Mom-in-Law Upset About Not Being Allowed To See Birth, Then Strangers Stand Up for Mom in Labor

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Family ties can be treacherous. Maneuvering around awkward topics, avoiding anything that will set someone into a tizzy, and biting your tongue can be exhausting.

That’s why there are a lot of jokes about in-laws: That’s all some people have.

Fortunately, attending a family gathering is not like trying to defuse a bomb for everyone. There are those wonderful examples of jovial relatives who are welcoming and gracious.

Even strong bonds can become unstable when the dynamics change, though. When someone gets married, or someone’s having a baby, there are certain expectations that might be held by some family members, but not by others.

For example, during the birth of your child, who do you want in the room with you? Your husband? Your mom? Maybe you’re a generous soul and don’t care who witnesses the miracle, but in most cases a birth is a private affair.

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One mother-in-law who expected to be invited to her grandchild’s birth and wasn’t couldn’t take “no” for an answer, so she went to a third party to air her grievances. She wrote to an advice columnist named Prudence.

“My son, Steven, and daughter-in-law, Julia, are expecting their first child and our first grandchild next month,” the letter began. “I had what I thought was a good relationship with Julia, but I find myself devastated.”

“Julia has decided only Steven and her mother will be allowed in the delivery room when she gives birth. I was stunned and hurt by the unfairness of the decision and tried to plead with her and my son, but Julia says she “wouldn’t feel comfortable” with me there.”

Thinking her credentials would resolve the situation, she brought them up: but was, again, met with a solid “nope.”

“I reminded her that I was a nurse for 40 years, so there is nothing I haven’t seen. I’ve tried to reason with Steven, but he seems to be afraid of angering Julia and will not help.”

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“I called Julia’s parents and asked them to please reason with their daughter, but they brusquely and rather rudely got off the phone. I’ve felt nothing but heartache since learning I would be banned from the delivery room.”

“Steven told me I could wait outside and I would be let in after Julia, and the baby are cleaned up and “presentable.” Meanwhile, Julia’s mother will be able to witness our grandchild coming into the world. It is so unfair.”

“I’ve always been close to my son, but I no longer feel valued. I cannot bring myself to speak to Julia. I’m being treated like a second-class grandmother even though I’ve never been anything but supportive and helpful. How can I get them to see how unfair and cruel their decision is?”

The woe-is-me tale elicited no sympathy from Prudie, who soundly slapped the “second-class grandmother” upside the head with some good old common sense.

“You can’t! You shouldn’t! You are entirely in the wrong!” Prudence wrote. “I say this in the hopes that, after the initial flush of indignation fades, you will be braced and supported by the realization that you have been acting badly and that you need to change.”

“It’s difficult to admit when one’s been wrong, but there’s nothing quite so clarifying as figuring out how to do better.”

“This is not about you. You are going to get to see your grandchild the day they are born. You will get to be in your grandchild’s life for as long as you live. Nothing is being taken from you. You are not being snubbed.”

She concluded by telling the irate grandmother to “Let this go. Do not rob this moment of its joy by keeping score and demanding more.”

What do you think: Was the grandma overreacting or was she within her rights?

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking