giving birth

Sending Invitations To The Actual Birth Of Your Child Is A Thing That Should Not Be A Thing

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surprise-partyI love a party as much as anyone else, but the actual birth of your child is not a birthday you should be sending invitations to. An Australian woman does not agree with me. She sent a dozen invitations for the day of her labor, so her child wouldn’t have to come into the world alone.

Katy Chatel is a single mother who says she was worried about being alone when she gave birth. To ensure this did not happen, she decided to throw a ‘party’ of sorts – she reached out to several people in her life that she is currently close to or had been at one time, and sent out some invitations. To her labor. In her home. From Essential Baby:

I sent invitations on burgundy scrapbooking paper stamped with a field of poppies, and told each person why I wanted him or her there. I asked for flowers and takeout food. I needed yoga coaching and someone to fill and empty the birthing tub. I demanded ocean sounds and pictures. I asked for everyone to brush their teeth and skip the perfume. I warned that there would be nudity.

What ever happened to inviting your best friend or your sister along? I think this is one of those scenarios where you simply don’t feel right saying “no.” Wouldn’t you feel like a jerk? Hey, do you want to come along to witness the birth of my baby? You can’t respond to that question with, NO. Can you?

I wasn’t sure who would come. But even as the temperature rose to 30 degrees in my apartment with no air conditioning, everyone stayed and became intimate participants in Jessey’s birth. They stood with me while I was on the toilet trying to poop to help get Jessey down. They blended a cod liver and orange juice drink that’s said to help bring on stronger contractions and watched as I slugged it down. My friend Rebekah helped a midwife wrap my belly in another friend’s scarf for rebozo sifting. Between contractions I swayed with my high school friend Josh like an awkward middle school slow dance between two gay friends. They all took turns holding an electric breast pump to my nipples trying to stimulate my contractions when they weren’t strong enough.

Maybe I just have shitty friends. I can say with some measure of confidence that if I asked any of them to help me poop and stimulate my nipples they would not be amused. I mean, my friends are amazing and all but I’m pretty sure there is a line that they will not cross and I think that line probably starts with helping me poo. And ends at manual nipple stimulation or getting afterbirth on one of their scarves. Seriously, good for her for having such wildly supportive friends. I think if I sent one of these invitations to any of my friends from high school they would respectfully decline.

It didn’t matter that I was naked or that my friend tried to stuff my hemorrhoids back as I pushed harder. It didn’t matter that at first I had on my bottom-of-the-drawer ugly underwear and puked into my sister’s hands. The more I let go, the more they came in. There was nothing to feel shame about. I well up with a mix of awe, pride and gratitude thinking of the remarkable friendships I have.

For the record, the Essential Baby article has pictures of her friends in birthday hats — looking totally nonplussed by what they just experienced. So I guess one person’s nightmare of shoving a friend’s hemorrhoids back up her butt is another person’s “no big whoop.”

(photo: kurhen/ Shutterstock)


  1. ChelseaBFH

    September 8, 2014 at 11:12 am

    If there is a hell, and I go there, it’s just going to be me living this party over and over and over again for all of eternity. I’m just not sure if I’ll be the host or the guest – they both seem equally horrific.

    • Maria Guido

      September 8, 2014 at 11:15 am


    • whiteroses

      September 8, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      When people asked me who would be at my son’s birth, I said, “Unless I came out of their vagina or they’re currently intimately familiar with it, nobody.”

      I cannot imagine a situation where I would ever ask one of my friends to stimulate my nipples or have anything to do with my hemorrhoids. I love them, they love me, but there are limits for cripes sake.

  2. Surly Canuck

    September 8, 2014 at 11:22 am

    It wouldn’t be something I would want, but she seemed to know her audience. Good for her for asking and receiving the support she needed.

    • Linzon

      September 8, 2014 at 11:49 am

      This is pretty much how I feel about it too.. like how some people want their mom there but all I wanted was my husband and midwife.

      If I got an invitation like this I would be happy to wait in the waiting room until the cake arrived!

    • allisonjayne

      September 8, 2014 at 11:57 am

      Yeah, it sounds like they were all good with it so hey, whatevs.

  3. K2

    September 8, 2014 at 11:37 am

    This horrifies me so much that my face is completely blank right now.

  4. The Redhead

    September 8, 2014 at 11:38 am

    uhhhhhh….. I honestly can’t imagine being anything but horrified by having a crowd stand around me when I pooed.
    This whole thing seems like a scene from some whacky comedy movie.

    • ChelseaBFH

      September 8, 2014 at 11:44 am

      I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve seen this movie, but it reminds me of Jennifer Aniston’s insemination party at the beginning of “The Switch.”

    • noelle 02

      September 8, 2014 at 11:48 am

      I can’t go when my kids come in the bathroom. I think my baby may have selected to stay inside for the sake of modesty.

    • jane

      September 8, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      you misspelled “horror movie”

  5. LK

    September 8, 2014 at 11:42 am

    They all look happy and untraumatized, so good for them, but as for me and mine, NOPE to the millionth power.

  6. noelle 02

    September 8, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Thank you for the laugh. You had me at the image of friends taking turns with the pump and tears were streaming with hemorrhoids. I needed a good laugh.

  7. Bleu Cheese Bewbs

    September 8, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I wouldn’t want this for myself, but I am glad that she was surrounded by people who care about her. Birth can be super scary and I can’t imagine ever doing it alone.

    • Spongeworthy

      September 8, 2014 at 11:50 am

      It’s great she wasn’t alone, I agree. I’m just really put off by someone inviting me to come to their house and scrub the placenta out of their tub.

    • Bleu Cheese Bewbs

      September 8, 2014 at 11:54 am

      Oh, totally. How do you even decide who gets that duty? Or poop scooping duty? Do you give it to the people you like the least? Or do you have to give it to the people you are closest to and thus feel most comfortable asking? The etiquette is confusing.

    • Spongeworthy

      September 8, 2014 at 11:57 am

      Do you give the job of nipple stimulation to those you are closest with, or those who are the least emotionally involved? Help us, Miss Manners!

    • Bleu Cheese Bewbs

      September 8, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      Seriously – how do things not get weird between Mom and a person who spent hours stimulating her nipples?

      ETA: Is it like when actors fall in love after they spend weeks pretending to be in love on set?

    • Spongeworthy

      September 8, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      And where do you look when someone is stimulating your nipples during labor? Do you look at the person and maintain eye contact? Do you look in the other direction? Read a magazine? SO MANY QUESTIONS (that I hope I never get the answers to).

    • Bleu Cheese Bewbs

      September 8, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      I feel like eye contact would be creepy, but avoiding eye contact would be rude.
      Also, I would feel obligated to make sure all my helpers were having a good time, because I like to be a polite hostess. However, I also tend to micro-manage, so I think the team birth would just be too overwhelming for me.

    • Kelly

      September 8, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      You guys. DYING.

    • Bleu Cheese Bewbs

      September 8, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      If you invite me to your next birth, I do not want roid duty. Also, probably not nip duty.

    • Kelly

      September 8, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      FTR, neither was necessary the last time so I’m not expecting these to be actual jobs. How do you feel about swaying with me?

    • Bleu Cheese Bewbs

      September 8, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      I am totes up for swaying and or tennis ball back massage duty. Also, I will bring you treats but someone else has to be on poop clenaup duty.

    • gammachris

      September 8, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      I’d even take poop duty over cleaning the tub. I was a nurse for 15 years, so I was very well paid to play in more poop than you can shake a stick at. But tub duty? Ain’t nobody got time for that…

    • gammachris

      September 8, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      I’d take either one of those over cleaning the tub.

    • journalgal2

      September 8, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      Man, if A and B lists for weddings annoy people, imagine the reaction to this!

      “I get to wrap the baby in a clean blanket for her first photo!”

      “I get to push hemorrhoids back in place.”

    • Spongeworthy

      September 8, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      RIGHT? That takes a bridezilla (birthzilla?) to a whole ‘nuther level. As soon as hemorrhoids come into play, all bets are off.

    • ChelseaBFH

      September 8, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      And did she include their jobs on the invitations she sent where she told each person why she wanted them to be there, or was it a surprise when they got there? “I want you there because you have dainty, soft hands that wont chafe me too much as you shove my hemorrhoids back inside of me.”

  8. Jen TheTit Whipper

    September 8, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I’m good. I am not sure I want my husband and my doctor to see me like that…let alone every person I know.

    • Bleu Cheese Bewbs

      September 8, 2014 at 11:55 am

      As I’ve mentioned somewhere else, the less people seeing me uncontrollably farting and pooping, the better.

  9. Spongeworthy

    September 8, 2014 at 11:48 am

    If a very, very close friend or family member asked me to be their birth coach or something, I’d probably do it. But if a friend asked me to come to their house to empty blood and afterbirth out of their tub, I’d be RSVPing no and sending a casserole in a week or so.

    • ted3553

      September 8, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      I am all into surgery stuff and think watching somone’s else’s birth would be wicked but if my girlfriend asked me to stimulate her nipples, I would be kicked out of the hospital for yelling ” as F%^&ing if” at the top of my lungs while laughing at her.

    • JJ

      September 8, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      Hey now I always go to my friends houses to help them stimulate their nipples and go to the washroom. Isn’t that what friends do? LOL. Isn’t that just a regular thanksgiving party at someone’s house.

      Seriously though this lady is freaking me out and I am very open to the human body and functions. But 1000 times hell no if someone did me the honour of inviting me to such a “function”.

  10. Samantha Escobar

    September 8, 2014 at 11:50 am

    I empathize with her not wanting to be alone (I will also probably not want to be alone, and I plan on probably using a donor SO THAT MIGHT HAPPEN), buuuuut I also don’t think I need anybody to witness that many bodily thangs going down, ya feel me?

    • Jen TheTit Whipper

      September 8, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      I think you can probably safely have a baby come into the world surrounded by love without someone to shove your ‘roids back in.

    • gammachris

      September 8, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      Had 4 babies. No ‘roid shoving involved.

    • Jen TheTit Whipper

      September 9, 2014 at 8:20 am

      HA HA good to know.

    • gammachris

      September 10, 2014 at 7:58 am

      Yeah. I’m retroactively kind of psyched about that myself.

    • ted3553

      September 8, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      yeah, I’m not so sure about her deal. My husband was working out of town when I delivered (he’d just started a new job) and I was planning on going it alone because no one needed to see my goods in that state. My sister (who was still a smidge drunk from the previous night) came to hang out and she was in the room when I delivered and she did hold my leg which was wayyyyy closer than we’ve ever been before but no touching of any parts covered by my bathing suit and sure as hell no watching me in the bathroom.

  11. Bleu Cheese Bewbs

    September 8, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusSlugalo

      September 8, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      You said doooody! *giggles*

  12. MAC

    September 8, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    I read the whole article, her conclusion really rubs me the wrong way: “This all may seem wildly unconventional, but the truth is that my son’s birth was more traditional and more nurturing than standard hospital births. This is the way it should be … a baby born into the world surrounded by love instead of the glare of florescent lights and masked strangers. ” And then reveals that her child was conceived via donor sperm!

    I hate that she bashes the choice to have a hospital birth an unqualified inferior experience, even though she was apparently ok lowering herself to use sterile, cold modern medicine to conceive her son in the first place. I could say that the “truth” is my daughter’s conception via p in v was “more traditional and nurturing” than her intrauterine insemination, which almost certainly involved the horrors of artificial lighting and surgical masks, but why would I try to demean someone else’s experience?

    • Jen TheTit Whipper

      September 8, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      Because you’re not an asshole?

    • Spongeworthy

      September 8, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      So any child born in a hospital was not surrounded by love? And doctors and nurses are now “masked strangers” instead of qualified healthcare professionals who are working to help get your baby into the world safely?
      I agree that it is very hypocritical to use all the advances of modern medicine when it suits you, and bash it when you are trying to laud your experience as superior.

  13. Jayamama

    September 8, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    How can she ever look these people in the eye ever again?

  14. WhoremonalCrazyLotusSlugalo

    September 8, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I feel a little nauseated. At first I was all, “Oh come on Maria, maybe you wouldn’t like to have friends present, but some people like company.”… Then I kept reading and was all, “I’m totes with you, Maria, this is taking things a bit (and by that, I mean MILES) too far.” It’s the nipples and the hemmies. You can’t.. Why would you … Cheese-n-rice on a popsicle stick… Noooooooo……Pe.

  15. ChillMama

    September 8, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Oh gosh. That line about shoving hemorrhids literally made me gag (it’s a really good thing I haven’t eaten lunch yet). So, I guess I fail the friend test for this kind of thing? Aw, shucks. Guess I’d have to miss out!

    Though I totally agree with Spongeworhty below; if a really good friend or person who really needed support asked me to be there for labour and delivery, I would. I still would not be going near hemorrhids though. Blech.

  16. Personal

    September 8, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    She can’t be the first woman to do this. I remember a blog or something where a woman gave birth to a beautiful little baby girl with Down Syndrome. No one at the ‘party’ or even the medical staff seemed to realize it, but the mother did right away. She had a professional photographer recording everything. It was a very moving, touching story. I’ll see if I can find it.

    • Personal

      September 8, 2014 at 12:45 pm

      OK, I’ll see if this comes through right. This picture is before anyone else realizes.

    • Bleu Cheese Bewbs

      September 8, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      This article made me cry all the tears when I read it.

    • Personal

      September 8, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      every time!

    • alexesq33

      September 8, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      I am going to have to wait to read this until I’m home because I’ve been crying all the tears at my office all the time b/c pregnancy hormones. There was one article on here I actually had to leave and go home I was sobbing and couldn’t stay (the one where the mother had her post natal photo shoot with her stillborn daughter). *sob*

    • LK

      September 8, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Ugh. Well that made me feel all the feelings.

    • Simone

      September 9, 2014 at 7:16 am

      Oh, my gosh. That is amazing. Thank you for putting up that link.

  17. MC Dangerfield

    September 8, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    If I never help one of my friends shove a hemorrhoid back in while they are pushing a human out, I’ll be totally okay with that.

    • Maria Guido

      September 8, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      You haven’t lived. hahaha

  18. Rachel Sea

    September 8, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    On the one hand, I think having more people present at positive births can only be good for the community. On the other hand, I much prefer to shit in private.

    • jane

      September 8, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      Are those really our only two options?

  19. SnoozyPuppies

    September 8, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    So, I was a little confused by the last sentence because I always thought “nonplussed” meant “perturbed” but that didn’t make sense with the “no big whoop” part of the sentence. So I looked it up, and apparently I am right that it means “perturbed” EXCEPT informally in North America, it is so often used to mean “not perturbed” that it now can be taken to mean either one, even though they are complete opposites. Gaaaah! Not to be a prescriptivist here, but isn’t that ridiculously confusing?

    • Maria Guido

      September 8, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      Well I’m confused now – so thanks. YES! It is confusing. Sorry I used the annoying North American version. Why do we always have to change everything?

    • gammachris

      September 8, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      Because ‘Merica.

  20. Kelly

    September 8, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    It takes all kinds to make the world go ’round. As for me, well, I don’t think this would be my safe place.

    Also, her list of “I need this” and “Somebody had to bring that” is both entitled and hilarious. Can you fucking imagine getting an invitation to this shit, and then having to bring fucking Thai takeout on top of it all? This woman obviously has balls of steel. And actually, so do her poor friends.

    • Spitting_mad

      September 8, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      No shit. If you seriously expect your friends to come over to this “party”, you can host them. Get your own fucking ocean sounds, buy a couple cases of refreshments, and leave the menu and money for takeout on the counter.

    • LiteBrite(UterineDudebro)

      September 8, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Yeah, if I’m gonna be tasked with the dubious honor of pushing someone’s ‘roids back in place, they better have a smorgasbord of my favorite foods ready to go. Even if I wasn’t sure I’d be able to eat afterward…

    • KatDuck

      September 8, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      I’d go for full reciprocation at my “house airing” party (aka spring cleaning) later. And even then … of course, I’m a total wuss with bodily fluids so I’d still skip this invite.

    • Mehra Sarethi

      September 9, 2014 at 7:40 am

      That’s the part that bugged me the most! Like lady, nobody owes you shit for having a baby. Quit being an entitled douche bag. Also, she best be ready to reciprocate, and I hope EVERY ONE of her friends who went to that birth ask the same of her!

  21. jendra_berri

    September 8, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    I would never want that kind of birth, but anyone would be lucky to have those kinds of friends is alls I’m gonna say.

  22. Spitting_mad

    September 8, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    “You can’t respond to the question with NO, can you?”

    HAhahahahahaha – watch me.

  23. alexesq33

    September 8, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    “Maybe I just have shitty friends.”
    THIS. I guess I do too.

  24. alexesq33

    September 8, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Even if you’re invited to a birth like this… and you want to go… at what point do you decide it’s acceptable to try to push someone’s hemorrhoid back in?

    • LiteBrite(UterineDudebro)

      September 8, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      I think I’d have to say no to that one. It’s all about boundaries.

    • alexesq33

      September 8, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      Exactly! Like, ok, well I will help stimulate your nipples and watch you poo, but you’re pushing your own hemorrhoid back in, girl.

    • LK

      September 8, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      Can you imagine how chaotic that internal monologue would be? Like 5 seconds of the MOST POSSIBLE thoughts a person could cycle through.

  25. JJ

    September 8, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Hey kids need a form of birth control? Just go watch this lady give birth with her friends assisting her. All the damn birth control you could ever need in your entire life! I know I am good for now on the whole having kids thing. Thank you Katy for saving me. I will have an I’m not having a baby party and invite you to. I will not make my friends take me to the bathroom, puke in their hands (unless its from to much wine) or put their scarf’s around my abdomen while they fill up and empty/clean up my birthing pool for me.

  26. Elizabeth Catalano

    September 8, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    What in the ever loving…. If I could’ve given birth alone I would have.

  27. rockmonster

    September 8, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    All aboard the nope train to Fuckthatville.

  28. gammachris

    September 8, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    I have the most wonderful friends in the world. I feel certain that every one of them would break up with me if I had tried to rope them into this.I don’t think I’d want to keep any friends that were cool with this.

  29. KLush

    September 8, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Nope, nope and did I say nope

  30. C.J.

    September 8, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    Here I thought I had the best friend ever because she took turns with my husband putting pressure on my lower back when I had back labor (she wasn’t in the room for the actual delivery) and helped me shower in the hospital when I had a stroke. It was bad enough having my best friend shave my legs, no way I would want a bunch of people watching me poop or stimulating my nipples ever.

  31. Penelope

    September 9, 2014 at 3:55 am

    Can’t believe no one’ s posted this yet…

    • WhoremonalCrazyLotusSlugalo

      September 9, 2014 at 10:25 am

      I feel like I over do it with the nopetopus, but totally applicable.

  32. Simone

    September 9, 2014 at 7:18 am

    No one gets to puke into my hands. Not the Good Lord himself would have that privilege.

  33. Mehra Sarethi

    September 9, 2014 at 7:37 am

    I most definitely can and would say HELL NO if a friend asked me to do this. I might even say WTF right to her face! I must be a bad friend…

  34. hdonovan

    September 9, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Must admit that I”d like to get the invitation – it would be a clear sign that I needed to dump this woman off my FB IMMEDIATELY!

  35. hdonovan

    September 9, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Rebozo sifting??? She put a clown through a sieve twice?

  36. Kite

    September 25, 2014 at 12:44 am

    Don’t see the big deal. No doubt this woman is a hippie with lots of hippie community minded friends who have expressed positive, poppy-coloured views about birthing.

    For mainstream-cultured Western people, that invite would seem very, very weird, I agree. But each to their own.

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