Two Perspectives: Hospital Etiquette At Birth

By Jess & Erin

November 28, 2022

3m read

The hospital stay is difficult to navigate to say the least...two families in the same hallway - one celebrating and leaving the hospital with full arms, but one leaving with empty arms to navigate loss and heartache.

Perspective One

Jess Nelson, Two-Time Birth Mom

I thought about sharing my (literally) unbelievable birth story with my daughter that involves a casino bathroom, but instead I want to address hospital etiquette.

This is going to seem harsh, but rather I want it to be thought provoking:

Hopeful Adoptive Parents: your place is not in the delivery room.

Your place is not waiting across the hall for our baby to be brought to you like a 1950s husband. Our baby is not yours until after our rights have been terminated.

As birth moms, we miss out on all of the firsts, all of the big moments. If Mama is their first word, it’s not us their talking about. We miss the first solid food, the first steps, the first day of school. Why can’t you let us have the first minutes, the first day? Why do you feel so entitled to be in the delivery room, across the hall, in the hospital waiting room?

Is it because you paid a $30,000 fee to adopt our baby so that means you are entitled to be there from their first breath? In a time where we are fighting tirelessly to stop the commodification of our children, entitlement has no place.

Ask yourself why? Why do you have to be there?

When I had my daughter, the Adoption Assistant sat down with me one day to do my hospital plan and when he asked who I wanted in the delivery room with me, I did not include her adoptive parents. He was shocked and couldn’t believe I said no, that I did not want them with me. He asked me if I wanted time with her after I had her, and I said yes. He asked how long, and I said until I say so. He just couldn’t believe that I wasn’t creating a hospital plan that catered to the adoptive parents.

I love my daughters parents, and I wasn’t questioning my plan to place and I wasn’t going to change my mind, but I wanted my privacy and space and time. I stood up for myself, and if I can help other expectant moms with one thing, it’s to stand up for and advocate for yourself.

Your birth story is yours to write and make sure it’s written your way, not anyone else’s.

Perspective Two

Erin Quick, Two-Time Adoptive Mom

The day your child is born is without a doubt the most important day of your life.

And for families that are adopting – many of whom have been actively trying to build their family for years, it feels like the culmination of all the stars in the universe finally aligning to make your long-sought after dream a reality.

And because of that, you don’t want to miss a second of your child’s first minutes in the world. Twice, I’ve been lucky enough to be in the hospital. Witnessing the strength it takes for a birth family to relinquish their rights, the pervasive sadness of the situation, the overwhelming love everyone feels for the baby, and the weight of the Birth Families trust.

Which is why it’s so hard to hear that you may not be invited.

When I read through Jess’ perspective on Day 5: Birth, I could feel myself getting defensive:

But the Adoptive Family will be the ones they will turn to when the child wants to hear the story of the day they were born…”

… but as I dug deeper into my own defensive feelings, I realized Jess is right. I wanted to be there because I wanted to be there for me. And if I’m being really honest, there was a part of me that was afraid they’d change their mind if I wasn’t there.

It’s hands-down the heaviest thing I’ve ever experienced – and I was on the happy side of the equation.

So, while I wish that experience for all adopting families, I now understand that like we said in the beginning, the day your child is born is the most important day of your life. And she shouldn’t miss a second of her child’s first minutes, hours or days in the world.

Jess & Erin Erin Quick is the CEO and Founder of PairTree, and more importantly, a two-time adoptive mother. Jess Nelson is the Community Manager at PairTree, as well as a birth mother. Together, they created the Two Perspectives series to take important adoption related topics and offer both of their perspectives - from two different sides of the adoption triad.