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Thread: Your partner at the birth

  1. #1

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    Default Your partner at the birth

    I don't know if this is normal...

    I'm really wondering if I want my partner at the birth with me. I know that's weird, but he doesn't deal well with blood, and to be honest, I think he has found the whole pregnancy experience so far a bit gross, lol! It's perhaps a bit primal for him I'm worried that I will be thinking about how he is reacting to everything that's going on rather than concentrating on what my body is doing...

    He said he wants to be there but I don't think he really knows what he's letting himself in for, and I'm also kind of worried that after he sees me giving birth that it will change his perception of me, that I will only be a mother then, and no longer a wife or lover... you should also probably know that I'm feeling rather hormonal right now!! So I may still change my mind, seeing as the birth is (hopefully!!) still several weeks away.



    I just wanted to know if anyone else has had similar feelings? At this stage I wonder if I would rather just be there by myself, with the midwives...

  2. #2

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    I have a friend who is having similar thoughts atm. It never even crossed my mind but I think if it had DH would have been very upset at the thought of me not letting him see his child being born. You should talk to him, from what I can gather, seeing a women give birth leaves most men with an amazing new respect for them. They see the strength the women have and get to witness something that they have always taken for granted (the whole pregnancy thing).
    I def think that you should talk to him. Hope it goes well

  3. #3

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    Not only similar feelings, but I'm contemplating not telling him when I go into labour so I don't have to worry about him being there! Then again, I don't really want the midwives there either. I just can't stand the thought of not being DH's wife, IYSWIM - I'm not only the mother of his children, I'm also his wife and a gorgeous, glamourous mystical creature... which I won't be if he sees me in that situation!

  4. #4

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    My DH is very straight. He too thought the whole idea of pg was a bit gross, he admitted that he thought the bump was not terribly attractive (mind you It didn't stop me from feeling like a goddess) and he never wanted to know about the actual workings of anything.

    I tried to get him to read books, but no, he wouldn't. I took him to an antenatal class, and he cracked jokes through the whole thing, and went almost green at the video of the birth. He just didn't want to know what he was up for, but he kept insisting he would be there for the birth. I had my doubts, i really did. If you go back through the archives, you'll see my posts about it! Lol!

    But on the day, my wonderful DH rose to the occasion, and was the best damned birth partner I could have asked for. He was supportive and encouraging, and did and said all the right things. I felt him beside me one hundred percent, and the sight of him cradling our baby 5 minutes after the birth with tears in his eyes is something I'll never forget.

    I don't think men get as obsessed with pg as we women do, but the birth is something special and tangible for them. I reckon if he wants to be there, you should definitely let him. My DH thought I was the most amazing, beautiful creature after the birth!

    My only suggestion is if you don't think he will be as supportive as you'd like, perhaps think of a doula to assist. Good luck with it either way!
    Last edited by sushee; November 11th, 2006 at 10:29 AM.

  5. #5

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    Sit down and have a good chat about what his feelings actually are.
    DH has been there for all 3 of my births and for the first two didn't see much really as I was holding onto him too much. For our first child I was semi reclined on his lap.
    He doesn't need to see all the action to be there and support you. There is a bit of blood and goop but nothing worse than what he will see as a parent.

    On the other hand if you are concerned about how his feelings for you as a lover may change I don't think you should worry about that too much.

  6. #6

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    I can't imagine giving birth without my wonderful DH there. As far as I'm concerned, tough $hit if he doesn't like blood etc, look at what you have to go through to birth your baby, the least he can do is be there to support you. From what I hear about labour, the last thing you're going to be worrying about is what your dh is doing or thinking!

    It does sound like he's quite keen to be there, and I don't think he should miss it. All of our male friends, even the really hopeless ones, all really enjoyed being present for the birth of their children, and as someone else said, have a new-found respect for their wives.

    I can understand you feeling quite hormonal, but really think long and hard about this.....you can't go back and change it after it's done.

    Good luck

  7. #7

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    My DH was a bit sqeamish and said he'd be up 'my end of the bed' but when bubs started crowning, he was down there watching the whole thing and ended up cutting the cord (something he'd adamantly said he wouldn't do...). It certainly hasn't changed the way he sees me...he's started slapping me on the butt again, something he hasn't done for months! He's still the affectionate loving lover!
    Has your partner seen a birth video and will he be going to the antenatal classes with you?

  8. #8

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    I personally couldn't imagine him not being there - regardless of the goopy stuff (which can all be kept fairly well contained) its such an amazing part of your journey together as a family.
    The memories will stick in his mind forever, and perhaps will remind him what you went through to bring your children into the world - specially at the times when you are being nagging annoying wife like we all have tendencies to be
    In saying this, I ended up having my mum through most of my labour, and it was pretty amazing. She diverted her eyes at the right times, but also got stuck in helped rub my back too. This is a mother who never even told me about periods - so we aren't at all close in that way. But you can't have too much support at a time like this. Familiarity and closeness will be one of your greatest allies when the going gets tough.

  9. #9

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    Perhaps you should look at getting a doula or a birth attendant in case he isnt able to support you in ways you hope - a doula can also support him and make sure there is as little interruption to your rhythm as possible - you need to be able to do your thing without worrying for two people. Sometimes in this situation you can feel so stressed and just want to get out of the situation with pain relief as its difficult to deal with it all and you just want out. You get just one go at an event you will remember forever. If he grosses out, it can lead to all sorts of things, frustration, resentment, disappointment... not saying it will but there's another side for you.

    One important thing to remember is that this was never traditionally a male role - its not their domain and is only a recent thing that they have been expected to be part of birth. Women used to support women. There are books out about men at birth written by men and women, discussing how some men just don't feel right being in the birth room or want to be, but some partners expect and even demand that so we need to look at it from two sides - our needs and wants, and theirs. I think in the case of someone who didnt want to be there, it can have a negative effect on the birth, so back-up plans are always good
    Last edited by BellyBelly; November 11th, 2006 at 12:04 PM.
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  10. #10

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    Sasha, My DH want to be at our babys birth, and I want him to be there too. He doesnt want to know about al thr gross stuff (typical bloke) so he says he'll be up "my end", so he can hold my hand, see my face etc and not have to see goop (lol!!). He is even planning on coming to the ante-natal classes with me, and think its good that he wants to come too. They told me thay encourage women to have someone else at ante-natal classes (dad or some other suppport person) so they can know what they can do to help you and stuff.

    um sorry i think i went off topic ?

  11. #11

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    My DH wanted to be at the birth but insisted on staying away from the business end I never really though much of it at the time and as it was he nearly missed the whole thing as he had to go home and pack my hospital bag and by the time he got back I was ready to start pushing. I think it was fairly awkard for him looking back at photos of myself straight after the birth I can understand why, there was quite a lot of blood and I looked like h*ll. It didn't help that half way through I ripped my drip out and no-one noticed except DH that there was blood all up my arms :-) and it did take him a while(prob 3mths) to see me as a wife/lover again particular when BF but having said that he loved telling everyone about "our" birth and has signed up for this one and it was great having him there.

    Most birth suites have a nice out of the way chair for DH's who need some space in the delivery room too so he can still be there for you but maybe with some distance. I guess you'll never know until it's time :-)

  12. #12

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    Thanks for all your replies everyone, it has really helped to read them all! The idea of men at the birth as a new thing resonates quite strongly with me, not that I want to exclude him at all but because I feel like there is pressure on men/partners to be there even if they don't really want to.

    I've been doing a fair bit of soul-searching today, did some gentle work in the garden and did some meditating on it. Also had a big chat with DH and we went through all the worst case scenario, like, what really comes out when you give birth! And he assured me that yes, if he had to actually deliver the baby then it probably would be quite traumatic and sex would be the last thing on his mind for a few weeks afterwards (I said it might be the same for me at that stage as well, lol!!) but it would be just sex in general, not because it was me, but because, well, it's just a bit confronting to see "that side" of things! But no matter how squeamish, he would do anything to help me because it needed to be done, and he also said that the actual birth of the baby would be the focus then, not how sweaty and awful I looked at the time!!

    He is the person I trust most in the all the world, he knows everything about me and is my closest friend. If anyone is going to be there I want it to be him. I know if it gets too much he can take a step back because I have lovely midwives who I know are going to take care of everything anyway.

    In the end after having some time to think about it all, I also realised that I have some self-esteem issues with my body which stem from years ago, which have more to do with me than with anyone else. We talked a lot about that too, I feel like I've had a bit of a breakthrough!

    He's already booked in to come to the ante-natal classes with me anyway, and I'm sure that they'll have more information for when we get that far... but it's good to know it's not such a weird thing and some of you have had similar feelings! Thanks

  13. #13

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    Hi Sasha, I think you are doing the right thing to have him there. My DH was unsure how he'd cope and was brilliant. Like ChocolateCatty's experience, he looked at all the gory bits, cut the cord both times (the first time he was adamant he wouldn't) and even watched as the ob examined the placenta and pointed out what was what. I'm not sure who was more surpirsed, him or me, but I'm so glad he was there. And like the others have said he has new respect for me.

  14. #14

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    My DH gets very squimish at things like needles, but both births he has been there & even when I had the c/s he was peeking around to have a look. This birth we had a support person as well & I wouldn't ever try it again without a support person as well as DH. He needed a break and she was able to take over & when decisions needed to be made he had her strength in knowing that the decisions were what I wanted & he was making the right ones. He also gained so much from being there, watched the whole thing & once the cold stopped pulsating he cut it. He said he wouldn't miss it for the world and it did really change the way he saw me.

  15. #15

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    I'm pleased you have moved along somewhat Sasha. I think you are looking at this from a very healthy perspective.
    I have to add though - he will probably see you in far worse lights than the birth though. I dont think I looked particualrly glam covered in spew, boobie hanging out, hair not done, tears pouring from my eyes and snot gushing from nose, and still in my PJ's when he came home from work a few times, but he knew it had been a tough day and would give me the time to have a shower and clean myself up.
    After you have kids I think the relationship turns more to partnership, so in my opinion him being at the birht - specially as you say he's your best friend, is a great start to the rest of your lives together.

  16. #16

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    Sasha I was exactly the same as you. I have to sit near the door if DH is having anything done so he can't run away LOL. He always said he'd just wait outside thanks.....like hell!
    When it happened he had no idea, but I didn't care, he was there. It was my rule that he not go past my hips but as it turned out I had to have a csec.
    I was panicking as I used to work in theatre and I always had to 'catch' the fainting dads. I made him ask for a stool and told him where to fall. The nurses were laughing at me. He surprised me so much when he stood up to have a peek. He reckons it's the best thing he's ever seen! He's still a wus, but afterwards he will be in awe of your power hon. Mine is.
    Good luck, keep meditating and talking.

  17. #17

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    Sasha,
    Your man will love you for all the women you are. His Lover. His Wife. The Mother of His Child(ren).
    The only changed perception is the addition of being a Mother.
    He may be queasy at the sight of blood, but it may be different when it comes to the bringing into the world of his child. And yours. Something that the two of you have worked together at so far... Do you know what I mean?
    Has he seen any birthing videos or anything like that? It may help him to mentally prepare?
    I would say let him be at the birth. If he is there, he may want to stay looking at your face and supporting you by talking to you/rubbing your back etc, until he relaxes in the surrounds. :hugs: You never know, he may be fending off the midwife/Dr for the position of catcher! (Sorry, my friend the midwife calls herself that.)
    I wish you both the best of luck.

  18. #18

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    I dont think id have gotten through my labour without DH there. Without him id have been a mess. He done me so proud and was so supportive. For him to be there and watch our lil girl crown and then be born was amazing and i wouldnt have wanted it any other way!

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