therefore, no she shouldn't have to compromise on this.

Sherri - posted on 12/29/2011

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@Shannon yup I agree it is different comfort levels. The people we (my husband and I)had present were my kids aunt and my sister n law for all my births and this one I am pregnant with as well. My friend Julie who was there for my 1st and this time around #4 I will have my very best friend of 17yrs, my hubby and my sister n law.

Lisa - posted on 12/29/2011

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It's up for discussion between the couple but at the end of the day the person who is in pain and bearing all has to feel comfortable and supported and dad needs to be on board with that whatever it takes

Shannon - posted on 12/29/2011

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I would rather chalk it up to people having different comfort levels but for me, having people in a room while I give birth is like having them in the room while I have sex! For me that is too private.

Shannon - posted on 12/29/2011

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I would rather chalk it up to people having different comfort levels but for me, having people in a room while I give birth is like having them in the room while I have sex! For me that is too private.

Sherri - posted on 12/29/2011

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To be comfortable during the delivery and comfortable with whom was present yes!! Our marriage is a partnership and we have equal say for all of it!!

I didn't have the people I chose because I needed comfort I chose them because I loved them and just wanted them to experience the miracle of life with us. I also didn't want anyone near me or talking to me, so it helped that my husband had someone to talk too and be with while we waited the few hours for my kids to be born.

Shannon - posted on 12/29/2011

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Seriously Sherri - your husband needed as much comfort as you as a baby is exiting your vagina? Seriously?

Sherri - posted on 12/29/2011

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I actually agree with Heather my husband had just as much say as I did as far as I was concerned. We made the decision as a cohesive unit. If he didn't agree it wouldn't have happened, just like if I didn't agree it wouldn't have happened. We equally needed to feel 100% comfortable in that moment.

Shannon - posted on 12/29/2011

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Ha ha! No I don't encourage that - quite the opposite - but a different thread altogether! I am making a point that it takes being selfish as a wife/woman too far to suggest we should care more for our husbands enjoyment at 'watching' the birth of their child then the importance of our physical well being and that of our child. Self care and selfishness are being confused in Heather Williams's post. I am just making an even more ludicrous stab at not being selfish to paint a picture.

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