Just a bit of my experiences that echo what has been said.
DP carried our first daughter. We also had the plan for her to carry then me. I always really wanted to carry a child, and so did she. Our plan was to try to get me pregnant soon after our first with our second. During the prengancy I thought I'd like to try even sooner, because I really felt drawn to carrying. After DD's birth I wasn't ready to try to get pregnant until DD was 24 months - a year or more longer than we expected to wait. This was in part because of the reality of parenting and wanting to slow down and wait until it felt right for our family. But it was also very much time for me to heal from DD's birth and find in myself the desire to carry and birth again. That piece took a lot of time - despite how strongly I wanted to carry before and during pregnancy.
For me, some important things were:
- being honest with DP and myself about how I felt during the birth. Sometimes sharing things that might add to my own DP's healing (because she wasn't aware they had happened). Hearing how my DP felt in certain moments was very helpful. My fears and worries about her were often different than her own fears during the birth. I saw things differently than she experienced. It took time and going back to the story many times for all the pieces to be realized and shared. The story shared months later had new additions and perspectives.
- no pressure. no timeline. and for it to be okay to step back. (ie. we got all the testing and preparations done at the clinic, and ended up waiting many months until I felt more ready).
- we have changed up our midwife team and some other details about our birth plan, in response to some tangible ways to address my fears.
- we will have a doula at our birth who will care for BOTH me and my DP. This is important to me. Last birth we did not have a doula. I think I want a doula MORE for the benefit of my partner than for me in labour :) I want her to be able to experience her own feelings during the birth, and to have space to really birth together. I have really begun to see birth as a team, as something experienced and that affects both partners bodies, minds, parenting, etc... I realised that maybe I needed, as the NGP, space where I was not the main caregiver for my DP so I could be more present in a different way during the birth. Certainly as a loving caregiver, but not as the primary one/only primary one. More space to be with my wife instead of worrying for her? some perspective and care for both of us during DD's birth would have been helpful I think. I thought reading the books a zillion times would make me her best caregiver. I realised my love for her made me not hte best person to ease her fears during birth - as I had too many of my own worries for her :)
Best of luck to you and DP as you navigate through what ever it is you need to :)