The birthing decision that has just become a very, big, deal.

It defines who you consider the most important people in your life.

The reality of childbirth is a little different to the movies.

Some partners have what it takes to be our birthing partner, and some just don’t. Where is it written that they absolutely have to be in there? What if we don’t want them there because they always say the wrong thing or don’t deal well with medical procedures, even if the procedure is the birth of their child?

What if we want someone else in the birthing suite, like our mum or a sibling or our friend who’s recently given birth?

These days expectant mums are putting more thought into who they choose to bring into the birthing suite. Partners are normally on top of the list (but not always) but then the remainder of the cast is selected carefully.

We need to know that we are surrounded by people who are good in situations like this, who are important to us and who will be appropriately supportive.

Who you have at the birth can make and break relationships.

It's a huge compliment to be asked to attend a birth. Didn't you know? It's tantamount to being asked to be a godparent or sponsor to a newborn child. In fact, prospective godparents and sponsors are among the cast of many now being chosen to spend some time in the room.

So you can never decline the invitation.

There are three levels of invitations when it comes to attending a birth:

Group 1


This group is the largest and is formed when the expectant mother first arrives at the location of the birth. The labour pains aren't strong enough yet to be a conversation stopper. This is the time during which people such as the in laws, prospective godparents and sponsors, and even close friends are allowed to spend time in the room. And doctors, nurses and other medical staff of course.

At this stage, there is a cocktail party vibe.

Group 2

This is the time when close friends who are not potential godparents and sponsors are asked to leave or decide to leave of their own volition because it's getting more serious. They'll call out things such as 'good luck' or 'see you after'. You'll still be able to grunt out a farewell. At this stage you'll want your in laws to leave but they'll normally stand firm. It's their grandchild as well, after all. And doctors, nurses and other medical staff of course.

The vibe at this stage is of being in a movie screening. There isn't a lot of talk, some people are snacking.

Group 3

Anyone who is still in the birthing suite at this stage is truly part of the inner circle. The in laws are finally gone, after you lost the ability to be polite due to the pain and did that whispered yell to your partner to, "Get them the fuck out of here". The remaining one or two are 'your people'. This may or may not include your partner. And doctors, nurses and other medical staff of course.


The vibe at this stage is extremely intense, surreal and overwhelming, a bit like skydiving for the first time.

Combinations include...

Partner and mother.

Partner and sibling.

Partner and close friend/potential godparent or sponsor.

Mother and sibling.

Mother and close friend/potential godparent or sponsor.

Sibling and close friend/potential godparent or sponsor.

Only a select few will remain at this stage. Consider yourself very special.

Everyone else outside of these groups should save their visits for official visiting hours and whatever you do, don't arrive empty handed.

You may not be one of the special few included in the 'birthing suite' groups but your job of bringing balloon, chocolates, fluffy toys and other gifts and decorations isn't any less important.

Any questions?

Who did you have present at the birth of your children? Where any of them out of obligation? Who would you leave out if you had your time over again?

Want more? Try:

16 things no one told you would happen in childbirth.

Do childbirth photos belong on Facebook?

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