Q: How do you tell someone you don’t want anyone extra in the delivery room with you and your partner?


A: If you are concerned that the presence of additional people would increase your stress, which can lead to a longer labor and possible complications, explain that. Also, there’s nothing wrong with telling potential onlookers that you want to keep this a private affair.

They’re likely trying to be of help and don’t realize that it’s backfiring. Try steering them toward some other way that they really can be of help, whether it’s having the house ready for your return or building the bassinet. Assigning tasks will make him or her feel a part of the process.

If nothing else works, don’t notify anyone that you’ve gone into labor. If they don’t know, then they can’t be there. It’s easier to apologize afterward and ask for forgiveness than to hurt feelings by telling someone no.

Jules Hirst, etiquette expert


A: There are plenty of pushy relatives who invite themselves to witness this special occasion.

I think there are really three ways you can say no. The first is to politely say, “I’m sorry, but there’s only one other person we’ve decided to invite into the delivery room. And unless you’re tiny and naked and screaming at the top of your lungs, it’s not you.”

Another way is to remind the person that things are likely to be stressful enough in the delivery room without adding another person into the mix.

The third is to say something like this: “So here’s the thing. When I give birth, there are a lot of embarrassing things that might happen. If you ever want me to come to Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner or really any dinner and sit across the table from you, I cannot let you see that happen.”

KAREN ALPERT, author of “I Heart My Little A-Holes: A Bunch of Holy-Crap Moments No One Ever Told You About Parenting”