DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I will be starting a family soon, and many conversations with my in-laws lead me to believe that we will experience “difficulties” with them during the delivery.
I come from a family where having a child is not a huge spectacle, and it is not a tradition for the entire family to haul off immediately to the hospital when a new baby arrives. This is very common in my husband’s family.
We would prefer family be invited to the hospital to see us and the new baby after an appropriate period of rest for the new mom (and dad!) after the birth – say, five or six hours or so, enough to recover a bit.
I do not feel this is too much to ask. But my mother-in-law will be very upset if we make these wishes known. Is it inappropriate for us to want this?
GENTLE READER: This problem could have been so much worse. Miss Manners has heard complaints of grandparents who want to be present at the actual birth.
So no, Miss Manners does not consider your request too much to ask – but then, neither is theirs. Here is how you manage:
When the baby is born, your husband first calls his parents, telling them the gender and name, if not already known; the weight, how things went, and that he can’t quite tell, but maybe the baby looks like their side of the family. When they say they’ll be right there, he can honestly say that the baby has to be taken off for the routine examination, and he’ll call back with the results, but first he has to call the other relatives.
All this takes time, especially as the other relatives’ lines will be busy because his parents are also calling them.
When those calls are completed, he calls his parents back, saying that the baby is fine.
They say they’ll be right there. He asks them first to please call the other relatives to report that the baby is fine, because he is exhausted and wants to catch a short nap while the new mother gets some sleep.
Then he asks them to round everyone up and to come celebrate at – well, by now, he should be able to suggest a time that is only three or four hours later.