A mere fifty years ago, Lucille Ball wasn’t even allowed to use the word “pregnant” when she was withchild…she had to say “expecting.” Now women open themselves up (literally) for the world to see on shows like “A Baby Story” and “Maternity Ward” and families expect a front-row seat in the delivery room. When did we become so immodest?

I’m glad that I can talk to my girlfriends, and even offer up the occasional post on my website, about being pregnant, but when it comes to the actual show-down (i.e., labor and delivery) I – and most of my girlfriends – feel that this is a really, really personal event. So why is it that people treat it like some sort of open-to-the-public freak show? I didn’t invite you to the conception, why in the world would I want you at the delivery?

I understand that people, especially family members, get really excited about a new baby, but that does not remove the cold hard truth of from where that baby actually comes. If I wouldn’t have you at my yearly gynecology appointment, then I don’t want you to be at the hospital when there’s a baby involved. Need I remind you, dear readers, that childbirth is a glorified gynecology appointment, at which most of us gals would prefer a lot of privacy? Read: I don’t even want people to know I’m there! The fact of the matter is that childbirth is the most exposed that most women will ever be, and I certainly don’t want anyone other than my husband and experienced medical professionals anywhere near me on that blessed day.

I’ve even considered the Angelina Jolie approach – flying to Africa where I don’t even know anyone in the same hemisphere. Or maybe going out into the woods and not coming back until baby and I are good and ready.

Here’s my advice: if a friend or family member is expecting, understand that this is a very private experience to be shared between husband and wife…not between husband, wife, parents, in-laws, brothers, sisters, and the local Ruritan. When mommy, daddy, and baby are fully clothed, cleaned up, fed, and bonded, we’ll call you, and you’re more than welcome to come for a visit. But not a moment earlier.

Oh, and don’t even think about touching my pooching belly.