Should your father-in-law watch you give birth?
Some things are just too private to share with the whole world.
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The days when giving birth was private affair are long gone thanks to voyeurism becoming more acceptable. These days some mothers are eager to be watched and videotaped during this very intimate process.  In my circles inviting friends or family to watch you give birth was considered taboo- something you only read it in magazines or newspapers done by some attention seeking celebrity desperate for a publicity stunt

I was recently surprised when an acquaintance decided to let family members, including her father-in-law and her brother to be present to watch her give her birth. This mother’s move raised eyebrows in the conservative community.

“How unAfrican,” someone said.
“She’s become too westernized for her own good,” someone said. “How embarrassing?”
“We’ve surely reached the end of the world,” another person concluded.

But then is there anything wrong with friends and family watching a mother give birth? Should this intimate activity be videotaped? Maybe to be shown to the child when he or she grows up? Apart from the child’s father should other relatives such as fathers-in-law, fathers, uncles, nephews, male siblings of the newborn, be invited to a witness a birth. 

In my African culture it is still taboo for even the father to present during the birth of his child. It’s even unheard of for other relatives, male or female to be present when a child is being born. 

However, some modern parents around the world are embracing this new culture of making watching a mother giving birth an entertainment for friends and family. Some of these parents however do take things a little bit too far. For example on Slate.com’s Dear Prudence column a mother stated that she intended for her 13-year-old step-daughter to be in the labour ward when she gave birth. In my humble opinion, children should not be allowed to watch a woman give birth. Give them time to grow so that they can make an informed decision whether to be present during a birth. Thought should also be given to what will happen if a young person witnesses a complicated birth.

I am not for the idea that male relative such as dad-in-laws, fathers, nephews etc of the expectant mother should be invited to witness a birth. These men have had their chance or will have their chance to witness their own children’s birth. Why should my wife and child be turned into a spectacle? To all my male relatives, yes including you, Dad, you are never going to witness my wife give birth. And don’t bank on seeing the video either. My mum and my sister are most welcome, if my wife agrees of course.

Do you think relatives have a place in the delivery room?

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