Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: I am six months pregnant with my first child. I've been fixated a bit on who to have in the delivery room with me, I think because it's one of the few elements I can control in this pregnancy. Should it just be my husband, or should I invite my mom, too?
In favor of my mom — we have a close relationship, she is over the moon about her first grandchild, and she is good in a crisis situation. I've seen her through my grandparents' illnesses and death. She isn't squeamish and she is a good advocate in speaking with doctors.
The argument against — she tends to get so overexcited about me and my life that she inserts herself too much into my life's events. We had to have numerous talks when I was wedding planning that it wasn't a three-way marriage between me, my husband and my mom.
She found out last year that my best friend was throwing me a surprise birthday party and offered to help, then ended up planning the whole thing herself. However, there have been other milestones when she wasn't like this.
My mom hasn't asked about the plans yet and my husband is 100 percent supportive of what I decide. Is there another angle I'm missing here?
Carolyn says: Husband only. You're co-stars in this story, period. Others might be helpful or joyful companions along the way, even essential at times, but they're supporting players at best.
I'd say this even if your mom were a boundaried support goddess. Just that you're on the fence about extras means spouse only — but a mom with a history of taking over? The day your husband officially becomes a father does not need to start like that.
Plus, the way for people to be good with crises and doctor advocacy is for them to actually do it. For their own spouses and children. Show your husband you trust him in this role.
Does this mean no one's ever right to have their mom in there? No. Everyone should do what's right under the specific circumstances. But your specific circumstances include an overmomming mom and a perfectly capable partner and co-parent. Husband only. She can visit right afterward.
Just don't ask
Dear Carolyn: On my wedding day, my best guy friend — who was in the wedding — came up to me afterward and told me he loved me. I could tell it was very emotional and meaningful for him to say that, but since he told me this after the wedding, I assumed he just meant he was happy for us.
It's years later now, we're both happily married to other people, and I'm quite curious what he meant by that. Is there harm in asking him what he meant? His answer wouldn't change anything, it would just satisfy a long-held curiosity I've had. On the other hand, best to let sleeping dogs lie, right?
Carolyn says: Right.
Perhaps a better question, to ask yourself — why would you want to ask him now?
Carolyn says: Intriguing, thanks.
Also worth a thought: Why did he choose to say it then?
E-mail Carolyn Hax at firstname.lastname@example.org, or chat with her at 11 a.m. Friday at washingtonpost.com.