**This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.
I think we can all agree that giving birth is a very personal and intimate event. Women who have given birth are especially aware of how much vulnerability and raw human emotion are involved in the entire birthing process.
For me, the first and only time that I gave birth, I was without my own mother. She was in another country and unable to be there for the actual day that I gave birth in the hospital.
However, there was one person who really wanted to be there with me when I gave birth.
On the surface, this desire displayed by my mother-in-law to be there for me in the delivery room seemed sweet, even considerate. Unfortunately, I had a very troubled relationship with this woman.
From the moment I found out that I was pregnant, my mother-in-law became extremely overbearing. She would tell me what I had to do, what I had to buy, and bombard me with stories from all three of her own births...horror stories that I assume were somehow meant to be comforting but actually kept me up at night.
It's difficult to understand how some people can say they're attempting to help while simultaneously causing you more anxiety and they can't even see the effect they're having. This was how I felt in regard to my mother-in-law.
Nothing was ever good enough as far as my own plans or ideas about having my own child. There was always something to nag me about.
I'm positive that I'm not the only person in the world who has had problems with a mother-in-law.
This is why I banned her from the delivery room.
I explained to my husband that her presence would cause my stress levels to rise and, as much as he loves his mother, my husband understood. He understood that his mother could be controlling, though only in the way in which he knew it upset me. He didn't really get how much I wanted the birthing experience to be my own private thing, with him by my side, of course.
Birthing a child in a hospital with a doctor and nurses there yelling orders at you while attempting to help you push your baby out can be a scary and isolating experience. Any small moment where you can feel any semblance of control has much more meaning than it normally would.
Keeping my mother-in-law out of my delivery room while I writhed in pain meant that I could have one less person owning my already traumatizing and intense experience.
That's the reality of birth. It hurts. It's scary. And to me, it needed to be as private as it could possibly be. This meant that the room included me, my husband, and whatever medical staff needed to be there. That's it.
In the end, my baby ended up coming out so fast that my mother-in-law barely had a chance to try and get into the room with me. Perhaps it was missing my own mom that made me not want any other mom in there with me. Maybe I didn't want to disrespect my mom in some weird way.
In any case, I got what I wanted. Almost every time I see her, my mother-in-law reminds me that she wasn't able to be in the birthing room with me. I just smile and change the subject.