Even the best-laid birth plans can go awry. But nailing down who is and isn’t allowed in the hospital should always be in your control. That’s why one UK mom is so upset that her mother-in-law not only snuck her way into the recovery room, but was the first to hold the new baby. And the internet isn’t happy with this MIL, either.
The new mom, who remains anonymous, vented her frustrations on the UK parenting site Mumsnet. She indicates that before labor, she told her husband she didn’t want any visitors for a full day. When complications necessitated an emergency c-section, she says her husband, panicked, called his mother. The new grandma didn’t hesitate to swoop in.
“She is a doctor and works in the same trust as I was delivering in, although she doesn’t work in the women’s hospital,” the mom says. “Anyway, she was able to obtain access to the recovery area with her work’s access card, and just let herself in without permission. I wasn’t asked if it was okay if she could be there, and because I was being stitched up still, she held my daughter before I even got to...I'm livid that the midwives allowed her to be there without asking me and I'm angry that DH didn't advocate for me more too.”
Other moms were quick to validate her anger.
“I'm so sorry. What a wanker that woman is,” reads one of the first comments. “You are completely justified in feeling violated and angry. You're also justified in feeling unsupported and let down by your husband. You have grounds to make a formal complaint. 1. No way should your mother-in-law have used her work card to access the area where you were. 2. Staff should have stopped her wandering in.”
“I'd be livid. What a violation,” says another. “You can make a formal complaint about the midwives and also request a birth debrief to try to understand how she was able to just breeze in, uninvited by you, and start interfering. This kind of bad birth experience can be a trigger for postnatal depression, so you need support and you need to be heard.”
Other commenters offered different perspectives, suggesting she have a candid conversation about the birth experience with her husband.
“You aren't being unreasonable if you sit your husband down and have a chat with him about it and explain how you feel,” one user says. “He was probably a bit oblivious, what with the birth being traumatic and him needing a bit of support. He was probably terrified and felt he needed his mum. I am sure if you explain he will understand. The intrusion was very thoughtless and the hospital staff (and your mother-in-law) should have known better (I am NHS, 30+ years) it’s not acceptable. But your husband may have allowed it.”
The main takeaway? Communication is key. You can never be too clear about what you envision for your birth experience. Here are some factors you’ll want to consider.