There are a lot of etiquette rules and recommendations around having a child: who is allowed in the room during birth and – most importantly – who gets to hold the baby first.
While it seems like the correct answer to the latter is obvious: mom gets to hold the newborn first. But that’s not the experience of one Mumsnet user. She took to the online forum six weeks post-birth because she couldn’t stop replaying the moment in her mind.
“I had my daughter six weeks ago. It was a traumatic birth and ended in emergency section. As they took me into theatre my husband called his mother as he was so shook up and just wanted some support. 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,” she wrote. “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 OK if she could be there, and because I was being stitched up on theatre still, she held my daughter before I even got to.”
The mom admits she hasn’t brought it up to her husband but did explain that they had both set boundaries for the first few days after the baby was born. This included a no visitors rule for the first day or two – and with her mother in law holding the baby before her, she feels her decision was completely disregarded.
“I’m actually in tears this morning thinking about it all again, and so angry and upset still. I had a long recovery as there were complications during the birth and so have only just really processed it. I haven’t spoken to my husband about it, and wouldn’t want to make him feel bad by bringing it up now but I’m really upset by it,” she wrote.
While the post did get mixed reactions, the majority have sided with the new mom, justifying her upset response.
“That sounds awful, and not one thing you have mentioned is right. She should never have been allowed to do all this, and know stuff about you. Have you spoken to your husband about this? Don’t blame him (if you can help it), his head was probably all over the place. Your mother-in-law used her privilege to get her own way by the sound of it, and it was unacceptable,” commented one user.
“The trauma of the birth has been compounded by your mother-in-law’s thoughtlessness, but don’t let it cloud your thoughts and taint this precious time with your little one. You might benefit from talking to someone other than your husband about it. He should apologize, but that is all that can be done, it can’t be changed now,” added another.
While others suggested the mother in law isn’t to blame, but instead, she should be confronting her husband for inviting her in the first place.
“If you’re that upset then it’s your husband you need to be upset with. Your mother in law only did what her son asked her to. As a parent it seems natural she would support her child,” suggested one reader.
“I agree husband may have been all over the place emotionally, but he could have stopped his mom from at least holding the baby before you. But your mother in law basically barged in without consent, using her position and privilege,” commented another.
With her feelings justified, the new mom has admitted she needs to speak to her husband about what happened instead of dwelling over it alone.
What do you think? Who should be first to hold the newborn baby?