You may have heard about the disturbing Reddit AITA post from a pregnant woman who doesn’t want her husband or her father-in-law in the delivery room — because they’re utterly obsessed with the idea that she’ll die during childbirth.
And when we say “obsessed,” we mean Gillian-Flynn-novel-level obsessed. The post has since been taken down from Reddit, but the poor woman alarmed readers with her post, titled, “AITA for banning my husband and father in law from the delivery room due to their intensely stressful/creepy behavior during my pregnancy?”
She went on in the original post to say that her husband’s mother died during childbirth. That would explain some of her husband and father-in-law’s anxiety, right? Sure, but it doesn’t really cover the fact that they also asked her to take out a life insurance policy and execute a will during her normal pregnancy. On top of that? They asked her to trash her non-maternity clothes because…gulp…she “won’t be needing them anymore.” WTAF.
“When husband asked me to go through all my possessions and ‘inventory’ what I wanted to be saved for the baby vs. what I would want to be returned to my family in the event of my death, I put my foot down and said absolutely not,” she wrote. “Too morbid. No way.”
— Am I the Asshole? (@AITA_reddit) January 27, 2020
“It’s like he’s been replaced by a different man,” she updated readers following the thread. “I don’t know what to do anymore. He’s constantly staring at me wistfully and reminding me of good times in our relationship, telling me he will (not would!) be lost without me… his mere presence drives up my heart rate at this point, and I’m still over a month out.”
Her controlling father-in-law also insisted that she not have an epidural, because her “comfort” is the “least important” aspect of her childbirth. Her husband also refused to go to any form of counseling with her.
Readers were horrified and begged the original poster to get help:
“[T]hat would be an immediate reason for a divorce. Like, when you two planned having kids, he was okay with thinking you’re going to essentially ‘commit suicide’ and be a baby carrier for him? He was okay with being willingly responsible for your death, in his mind? It’s just very disturbing. How is he going to be a good partner to you when you actually do have the baby?…Be very careful and look out for yourself. I’d definitely tell someone you trust about this situation,” wrote one, summing up the feelings of many in the thread.
So what are a birthing parent’s rights are during delivery — especially when it comes to a partner who might be abusive, emotionally, verbally or physically?
Parents giving birth do, in fact, have the right to absolute privacy during pregnancy visits, labor, and delivery. This includes the total control over who and how many people are allowed in the delivery room — something not all hospitals and doctors necessarily make clear to pregnant women. A woman in labor can also request a different nurse or doctor at any time, if one is available. In addition, consent forms signed during prenatal visits or at hospital admission don’t count as ongoing consent. That means a woman in labor can refuse or withdraw consent to a procedure at any time.
You can see a full list of a woman’s rights during childbirth listed here.
Doulas can also be a very helpful resource (and buffer) for moms trying to concentrate on their labor. They function as advocates for the mother during the process — a massive help if the mom in question is surrounded by a lot of strong, overwhelming personalities.
In short? You always have more power than you think. And if you have any hesitation about whether or not someone will be a help or a hindrance in the delivery room, you’ve probably answered your own question. That’s your time — protect it with your life.