It is a big week for pregnant women in America. A BIG week. A court in one of the nation's biggest states (by population anyway) has ruled that moms can now ban dad from the delivery room!
Got that? No matter what he says; if you don't want him in there watching you push his baby into the world, he doesn't get in.
Greatest court ruling ever? Not so fast.
The first-of-its-kind-in-the-nation ruling comes out of New Jersey where a mom named Rebecca DeLuccia got pregnant and engaged only to split with fiance Steven Plotnick before the baby was born. Plotnick felt he was being kept out of the loop on the happenings with his baby, so he sued for access, and the feces hit the fan. Things went down to the wire -- with a court hearing on the very day the mom-to-be went into labor!
She won. She got to keep her ex out of the delivery room.
The judge called the dad's desire to be there for baby's first moments "laudable" but sided with mom's right to privacy.
A part of me feels for the mom here. Would you want your ex around on one of the most stressful days of your life? You're in pain; you're worried about what's going to happen. The last thing you want is the guy you can't stand sitting there annoying the pants out of you.
And yet ... I feel for the dad here too, and for every dad who will be affected by this ruling -- and those like it that are sure to come down the pike in other states.
I remember my husband in the delivery room. I don't think I've ever seen an expression of such love and devotion on his face. I know he loves me, but the moment he saw his little girl? I'll waltz over into cornytown and admit it was magical.
I can't imagine denying a father that moment, no matter how mad I was at him ... not if he really wanted to be there, not if he was really devoted to his child.
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Are there circumstances where a guy shouldn't be allowed in? Of course. A rapist shouldn't get to further victimize his victim by forcing his way into the delivery room. A domestic abuser shouldn't get to barge in on the birth. But those are far and away the exceptions as men, not the rule.
Oftentimes there are men who, for whatever reason, are not good boyfriend or husband material but can be perfectly good, committed dads. Isn't that what we all want for our kids? A committed, involved father? A man who loves his children so much he WANTS to hear their first cry of life? Who wants to be there the moment they enter this world?
I'm all for a mom's right to privacy, and I can see forcing your ex to stand at your head so he doesn't get another look-see at your private parts. I'm even for setting up a rule that if he can't just shut up and be respectful, then he's outta there.
But I fear a ruling like this will be used less by moms who are truly trying to protect themselves and more by women who are shortsighted, women who are thinking more about themselves than about the person they are bringing into this world. Because that's the thing about labor and delivery ... suddenly life isn't all about you anymore, honey. It becomes what's best for your child.
What do you think of the new rule? What would it take for you to ban a guy from watching his own child be born?
Image via David J LaPorte/Flickr