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Setting Rules for Relatives

Now that your pregnancy is out in the open, everyone's getting involved. Your mother-in-law has suggested that she come and stay for a week to take care of you and the new baby. Your sister wants to videotape the birth. Your own mother decides she should move in with you a month before the baby comes, "just in case."

Learning to set boundaries with family members is a crucial step toward your own development as a mother; it is also essential for the health of your relationship with your partner. Together, you and your partner need to decide whether you want to invite people to participate in the birth and to help out afterward. Is it important for you and your partner to be alone in the delivery room, or would you both feel more comfortable if another woman were there too? Do you want time alone to bond with the baby, or do you want help with older children and housework?

Decide what photographic or video record you want of your labor and delivery. Some practitioners or facilities prohibit cameras in the delivery room, so it's important to know that beforehand. You may also prefer to keep your baby's birth a private experience rather than having someone videotape those intense hours.

Each of these boundaries is unique for every couple. The important thing is that they're your decisions and nobody else's.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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