Giving birth is one of the most profound experiences of being a woman that it’s almost sacred. That is why it is crucial that you be in the most positive place during this life-changing moment.
But as with most things that come with motherhood, giving birth is fraught with physical and emotional pain, and taking on more than what a new mother wants or needs is detrimental to both parent and child. When the body is under stress, it produces adrenaline, which could slow down and even stall delivery and unnecessarily make an ordeal out of something that should be a happy occasion and a positive experience for everyone involved. Worse, too much stress can drive a new mom to postpartum depression, and this in turn will affect the child in profound ways.

So while it's quite expected to have family and friends around you during labor, you do not owe anything to them – no matter how emotionally cruel that may seem to the uninvited – if you keep the occasion between just you and the people you are comfortable with. Giving birth itself is drama enough; you wouldn’t want to create more by driving away and emotionally hurting unwanted guests.

Picking the right birth support people is walking a social landmine, but it’s something that you need to do for the well-being of your child and his mother. Here’s how.

Seek out people who understand your choices

Or at least those who respect them without getting offended if their advice is not taken. Someone who is going to listen to you while you weigh your decision without judging you for making choices that do not align with theirs is a gem at a time when you have to mine whatever inner resources you have to get through, safely, at this moment. You need to have someone whose primary interest is to support you and not just to jump around with joy when the baby comes through. It’s also important for this birth support person to be discerning when you and your partner need to be left alone in that sacred space to savor the experience of being parents, especially if it’s the first time.

Choose someone who gave birth the way you want

A relative or friend who's had natural birth because it's what they’ve long desired may not offer the best support for you who may have chosen C-section because of possible complications. They may think that your choice is inferior to theirs, and that mentality could manifest in lack of support at a crucial time when you need it. Choosing someone who's had the same birth experience you aim for not only will cheer you on as you give it all for that last push, but will also supply you with invaluable insight into the whole process. The reverse can also be true. Someone who's had a C-section out of choice may not make the best delivery room cheerleader when you want to give birth naturally.

Go for medical professionals and setting whose practices are compatible with yours

If you choose to deliver via the birth canal, it can be overly stressful (and maybe even life-threatening to both you and the child) to be forced into a C-section because it’s the most convenient thing for the doctor and the hospital to do. (It happens.) To weed out incompatible candidates, find out about the hospital’s C-section statistics. If theirs is high (the normal statistics of C-section out of every 100 delivery is 15%), chances are good that you will be made to go under the knife even if there are no risks for you to give birth naturally. Finding a doctor who will give you a fair hearing on how you want to proceed with the birth, and who will give you the options and educate you the consequences, goes a long way in making the birth experience positive for everyone involved.

If you can’t find anyone in your family or social circle who you will be comfortable with, it will spare you the aggravation to hire a midwife who shares your philosophy. They are medically trained to offer support, and probably won’t be too nosy as you, your child and your partner spend the first time together as a family.