If you're going to CrowdBirth, do it right, and here is how.
Look, I am all about having the birth you want surrounded by whomever you want. You can have all of your sorority sisters, 32 cousins, 10 aunts and uncles, and your pet goat there for all I care. As long as all of your sorority sisters, 32 cousins, 10 aunts and uncles and the goat know YOUR rules.
Tell Uncle Bob about how women can be very sensitive to smells in labor, and while his cologne is fantastic to help him find his new wife, it may not be pleasant while you're trying to focus on your deep breathing through contractions.
Tell Aunt Sue that her constant chit chatter, while always a pleasant spin on the local gossip is typically very entertaining, that you may not want to hear her neighbor's sister's daughter's horror birth story when you're on the brink of transition and trying to remind yourself why you didn't want that epidural. And please tell your step-mom to stop talking about the dang epidural if you don't want one. I know she has good intentions and has a hard time seeing you in pain, and she only wants to help, but you need support through the contractions. You don't need the doubt in your head about making it through the next one. Or if you do want an epidural, maybe don't invite your judgy sister-in-law who had 5 natural births and secretly thinks you're cheating- rude.
As doulas, we love you to birth the way YOU want, with whoever you want. We also don't want you to be annoyed, hindered, and have a slower labor because your second cousin once removed is chuckling in the corner about natural bodily functions that may or may not happen while you're pushing.
Don't even get me started about family announcing the birth on social media before you even get to! That's a whole other blog post right there!
In essence, make sure to tell your support people exactly how you'd like your environment to be, what your birth goals are, and how they can HELP you achieve them. Whether it be to play your favorite Canadian radio station or your Zen Garden Pandora station... to distract you or to just shuuuuutttt it completely. Make sure you're comfortable with moaning in front of them if you need to, being bottomless in a tub if that's how you want to labor, and make sure they know the doula isn't trying to replace them. Let them know that you might even kick them out! If they're all on board and support you in how you want it, then have a party if you want. If you are telling them how you envision your birth going and they don't support you or are negative, you may just want to re-think their presence. Invite them to be in the waiting room, or helping watch your other children, give them a job of grocery shopping for you so you don't have an empty refrigerator once you're settled in at home with the baby. There is a place for everyone during delivery- sometimes it is in the delivery room, and other times its just supporting from far away....very far far away.
And don't forget- it's ok if you don't want anyone in the room either. Your Birth, Your Way.
The Grosse Pointe Doula