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Thread: "Why men should NEVER be at the birth of their child"

  1. #19

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    Wow what an interesting article, one of the more enjoyable reads that I have had for a long time.

    I thought his arguements were well thought out and even to a certain extent "justified". Whilst I understand the womens need to have her male partner there at the birth of their child I can certainly see how this could be a hindrance.



    My DH was at the birth of our children, and whilst he was certainly a great help and it was reassuring/bonding to have him there, truthfully that role could have been done by someone else who equally had my trust eg a doula, my mum etc.

    I think it comes down to choice, if both partners feel comfortable then certainly go ahead, but if one or the other is even wavering a little bit its most probably best not to have them there.

  2. #20

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    I didn't even bother reading the whole thing. IMO it depends on the couple I believe if a Man can't handle seeing his wife bring his child into the worlds & up runs away never to return then something was wrong with that relationship long before the birth. Same goes for relationships that die after the birth. I don't understand how something so wonderful can bring a relationship to an end.
    My DH was very supportive & I didn't hinder my birth(s) at all.

    I don't believe a man should be forced to be there, but he should have the balls to say "I don't think I could handle it" rather then be there & be an un supportive mess

  3. #21

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    but he should have the balls to say "I don't think I could handle it" rather then be there & be an un supportive mess
    Maybe so - but it isn't very socially acceptable to do that these days. Dads are expected to be there and people look down on them for not being interested. The reality is that a lot of men are thoroughly unprepared for what labour will be like for them and their partners and in our culture, they are often the only support person.

    In history, women were supported by women when birthing. Women who had experience of birth. When birth moved to hospital, that was taken away and women were not given any emotional support at all. This is the place that many of our mothers and grandmothers are coming from when they tell us their birth horror stories. Finally, Dads were invited in to the birth rooms - but they were only there to watch and hold hands. We often expect too much from men in the birth rooms. Some can rise to the challenge and are prepared beforehand, but others are at sea watching their partners in pain. For me, I need a woman who knows what it feels like, who has 'walked the walk', with me.

    My DH told me during my 1st pg that he had no particular interest in being at the birth, but he knew that I would want him there. He was right - we were living O/S at the time and had no family or close friends around.

    Turns out...he is the world's worst birth support! To be fair, neither of us were really prepared for the reality of a first birth in a hospital. The second time around, he was much better but the labour was only 3 hours and smooth as silk. Third time, I got a doula! The pressure was off and he could relax and enjoy watching our DS make his appearance.

    This time, he will be catching at home. He is a much better birth support now, but it has taken 3 attempts! Experience has taught him when to shut up and stop making jokes and where exactly on my sacrum to apply pressure and when. But I will still have a doula - at the end of the day, I would still prefer to be reassured by someone who really knows - it's just more believable.

    C

  4. #22

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    Hi,

    Well I can definitely understand and agree with his points in terms of the neo cortex and beingspoken to etc and the bonding after birth but I have to say that anyone who comes into contact with a women in labour can cause problems because of these things (what about being asked questions by midwives when you reach the hospital) If a support person (man or women, dad to be, mother, friend, aunt whoever) knows these things they can be a great birth partner however they could also be a bad birth partner if they do the wrong things!

    I personally know that I would NEVER choose to give birth without my husband there. In terms of the sexual relationship prior to the labour Phil said he wouldn't watch Noah crowning and being born etc he would just stay up nest to me (because he said if he saw he would never look 'down there' the same again but half way through labour he changed his mind and said he would watch the whole thing - he did and loved it. The experience has bought us closer together, I don't know what labour would be like without Phil, I don't know if I could handle it!

  5. #23

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    While some of the ponts from the article seemed valid, many others did not add up for me.I can understand where he is comming from, however I do disagree and feel it is an individual choice.

    I have had the plesure of attending two births - one vaginal and one CS, when my sister gave birth to my neices. When my neice was born vaginaly, I was very stressed and nervous, I even threw up at one point (yes i did). The birth was all of 4 hours and went beautifuly, so I doubt that I emited anything that slowed it down, my sister was just grateful for my support. When all is said and done, while I found some of it traumatic, I wouldn't change it for anything as it was also a wonderful experience.

    I also believe that when a long dificult labour occurs, that women hormones may change and she may and her husband may be stressed- purely because of the situation, not just because he is in attendence. I had a long dificult labour with my first and my DF (at the time) was snoring his head off in the birthing bean bag.

    Also saying lets not have you there honey- just in case you get a mental illness like one guy once was reported to have gotten, seems a little OTT to me. Also just in case you take off after, because you are forever changed and cannot handle it. I hate to be rude but Boo Hoo, we are all forever changed after birth, suck it up men (lol). If a man takes off after he has witnessed a birth, that says to me he he was never a real man to begin with and you are better off without him, as over a lifetime especially raising children tougher more stressful situations will arise, so I just believe some men are simply put Jerks- and when the ernomity of having to look after another human being for the rest of their life dawns on them they cannot cope. Does this mean others shouldn't be allwoed in because some men arn't so great?

    Some women also have trouble being intimate after child birth - does that mean we should all have a Cs to avoid it! No of course not- man or women, things may change after a birth and it is something that you need to work through sometimes. Thats life for you. And once again it is a presonal choice, I couldn't have gotten through my last birth without my husband (a CS but still)- when it comes down to it, my husbands protective mode kicks in and he does his best to make sure I am looked after, and I am grateful for it and wouldn't want it any other way. (sorry for the novel).

  6. #24

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    I don't think I could do it without my DH there with me. He was absolutley wonderful

    I do understand what Mr Odent is talking about though. Some men would be tense, stressed and not good support for their wives. It manes sense that some of his tension would transfer to the labouring woman and possibly hinder her labour.
    But that's just some men, not all

  7. #25

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    When I do finally have a baby I definately want my DH there. I couldn't imagine not including him in something so important.

  8. #26

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    I understand that he is supposed to be 'well respected' etc. However, I have some issues with this article. First of all, any study that uses the word 'never' catches my attention - um, never? That is a little dogmatic and a huge generalisation in my opinion.

    I could not have done it (my 26 hour labour) like I did without my wonderful DH. As others have reported, it was a comfort and a blessing that he was there.

    Perhaps the ob should consider that perhaps it should be a woman's perogative whether her husband attends the birth or not - she should not be forced either way. I agree with penstealingpol. - some men would not be ideal in a birth situation. But I agree that if they run off because of it, um, perhaps he was a loser all along.

  9. #27

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    Hmmm.. food for thought.

    My now XDH was present for our first birth. He was not really of much help. I didnt want anyone to touch me during contractions, and as they were pretty much continuous, he was a bit like a shag on a rock. He sat in the chair surfing the net on his mobile. He was really only able to help when I needed someone to support me to go to the toilet or shower.

    I had my mother there also who was of a lot more help. She was able to do things like tie my hair back and talk calmly to me. XDH was so jittery I couldn't talk to him.

    XDH said afterwards it was hard to watch me in pain, and he had to actually leave the room when they were giving me an epi as he couldn't stand to see a needle in my back. Luckily mum was there and was able to hold me forcibly still for the procedure. I was racked with contractions the entire time so sitting hunched over was near on impossible. I had around 6 contractions whilst they found the right spot.

    We are now getting a divorce. He ended it when I was 12 weeks pregnant. Things became rough during the first pregnancy (very difficult one), and everything did get dramatically worse after the birth. Perhaps he cant cope with what he saw? I wont ever know as he can not talk about things like that.

    He will not be at this birth. When I told him, he was most relieved as he said "I was worried what you might yell at me during the birth" Poor Didums! My mother will be the only one with me and I have a feeling this will be a much smoother event (even though this pregnancy has been twice as bad as my first). XDH will be at home looking after our son and will come to the hospital after this little one is born.

    He had the choice to be at this birth, but when I realised he really didn't want to be there, I decided that he would be of no help to me. If he was in the room, I couldn't have mum as she would have to look after our son. He is happier with this arrangement and I think I will find it much better too.

  10. #28

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    Wow, this thread actually prompted me to ask my DH, "So how was the experience of DS's birth for you?", I'd never thought to ask him before.

    He said that it wasn't "pleasant", but the he wasn't "traumatised" by it, but that he could basically "take it or leave it". It was a bit of a shock for me to hear him say that because my feelings about DS's birth are so different. DS's birth for me is (so far) the most amazing and cherished experience of my life, and my DH was such an integral part of it. I couldn't have done it without him and I absolutely did not want any other support person there instead of or in addition to him.

    DH did go on to say that by far the most important experience for him was EVERYDAY, sharing our lives with our son.

    Anyway, I think Astrid is spot on. It's all about having information/education and making informed choices, and having those choices respected.
    Last edited by Epacris; April 17th, 2008 at 02:36 PM.

  11. #29
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    i can see where he is coming from! i think its more about having a nervous person as a support person over an experienced support person.

    my husband was a wreck after my first birth. it was very upseting for him.
    next time he was so much better. but i wanted him there cos it was the birth of his children! i know i couldnt have done it with out him( he is how i got in to that sitiuation! hehe)

    but i know that first time round it would have been much better to have an experienced support person!

    i also wonder how much the media has docted(sp?) this interview??

  12. #30

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    After reading throught all these posts and having a nice cuppa tea, it dawend on me. I would have "wanted" my DH with me during labour, not because I want him there, but because it would be expected of me, kwim?? I would feel that he would feel left out and that others would think me selfish that I don't want him there. To be honest, my DH makes me nervous when he gets tense. When he is tense, he gets irretated and then he can become plain rude. It's his way of coping and in and I love him for that, BUT it does get to me when he is like that. I would also be worried about him the whole time. Is he hungry, is he bored, is he tired, if he is with me is the shop doing ok I would feel weird with an other man looking up my woo-haa. I would be worried that he might say something to the nurses/doctors, or get worked up because they don't come withing 5 seconds after he pushed the button. Silly stuff like that.
    Yes, he was with me for my c/s, but it was done under general and I knew nothing of him being there. I do know that I loved that he held my hand when they put me to sleep, but if he would have walked out at that point, it would not have made a difference to my support or to me. Was it traumatic for him ... yes. He told me so. Seeing your wife's belly cut open and fishing around there for your child have to be traumatic. Did it affect our love/marriage/relationship ... no.

    So I do agree with Astrid. I also feel it should be the husband's choice if he wants to be there or not. And if he chose not to be, he must not be regarded as an "sissy" Only he would know if he would be able to handle the experience or not.

    Hats off to Mr Odent.

  13. #31
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    I didn't agree with the article but then i'm not a big fan of Odent either.

    XP was a rock during my labour (way more than he has been since, hence the "X") and i can't see how those 4 hours being shorter would have been better for me!

    I am not interested in being with a man who loses his desire for me after seeing how powerfully feminine by body and my Self can be. That is a juvenile reaction to me and i'm not interested in it. If i have to face the reality of birth then so does he and if he can't he can take a long walk and not come back.

    My partner did not know it, but I had given her the exceptionally rare, but ideal situation in which to give birth: she felt secure, she knew the midwife was minutes away and I was downstairs, yet she had complete privacy and no one was watching her.
    He GAVE her the gift of abandonment at the moment of birth? Are we to assume that she chose that even though she "didn't know it"? There is a big difference between a woman wanting to be alone, and a woman being left alone "for her own good". How is it different from ANY other treatment at labour or birth a woman herself has not chosen? Sorry. No thanks.
    Last edited by paradise lost; April 18th, 2008 at 02:24 AM.

  14. #32

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    My DH found Natalie's birth distressing. I know this because he happens to be very good at communicating his feelings (better than me) and we were able to discuss it afterwards. If he was incapable of expressing his feelings, I would understand that perhaps he'd deal with it in a less desirable way.
    I think its pretty harsh to judge men for not being able to deal with such a traumatic experience. Some people need help but don't feel it is socially acceptable to get it. I think it is sad but true that if a man said he needed to get councelling after experiencing the birth of his child he would be slammed for being selfish, or a wuss, or whatever. And that's not fair. So I can understand how difficult it would be for some men to come to terms with.

    DH and I are both incredibly glad that we had a female birth attendant who is an experienced midwife to lead us through labour and birth. If she hadn't have been there, I think Natty's birth would've been VERY different.
    I have to say, I'm glad DH was there because I wouldn't want him to feel left out of such a momentous occasion in our lives... But next time if he'd rather not be there, I won't mind. TBH, when the rubber hit the road and I was in established labour, then in transition and then pushing, I really don't think his presence made a difference to me. I probably wouldn't tell him that, but I think that's the ultimate reality of it. My focus was on getting my baby out and it was the women who gave me the encouragement to do so. DH just got upset, kept telling me he was sorry for my pain... Really lovely sweet stuff, but so unhelpful at that time.

    I'm inclined to dismiss articles that overgeneralise, but in this case I think Odent has given us something positive to talk about... Guys shouldn't feel pressured to be at their childrens' births, and women shouldn't feel pressured to have them there.

  15. #33

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    It would probably be OK if Odent had said men (and women) should be able to choose.

    But he didn't - it says why men should NEVER be at the birth of their child.

  16. #34

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    That is also just his own opinion, don't forget!

    I must admit, this article made me look at things in a new light. I had always assumed without question that my hubby would be present, but after reading this, I realised that I had never really given him the option to say "no". So last night we sat down and had the discussion, and although he maintains that he'll be fine to stay, he also knows that he has complete freedom to leave if needs to, without me getting upset or judging him. I think it's definitely healthy to have both options available. OF course, the better educated the man is about the process, the less he may be shocked my it all. I feel sorry for my hubby sometimes, being a naturopath, I often discuss in detail all the new and wonderful (!) things that I've discovered about birth. We were joking about the "poo" issue last night. lol.

  17. #35

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    myboysmumma - I agree, never is too strong a word to use. Not all men get tense in the delivery room. My DH was very relaxed and therefore kept me calm. He wouldn't have wanted to miss it.

  18. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by myboysmumma View Post
    It would probably be OK if Odent had said men (and women) should be able to choose.

    But he didn't - it says why men should NEVER be at the birth of their child.
    Odent never actually made that statement - it is just the headline given to the article (it is not in quotation marks) and nowhere in the story do those words appear.

    It is merely the headline put on the article by that journalist trying to get readers.

    What he actually says is:

    Here, with a view that will outrage many - but will strike a chord with
    thousands of others - he describes why he believes that when a woman goes into labour, her partner should stay well away.

    That there is little good to come for either sex from having a man at the birth of a child.

    When it comes to the delivery suite, men would be well advised to stay away.
    Just thought this was worth mentioning to clarify what exactly was being reported.

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