Who to bring to the delivery room?
January 15, 2021 9:23 AM   Subscribe

Am I being unreasonable by choosing my mom over my ex to be there with me when I deliver my son?

I split up with ex last summer. We have a 2 year old and one on the way who will be due in a week or 2. We've been coparenting mostly amicably, with some bumps here and there.

I'm glad we're not together anymore and think its for the best. We argued a lot towards the end our relationship was stressful and exacerbated my depression. My ex wasn't happy at the end either but would still like to get back together for the sake of being a family. I don't want to get back together and just want to coparent with minimal contact. It hasn't even been 6 months yet and I just want space as I try work through and get past hurt feelings and such.

That said, I was planning on having my mom stay with me at the hospital when I delivered. Due to COVID, only 1 support person is allowed. When our son was born I felt like ex spent to much time complaining about the bed, food, lack of sleep etc.

Plus, being with him for 2-4 days straight seems stressful and were bound to argue at least once. Most likely because he refuses to give our kids his last name. He insist on trying pass on his mother's maiden name, saying that its his real last name even he doesnt go by it, have on any documents or introduce himself with it. This has been a real point of contention for us because when our son was born he said he'd change his name to his mothers maiden name of we gave it to son and then changed his mind and refused afterwards saying he didn't need to justify his name to me. Our son now has a hyphenated last name. Mine, which I go by and his grandmother's maiden name which confuses people as to his parentage. I think the whole thing is weird and it drives me crazy that he backed ales. This time around the baby is just getting my last name which is bound to cause a fight and not something I'm in the mood to deal with the hospital.

That said, I can understand him wanting to be there for the birth of our son. I'm a bit torn and not sure if my biases are making this more difficult. I'm not opposed to him being there but I am opposed to being stuck together for days and fighting. Once he's there he can't leave. After the baby is born, he'd be able come back to my house - the kids live with me full-time - and spend as much time as he wants with the kids. I currently have a high-risk pregnancy and just don't want any more stress. That said, am I being unreasonable?
posted by CosmicSeeker42 to Human Relations (56 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
No, you are not being unreasonable.
posted by phunniemee at 9:29 AM on January 15, 2021 [107 favorites]


I really don't think you are. You need to keep yourself healthy and the best way to do that is minimise stress and have a support person who actually will be supportive. Do you trust him to be your advocate in the delivery room? You already have additional stress with a high risk pregnancy and an issue that you're likely to argue about.

For the actual delivery the focus needs to be on yours and the baby's health. You aren't stopping him from spending time with the new baby or the 2 year old - I think not wanting him for the birth is entirely reasonable.
posted by Laura_J at 9:30 AM on January 15, 2021 [8 favorites]


I believe that a woman should have whoever can support her best during labor. It's often a long, stressful event and you need someone there who can manage their own stress and help you manage your own. Ideally you want someone with you who can help support you in any childbirth choices you have made and will make, and who can help communicate this effectively with the care providers. Someone who can help soothe you and also support you physically (help you walk around, up and down off the toilet, perhaps in a bath or shower, lean against while pushing, provide cool cloths and ice chips, etc.) Someone who understands the work being done and doesn't hold their own agendas as a priority. Go with your mother if she can help you better and don't apologize! Good luck to you! I hope you have a positive birth experience.
posted by primate moon at 9:31 AM on January 15, 2021 [14 favorites]


No you are not being unreasonable. The birth is a stressful time for mothers, and YOU need support just as much as the baby. Partners tend to forget that, and can focus just on the baby and their own needs, which is frankly annoying. It can also make it harder to get the attention you need, as even the nurses will assume that with your partner there, you have adequate support.

Don't tell him you don't want him there, focus on what your mom can do that he wouldn't want to do, like help clean up your blood and walk you to the bathroom, or whatever.
posted by cacao at 9:31 AM on January 15, 2021 [7 favorites]


No you're not at all unreasonable. This is decision that the pregnant person gets to make. Honestly, even though I would feel a bit bad for your husband, I would say the same thing even if he were not your ex. In these circumstances, 100% no question at all reasonable. The support person is there for your support. It doesn't sound like your ex would be supportive, and instead cause you stress. Make the decision with zero guilt.
posted by peacheater at 9:41 AM on January 15, 2021 [13 favorites]


totally reasonable!
posted by brilliantine at 9:41 AM on January 15, 2021 [3 favorites]


Not unreasonable. You’re the one going through a stressful event, you need support, you need someone there who’s uncomplicatedly on your side and committed to helping you. He’s interested in being there as a spectator, to be there as his kid is born, which is a reasonable thing to want, but he’s not there to support you which is what you need.
posted by LizardBreath at 9:41 AM on January 15, 2021 [5 favorites]


Sorry for terminology in my answer- I meant to say that EVEN partners are often like that, and having an ex-partner will make it even more so like that.
posted by cacao at 9:43 AM on January 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


That said, I can understand him wanting to be there for the birth of our son.

This is an incredibly complicated issue - especially as it is his child - more so than I think some of the commenters so far are acknowledging.

Rather than making this about saying no to him being in the room, can you make it about him doing something specific during the time? Can he be the one who is taking care of the other children, for example?
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 9:43 AM on January 15, 2021 [8 favorites]


I don't see a single justification for letting him be there. Do exactly what will be most helpful and comforting and supportive for you, and don't give it a second thought.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 9:44 AM on January 15, 2021 [12 favorites]


This is 100% reasonable. Birth is such a vulnerable and strenuous time and you need to not be distracted with anything superfluous, eg making sure your ex is happy with the furnishings. Take your mom with you and don't feel guilty about it.
posted by number9dream at 9:44 AM on January 15, 2021 [10 favorites]


You are the mother. You are the star of the show and you get whatever you want at any time. Plus you are eminently justified in this situation anyway even if someone's approval mattered. If he wanted the full sitcom family experience that requires that he functions as a partner which you have given no indication that he's interested in. Therefore he doesn't get the benefit of having a say in this situation.
posted by bleep at 9:53 AM on January 15, 2021 [7 favorites]


Honestly, I wouldn't even consider having him there if I were you. You are going through a serious medical event and need to have someone there you trust to make your life easier. Plus, he really should want to be providing your son with support during this period. Thinking back to when I had my kids, my then-husband and I wouldn't have wanted to leave our son with even his much-loved grandmother while we were away for DAYS and about to bring home his little sister.

If medically possible, you MIGHT consider trying to cut your hospital stay as short as possible. Discuss with your baby's pediatrician in advance how quickly they'd be willing to sign off on bringing them home. I'm not a fan of hospitals so left four hours after my daughter was born. This may not be viable for you, and may not be advisable due to COVID-19 (we needed to bring the baby back in the next day for tests), but it's something to think about.
posted by metasarah at 9:59 AM on January 15, 2021 [5 favorites]


1000000% not unreasonable. Other stressors aside, I would want the person who I've named as my health care proxy to be with me in the hospital were something to go wrong. I am assuming this person is not your ex - if it is, change it to your mom and bingo, you have a great excuse.
posted by coppermoss at 9:59 AM on January 15, 2021 [14 favorites]


The last person you want around is a whiner demanding EL from you.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 10:03 AM on January 15, 2021 [17 favorites]


You're the one pushing a relatively large thing out of a small hole, so you're the one who gets to call the shots and do what will create the best environment for you.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:05 AM on January 15, 2021 [7 favorites]


are you kidding me? Going in to deliver a high risk pregnancy? OF COURSE you need the person there who is most supportive of you personally. I'm glad that you have a mother who will be there for you and whose first priority is taking care of you. Not for one second should you even consider putting your ex's needs above your own in this regard.

I am astounded that this is even a question.

Feel free to memail me if you need more support on this. My god.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:13 AM on January 15, 2021 [10 favorites]


He's not unreasonable for wanting to be there, but you're not unreasonable for saying no (this would be true even if you didn't already have a weird and contentious relationship, and even if he hadn't been so whiny during the first birth).

Fortunately for you, you're the one who gets to make the call! He will be disappointed and that is OK. Disappointing things happen sometimes.
posted by mskyle at 10:15 AM on January 15, 2021 [11 favorites]


Response by poster: For someone who asked about where our older son will be earlier in the thread. He'll most likely stay with my dad and younger sister while I'm in the hospital. I'm not sure his dad will take him for that amount of time, so I've made other care arrangements in his place. He stays overnight with his dad about 1x every other week now.

As a side note, we've been staying with my family since our new house is being renovated, so for my son he won't have to change environments and can still keep the same schedule and everything. Our new house will be move-in ready right after the baby is born so well move in then.
posted by CosmicSeeker42 at 10:22 AM on January 15, 2021 [4 favorites]


Look, you're not talking about pushing him away as a co-parent, but who you want as your support person during a challenging physical and emotional experience. Choose the person you feel will support you best. You fight sometimes with your ex, and in your first delivery, he centered his own discomfort and experiences over yours, so not only was he not tending to you but he wasn't even tending to himself, but making his complaints known. It is totally reasonable to want your mom there, and to not want him there.

Also, it's totally fine to give the baby the last name you want.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:25 AM on January 15, 2021 [13 favorites]


I'm not sure his dad will take him for that amount of time
Seriously though cut this POS out of your life as soon as you can.
posted by bleep at 10:29 AM on January 15, 2021 [43 favorites]


You sound like someone who could productively be more demanding, and probably more boundaried, in general...just putting that out there.
posted by amtho at 10:44 AM on January 15, 2021 [6 favorites]


Another vote for right choice being whatever will give you (the person bearing the pain and stress of birth) the most comfort.
posted by coffeecat at 10:51 AM on January 15, 2021 [3 favorites]


I am also just saying what everyone has already said. Your body is doing the work, you get to say who you want there. There's absolutely zero reason to have someone you fight with in the delivery room.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 10:54 AM on January 15, 2021 [5 favorites]


There is a 100% rule that the birthing mother gets to decide who is present at the birth and no one else has any right to complain. Sorry for the ex, but that's just the rule.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 10:59 AM on January 15, 2021 [4 favorites]


I'm not opposed to him being there but I am opposed to being stuck together for days and fighting. Once he's there he can't leave. ... I currently have a high-risk pregnancy and just don't want any more stress.

OMG please do not let that guy into the hospital with you. No, no, no, no, no. Everyone above said the same thing but much more politely. You need to take care of you IN ORDER to have and take care of your upcoming baby. Bring your mom, don't feel bad about it, and don't let your ex give you any shit about it.

"Hey ex, it's so great that you'd like to be at the hospital for the birth but that will be too stressful for me. Mom will be there instead, looking forward to seeing you a lot after we get home."

If you get any pushback, don't argue. This is not up to that guy, who I hope is a good dad. Many exes are, but they are exes for a reason, right?
posted by Bella Donna at 11:21 AM on January 15, 2021 [19 favorites]


It's not a party! OMG I hate those relatives / in laws / partners and now apparently exes who demand to be in the delivery room like you're putting on a show for them!

It's a medical procedure, and you need your support person there even more than the baby does.

He's just thinking about himself.
posted by Omnomnom at 11:21 AM on January 15, 2021 [28 favorites]


The most important role of the support person is to support YOU. You're the one who needs the support, the baby will be fine as will the father. So it makes total sense to pick the person who will support you the best.
posted by grouse at 11:30 AM on January 15, 2021 [3 favorites]


As a father who was present for the birth of both of my children, I know that being there was psychologically and emotionally important. However, delivery is not about ensuring a rewarding experience for the father, it's about the well-being of the mother and child. The only way you get ot be in that room is if you're directly contributing toward that goal. Anyone whose absence would make that process better overall needs to stay away.
posted by skewed at 11:34 AM on January 15, 2021 [15 favorites]


[With the disclaimer that I'm a childless male]

I agree with everyone else, you and the child are the important ones here. If you can have one person, it needs to be the person who can support you the most. Given you want an ongoing, coparenting relationship, you might consider framing it around your mother's positive skills rather than ex's negative ones - like what Bella Donna said, but maybe "it's going to be tough, I really want Mom as my one support person because she's already been through it and she'll know what I need" [and then if he says "you can tell me what you need" maybe "yes, but sometimes I'll be too exhausted and she'll just know what I need without asking"].

Also worth noting (as bleep commented on), the ex won't/can't look after your existing child for a few days? That kinda implies he won't be much use at the birth...could maybe try that approach? "You could take toddler" "No" "Well being with me will be a lot tougher than that, and there'll be no way for you to leave"....
posted by Pink Frost at 11:51 AM on January 15, 2021 [4 favorites]


You're giving birth, you decide. You getting as much control over the birth and newborn period as you want is a health issue for you and the baby. We are primed by eons of evolution to be particularly sensitive and protective around birth and newborns; you get to do what you want and you should do what you want.

In many, many cultures and places it is normal and expected for the mother's family to be with her through birth and the newborn period, with the father and his family having little or no role to play. This is not the only way to do things, but it's a completely reasonable way to do things.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:52 AM on January 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


Also, I wouldn't argue, defend, explain, or otherwise engage with your ex on this decision. I would hang up every time he brings it up. Your ex's feelings are not your problem and I would not consider having an amicable co-parenting relationship to be something that requires you to nursemaid his feelings. Instead, it requires a lot of space and a lot of boundaries. This is a good one -- you've decided, you can now ignore his opinion. He can be mad or whatever, but it's no longer your problem and you shouldn't engage.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:55 AM on January 15, 2021 [15 favorites]


I'm a registered nurse with a 12-year-long tenure in L&D.

You--AND ONLY YOU--get to decide who is present for your labor and birth. Full stop, period, do not pass Go, do not collect $200, END OF DISCUSSION.
posted by jesourie at 11:55 AM on January 15, 2021 [20 favorites]


I'm not opposed to him being there but I am opposed to being stuck together for days and fighting. Once he's there he can't leave.

I'm not sure his dad will take him for that amount of time, so I've made other care arrangements in his place.


Excuse me excuse me wait. So let me get this straight. He has time to be at the hospital to see the new shiny kid but is unavailable to be a caregiver to the child who already calls him dad? What the fuck?


I maintain my earlier answer and add both bold text and MUCH EXCLAMATORY PUNCTUATION.
posted by phunniemee at 11:55 AM on January 15, 2021 [64 favorites]


Also...if he has time to be in the delivery room, he has time to be with his existing child. Who probably misses him and would remember the time much more than a newborn infant. Geez.
posted by amtho at 1:14 PM on January 15, 2021 [8 favorites]


Maybe I missed it but can you clarify whether you've already had this conversation with him, and he's pushing back? Or is it more that you are anticipating the pushback? I wouldn't think you were being unreasonable either way -- while I acknowledge that he may have emotional reasons for wanting to be present, I really think this is about pretending that you're still a partnered family. I'm just curious because you also mentioned not being sure that your ex would take your older child during this time, and it sounds like maybe some conversations need to be had around expectations regarding this whole event. (You may not want this person in your house right after you give birth, for example.)
posted by sm1tten at 1:17 PM on January 15, 2021 [4 favorites]


Best answer: CosmicSeeker42, I wish you the best experience on your delivery day, with your mother by your side doing her best mothering.... With your ex taking time to rest up and be with your other child and making special memories with that child. And you can labor and recover safe in the knowledge that your whole family is pulling together for you and your new little one. Sending you strength and good vibes that you can set down this backpack you are carrying that contains everyone else's thoughts and hopes - it is too heavy right now and you cannot carry it anyway because you have other, more important things to carry right now. You must carry yourself, your health (mental and physical), and your new child. This decision has already been made by the fates. Your mother will be at your side. Everyone else will take care of themselves and your other child. They will be okay and safe. I know it.
posted by amanda at 1:25 PM on January 15, 2021 [16 favorites]


I don't think it's at all unreasonable that he wants to be there. And it sounds like if you could have more than one person you'd be open to considering having him around at the hospital.

But, given that you can only have one person with you, you must be selfish and choose the one person who would be most helpful to you. If that's your mum and she's willing, then have her do it.
posted by plonkee at 1:25 PM on January 15, 2021 [2 favorites]


Baby's coming out of your body. You get to make whatever call you want about this. Them's the rules.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:28 PM on January 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


All of the reasons you cite are valid reasons to prefer that he not attend the birth. But those reasons are also basically irrelevant in Covidtimes because you can only have one person there and you get to choose whoever you want without having to justify it for one second.

You feel that your mom is the best person to support you during labor. That's all, that's the whole reason. There is no argument to be made.

It's good that he wants to be there for the birth of his kid, but it's not possible this time.
posted by desuetude at 2:19 PM on January 15, 2021 [4 favorites]


Why does he want to be there for the birth when he can’t even be bothered to look after the child he already has?! Don’t just boot him out of the hospital room, boot this guy into the fucking sun.
posted by Jubey at 3:03 PM on January 15, 2021 [6 favorites]


Response by poster: For the record, I told him I wanted my mom to be there and he pushed back. He called it disrespectful and said that I felt like I was trying to stop him from being a good father. As far as our other child is concerned I was going to suggest he take our son during that but I didn't get a chance to ask and given that our son doesn't always stay overnight with him, I have my doubts and made a backup plan.
posted by CosmicSeeker42 at 3:30 PM on January 15, 2021 [3 favorites]


That's bizarre. Is he, uh, fully up-to-date on how babies are made? Because, there's no actual fathering to do during labor and delivery? The baby doesn't come out until the end of it?

Meanwhile, he's got another child who already lives outside of your body, should he be interested in doing some good fathering.
posted by desuetude at 4:02 PM on January 15, 2021 [26 favorites]


He's trying to gaslight you into believing you have a normal relationship & therefore he's entitled to all the benefits of that. That is not the case because of his previous actions. Because of his previous actions he's not entitled to anything.
posted by bleep at 4:17 PM on January 15, 2021 [15 favorites]


I suggest you NOT have him care for the other child while you are in the hospital. I would suggest you NOT even tell him when you are going to the hospital. Don't tell him this is your plan.

This generally prevents unwanted spectators from showing up inadvertently being allowed in, causing trouble for you, etc. There is probably enough security around that he would have trouble managing to do that, but take that possibility off the table.

That said, I can understand him wanting to be there for the birth of our son

Wanting isn't the same as getting. He's allowed to do all the wanting he wants, from his own comfortable furniture at home.
posted by yohko at 6:01 PM on January 15, 2021 [16 favorites]


He is planning to blame you for his future failures as a parent because you excluded him from this event. This is 100% about ass covering. Don’t fall for it now or later.
posted by bq at 6:13 PM on January 15, 2021 [13 favorites]


You are the person who will be going through labour/induction and birth, it is your choice who your support person is, and you need to be 100% comfortable with your decision. Please do not let anyone pressure you into changing your mind or doubting your choice.

All the best for the safe and hopefully stress-free birth of your baby.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 6:21 PM on January 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


It's YOUR room. You do whatever you like.
posted by kschang at 7:07 PM on January 15, 2021


Ugh. I'm sorry, I know he's the father of your two kids, but this guy sucks. And wanting to be there to see a baby come out of you does NOT make him a good parent. I'm especially grossed out that he thinks he has the right to declare anything you do "disrespectful" when he is showing no respect to you whatsoever. Seconding Jubey's suggestion to boot this guy into the sun, and nthing the commenters encouraging you to have your mother there.

Your feelings and needs are so much more important than those of this sucky man's. Given this is a birthing situation, this would be the case even if he were a decent man. Either way, what you need and want is what is primary here. Bring your mom.
posted by DingoMutt at 7:17 PM on January 15, 2021 [3 favorites]


Dude. You already know how stressful childbirth is. The last thing you need is him around making it more stressful -- you saw how he behaved the last time. I got stressed out and tired on your behalf, just reading that. And "disrespectful"?!? That doesn't even make any sense. Thirding the suggestion that this dude be booted directly into the sun.
posted by pleasant_confusion at 7:43 PM on January 15, 2021 [3 favorites]


I agree with bq; I think he'll blame your healthy boundaries now for his failures later. This is 100% not a reason to let him push his way into the delivery room; he sounds exhausting and you'll be tired enough. But be prepared to give that weak excuse all the respect it deserves (i.e. none) when it appears later...
posted by Edna Million at 9:18 PM on January 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


Giving birth can be uncomfortable and scary, so you need someone with you who is a comfort to you, not someone whose presence is a burden or source of stress. Frankly I'm horrified at the thought of being accompanied through labor by anyone I've ever broken up with.

It's only been in the last couple of generations that fathers were even allowed in the delivery room at all. Generations of men sat nervously in the waiting room while their wives brought forth their offspring, and they were no less fathers for it.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:42 AM on January 16, 2021 [1 favorite]


"Disrespectful" is a giant red flag for me. In my experience, men obsessed with being respected are petty, cruel, and mysonginst. Your labor and delivery are not about his feelings, they're about the safety and health of you and your newborn. I'm glad you have a supportive mother to be there with you! Wishing you all the best.
posted by emd3737 at 4:44 AM on January 16, 2021 [16 favorites]


I suggest you NOT have him care for the other child while you are in the hospital. I would suggest you NOT even tell him when you are going to the hospital. Don't tell him this is your plan.

This generally prevents unwanted spectators from showing up inadvertently being allowed in, causing trouble for you, etc. There is probably enough security around that he would have trouble managing to do that, but take that possibility off the table.


Please also tell people not to allow him in, or even to call your room if you want. Technically no one is supposed to have access to a patient without being pre-approved (especially on L&D) but it's shockingly easy to charm your way in, esp over the phone. L&D nurses and security tend to have a lot of experience with blocking unwanted guests, though, so they will not blink an eye if you say "I don't want to be contacted by the father of the baby while I'm here." Trust me, they've heard that one before.
posted by basalganglia at 5:01 AM on January 16, 2021 [10 favorites]


Look, the answers you're getting are pretty unanimous here, but I just want to affirm: if at the very last minute you said "hey, I've changed my mind, I don't want my ex OR my mom with me, I want Chris Evans, in full screen-accurate Captain America gear, and I will be not be answering any questions on the matter," that would also be reasonable. You don't need to have a good reason, even though you obviously have many. It's YOUR CHOICE, PERIOD.
posted by lampoil at 11:17 AM on January 16, 2021 [4 favorites]


He called it disrespectful and said that I felt like I was trying to stop him from being a good father.

Since you're not together this is not relevant to you any more. It's the nicest part of breaking up!
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 2:32 PM on January 16, 2021 [8 favorites]


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