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The Innate Role of Fathers in Birth

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
Something I've been thinking about a lot lately: what is the innate/intuitive role of the father in birth?

I've been blogging about this, but nobody much reads my blog and I would really like to hear what others think about this issue.

Our culture has become saturated with images of men holding their partner's hand while managing to say the exact right thing and then leaping up to help the attendant catch the baby and finally to snip the cord in the right place, leaving a perfect little belly button. In fact, any dad who doesn't aspire to this scenario, is viewed as a "cad" and a "bad mate".

There are those (a plenty) who buck many notions and images which dominate our birth culture. They reject that birth is horrifically painful and necessitates a screaming woman who needs to be guided and calmed by her man (and her birth attendants). They reject birthing docilely in a lithotomy position with a doppler belt strapped to one's belly. They reject birth as a dangerous and scary undertaking which requires myriad "emergency" technology and devices lying in wait (just in case). And I applaud this rejection....BUT:

Why is it that we don't seem to even ask the questions; What is the role or even the purpose of a father during a birth? Is he there to *help* with the process? Can he even *really* understand the process? Is his coaching and aid really such a great benefit to his partner, to any other attending personnel, or ultimately to himself?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that men aren't valuable and cannot have a legitimate, if not critical role in birth. But is it what we think it is? We need to be asking a lot more questions to find out what that role is.

Birth is such a unique experience. Each birth is different. A mother's needs and birth process differ from birth to birth. Yet, we continuously try to fit birth into a cookie cutter mold. Every birth attendant (including fathers in childbirth classes) must learn the 3 stages of labor, the levels of effacement, dilation station and so on. We work so hard to be properly educated and prepared for an event that will require all of these skills and education. But that's not how it is really. In fact, it is a circular argument for itself. (You need to know these things so you can recognize these things so you will know what we have told you that you really need to do...oh don't argue...it will give men *something to do*) The need to know birth and recognize and identify each stage and step along the way has been very damaging to the process itself. This need to know and thereby control the process of birth is why we have a c-section rate in the 25% range in the US and why obstetrical malpractice insurance is killing the very practice of obstetrics today. (Talk about circular logic! How's it working out for Americans? Not so great.)

A woman's body has never taken a class on childbirth. It just knows what to do. It does not only knows what to do under normal/ideal circumstances. It knows what to do in the event of complication or variant outside of the textbook process. Just as your body knows how to poop (whether that particular poop be perfectly formed, hardened, runny or what have you) through all of life's differing circumstances, so does it know how to birth a child. There is not a single act of "aid" in the birth process that the body does not have some natural mechanism for aiding better. The body knows what each variant means, and will respond accordingly every single time (assuming that there is no subluxation and no gross limitation of matter) while any outside attendant can only make an educated guess.

So, this brings me back to the father. He is ultimately, a poseur in today's world of birthing. He can be excited with the idea of "delivering" his own child and his critical role in helping his partner, but he is doing so at the expense of his partner (who will actually deliver the baby and should get full credit for doing soo. Jeesh!) and her actual needs. Does this role best serve his innate strengths and purpose in birth?

Pregnancy and childbirth are part of a vital journey into becoming a parent. We have a tendency to become far to focused on the goal: a healthy baby and ultimately lose sight of the journey itself. The mother is going through an intense spiritual journey which involves letting go of control and listening to her own deep and powerful innate intelligence, which is always, always right. She must actually learn to reject educated intelligence (birthing classes, doctors, midwives and friends) when that inferior knowledge runs counter to the still small voice inside of her. This ability, to know what is innately right for you and your child and to be willing to stand up to outsiders who think otherwise, is an important step in the ongoing journey into parenthood. The work of pregnancy and childbirth is in honing that ability to know your deepest innate needs and abilities and to respect that knowledge above all others. This is what the pregnancy education and workshops should teach.

So, how does the father contribute to this model, of an deeply empowered, innately driven birth? How does the father both help the mother find her strongest and most centered seat of power? Does coaching her help her to find her own inner strength on an intuitive level? Does he really know her better than she knows herself? He is infinitely closer to the mother (on a deeply spiritual and innate level) than the other birth attendants and may be able to intuit some of her needs but he is still not *within her* in this process.

He also needs to be aware that he is on his own journey. This idea is completely overlooked in our culture. Men become fathers through their own unique and powerful journey. The father and mother need to use this process to better understand and respect each other in order to grow as parents and partners. For the father, birth is a learning and bonding opportunity as well. He is must also learn to give up control and accept the process that is occurring in its own unique way. He must also learn to reject the "educated" wisdom all around him and connect to his wife and child on a deeply intuitive and spiritual level. He should not thinking of how to better direct his partner in her journey but how to better connect and support her without undermining her critical act of climbing to the pinnacle of her feminine power.

What is the father's innate role in birth? How can we support men in preparing for this journey without undermining the critical power of their partners? How can men learn and grow through the act of just being there as physical and spiritual birth partners? Do men really just have to *do something* in order to feel okay? Is that enough justification for the roles we give men in birth today?

My husband and I have been having some intriguing conversations about his role(s) in our three births (one homebirth attended and two unassisted) and what HE learned about himself, about me, about being a parent, and about giving up control. It is so different than what we thought it would be. What do you think? What do your DPs think? I really want to know.
post #2 of 57
Chiromom,
Thanks for starting such a thought provoking thread!

Quote from Chiromom:The need to know birth and recognize and identify each stage and step along the way has been very damaging to the process itself.
Very true and I hadn't thought about it in relation to fathers learning about the birthing process. I always just figured the more they know the better. I found that it helped my husband to learn about my body and the birth process so he could be at ease with a midwife attended birth in a birth center, which I knew I wanted and was going to have, period. A relaxed husband makes for a more relaxed birthing. It does seem that guys want to know all the facts and risks and charts before making a decision on something. It's almost no use trying to get them to realize that we know our bodies!

And me telling him, for instance, about the saftey of out-of-hospital births doesn't seem to hit home like a "professional" saying the same thing (we do the same thing talking about the garden and weed control, so it's not specific to this topic!).

Maybe the answer lies in opening men up to trust their ladies, and encouraging the ladies to trust themselves. We womenfolk have greatly lost the art of trusting ourselves and our instincts. We hear so much bulls**t from every corner we can't *feel* ourselves think. BTW, I had a doula with me as well and no matter how connected you are to your partner, something about having another woman with you who knows what you're going through totally connects you to all those that took this sacred journey before you! I gained different strengths from my husband and from the women present at my birth into motherhood. Hope this makes sense! :LOL
post #3 of 57
Thread Starter 
I think the complication of having the father educate himself to the birth process is twofold:

1) He is going to learn it from a medical mindset. Pretty much everything out there (class or book learning) has a tone of: "a woman's body is perfectly designed to do this BUT BUT BUT and then all the emphasis is on how to track it and identify it and in my opinion impede it by the sheer arrogance of thinking you can ever really know someone else's body and its needs and the details of its job to do.

2) And it is such an important job! Women are so vulnerable in labor and then you add a husband who is directing (playing midwife) or not trusting her and .... you get my drift. Men don't really need something *to do* in labor. They should have done the work beforehand of learning to trust his partner's ability to listen to her body and baby and build communication and confidence in this area. Men need to learn to just *be* in labor just as a woman does. As someone said recently on another post: "It's like trying to *plan* a thunderstorm. You can do a bunch of stuff...but it doesn't really change anything. Thunderstorms are best experienced when they just are what they are: beautiful, magestic, scary in moments, and always bigger than anything else around them. It is nature's way.
post #4 of 57
Thread Starter 
I should say: I refer to husbands in my post but I would include any partner (not excluding other family situations) and am only gender specific (male) at times for brevity of communication.
post #5 of 57
I heart you. Big time. But you already know that.
post #6 of 57
I really want to join this discussion but I just came home from seeing Hotel Rwanda and have reached the capacity for thought that my brain has tonight. BUT (and there is always one isn't there) I am going to send the original post to my DH so we can begin this dialogue. Thanks chiromom for asking the hard questions and hopefully I'll be up for discussion later this week.

Jenne
post #7 of 57
Hmm, I agree with a lot of what you said in theory, but there's a lot that doesn't sit quite right with me.

First, I think the father's role in birth has to be dependant on the particular couple and the particular birth. The role is dynamic and can always be different depending on the needs of all involved.

Second, I don't think that all birth classes/learning are medically based (I mean as in how to practice obstetrics on a normal, healthy woman who doesn't require obstetrics by any means) except for the biological details of how the human body handles and reacts to birth. I think there is absolutely value to many women AND their partners in learning about the mechanics of birth, the what-ifs, etc. For ME that learning allowed me to trust the process and know - as I was going through it - that it was safe. It helped my otherwise medically trained dh as well. If I never knew anything (and I mean anything - including birth television style) I probably would have NOT trusted the process and potentially would have panicked. My grandmother grew up in such a time where sex & birth were not discussed. She literally had to ask the doctor while in labor with her first child (this was a homebirth) where the baby would come out. He told her "the same place it went in." She freaked out b/c THAT hurt so much, how on earth would it feel to have a baby come out? Then when I had my 2nd baby I found out after the fact that she had been up all night praying for me b/c she was horrified at the thought of me *having* to go through that and being at home and attended by midwives! See what I mean? I know this is only one example of how knowledge may have served some good, but she can't be the only person out there like that. Likewise I'm sure there are women who birth wonderfully and with confidence despite their lack of knowledge about birth.

Anyway, I think that for me the role of the father - my dh - in my births has been simply comfort. Comfort in having him there. I didn't require anything of him. I didn't want physical or verbal support. But I wanted and needed his presense. Because he's my partner. Because he's the father. Because he's the one I trust. Because he loves me. Because he wanted to be there. And because being a part of the process - even in this very hands-off way - bonded us as a couple even tighter which set the stage for us working together as parents and I believe helped him bond with his children.

But like I said, everyone's needs are different. This is how it's been so far for us. Sorry if this didn't make a ton of sense - very tired but I wanted to respond anyway.
post #8 of 57
I think honestly, most men...well my husband anyway...really wants to be involved with the birth in a big way...but like the posters touched on--- has no earthy idea what to do, how to do it, how to be of help and so on, thus creating an environment of helplessness, which sometimes leads to not being of any help at all--- then turns into resentment on the mama's end...it is a vicious cycle!!!!

I got the best piece of advice from a fellow online mama who told me to TELL MY HUSBAND WHAT I NEED.... simple as that. A lot of women (imo) sort of expect that their husband's/partners will be "there" for them however they want/need them and while I think a lot of men WANT to be... they don't know how!! I think many women feel kind of offended maybe too... having the attitude of "well he is my partner, I shouldn't HAVE to tell him how to comfort me!!"... and in a perfect world, no you wouldn't--- but given social conditioning, sexism, a culture of men who are terribly uninformed about pregnancy, taught not to show feelings or vulnerability...so on and so on down the line.... yeah, you need to tell them...

So to repeat what a couple of posters said... I feel it is very important that you inform your husband/partner medically what will be going on with your body (or close as possible if it is your first baby!!)...make him aware of the stages, what your body is doing, how transition can be, common things women may say in labor, what it might look like, etc... that is a big help...

Also, TELL HIM WHAT YOU NEED... don't just say general statements like "I need you to be there for me"... well he is thinking, yeah I want to be but what the heck does she mean???.... I told my husband specifically... both things like logistics (I will need hydration/cold and hot compresses/small bites to eat here and there maybe) ... as well as emotional things (it would be helpful if you said this, PLEASE DON'T say that... I may say this but I will probably mean this) ... and the result is that we BOTH feel empowered, I feel more confident and he feels he has the right "tools" to help me, comfort me, be there for me...

We have role played too... kind of like "what if I say this" "what if I scream for the hospital" (we are having a homebirth).... things like that...

It has to be said though, you have to BEGIN from a place where the husband/partner is really willing and wanting to be what you want/need..you can't take some jerk who doesn't give a hoot anyway and turn him into mister wonderful birth partner.... I am coming from the perspective of my husband ALREADY being a wonderful, loving, attentive, caring man who is very involved in this .... he just needs a bit of information and guidance with the actual birth ya know?

That is an important point I think!
post #9 of 57
This is something I have thought of often as well. I have a lovely DH who wants to be at the birth of our children. He wants to help.

But the thing is, he doesn't really. The only thing he did was rub my back and fetch me things. Those are nice. But I found myself becoming most annoyed with the way he was rubbing my back. I vociferously informed him of how he should do it -- that I needed more pressure right *THERE* and he tried a bit. But he has no innate sense of what it really meant. In fact, at one point, the MW took over and showed him what to do, and of course, she knew exactly what I needed.

Lest you think my DH is some sort of doof, he has a JD and a PhD -- it's not that he's not capable of understanding cerebrally, it's that he incapable of understanding on a deep, primal level.

I'm not making much sense -- it's early. My main point is that I don't believe in "husband coached childbirth".
post #10 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by love_homebirthing
I don't think that all birth classes/learning are medically based (I mean as in how to practice obstetrics on a normal, healthy woman who doesn't require obstetrics by any means) except for the biological details of how the human body handles and reacts to birth. I think there is absolutely value to many women AND their partners in learning about the mechanics of birth, the what-ifs, etc. For ME that learning allowed me to trust the process and know - as I was going through it - that it was safe. It helped my otherwise medically trained dh as well. If I never knew anything (and I mean anything - including birth television style) I probably would have NOT trusted the process and potentially would have panicked.
I do think that birth classes, in the process of explaining "the basic physiological process" of birth, still use a medical framework and a medical overlay on the process, no matter how subtle it may appear. For example, measuring (in cm) and tracking dilation is medical. Gauging station, monitoring mother and baby's heart rate, all medical. These are all things (or the results gathered from them) discussed in classes and then during the birth, the assumption is made that there is intrinsic value in doing those things.

I am not argueing whether or not they (as procedures in and of themselves) are merited, as that is another discussion and completely depends on your birth philosophy. I do assert that classes (and instruction books) teach things medically. That may have been a comfort to your husband since he is also medically trained. But for many women who are planning as natural of a birth as possible, they may not have considered how this training of their husband could undermine the process.


Quote:
Originally Posted by love_homebirthing
Anyway, I think that for me the role of the father - my dh - in my births has been simply comfort. Comfort in having him there. I didn't require anything of him. I didn't want physical or verbal support. But I wanted and needed his presense. Because he's my partner. Because he's the father. Because he's the one I trust. Because he loves me. Because he wanted to be there. And because being a part of the process - even in this very hands-off way - bonded us as a couple even tighter which set the stage for us working together as parents and I believe helped him bond with his child.
I have very similar feelings toward my husband in labor. I always start thinking I just want to be alone...and then I just want him there. I don't want him to *do* anything, but I *need* him. That's what works for us.
post #11 of 57
I honestly don't think men have any "innate" roll in birth.
"Husband coached childbirth" is just yet another way men try to take power away from women. Just like male OB's etc.. it's no different.
I really wish we could go back to the times of "The Red Tent" where womens power was honored, not feared.
post #12 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy
I got the best piece of advice from a fellow online mama who told me to TELL MY HUSBAND WHAT I NEED.... simple as that. A lot of women (imo) sort of expect that their husband's/partners will be "there" for them however they want/need them and while I think a lot of men WANT to be... they don't know how!!
This is the type of communication that allows the birth to progress organically. The mom tells the dad what she needs him to do or to stop doing. It cannot be planned out in advance in much detail because what worked in one birth may not be so great in another.

I famously told my husband during labor after blowing his nose: "DO NOT Make That Noise Again!" Otherwise my instructions have been, I will come and get you when I need you. Do NOTHING specific unless I ask you to. He is the best quiet companion and Gatorade fetcher known to man. I always feel very very close to him after birth and I am amazed by his ability to just give me so much support so silently and deeply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy
I feel it is very important that you inform your husband/partner medically what will be going on with your body (or close as possible if it is your first baby!!)...make him aware of the stages, what your body is doing, how transition can be, common things women may say in labor, what it might look like, etc... that is a big help...
If the partner isn't able to trust that you (the mother) innately knows how to do this or the midwife knows what is normal...then normalizing behavior and activity is useful. I still do not see any reason why he needs to *know* how dilated you are etc... But then again, I personally don't like to know those things for myself either. He can benefit from knowing what you know medically in labor, and we'll save discussing what you (or anyone) should know for another discussion.
post #13 of 57
While we did a Bradley style birth, my hubby was not coach, master or in charge. He was my support person, my keep the nurse at bay person and my amazing physical partner in a fabulous natural birth setting. We were a team.

The women in my family could have never supported me through a natural birth. They don't believe in its power for mom or its necessity for a healthy babe.

Please don't sell all men short on this. While some of my girlfriends are married to men who watch Tv during their labors, I never would found that acceptable. The father helps get the baby in there, he should be there to help get it out.
post #14 of 57
Last night in the shower I was really pondering this thread (well let's face it childbirth is a much easier thing to ponder than genocide...) and the concept of "trust". My problem is this: How can I expect my dh to trust in my ability to birth if that deep trust isn't there on a daily basis? And I mean that on a two-way street. Think of all the ways partners undermine each other on a really simple level. i.e. chrunchmama's post about gardening. If my dh says, "Sunflowers are shade plants" a fact I know in my heart of hearts to be false I cannot just sit by and let him "make that mistake". I have to take him to the garden store and find a horticulturist who can "set him straight". And this is just an example it could just as easily be reversed and about any subject matter, including birth. I am of the homebirth is best for me and my baby camp. DH while not thinking I'm a loon for thinking that has needed some information from me about it to become comfortable with the idea. He didn't just "trust" me straight off. So where does this lack of trust we have with our partners play into their role in birth? Does this undermine the natural procces of birth? Chiromom if you don't think these are pertinent points to your OP just let me know and I'll edit. I went ahead and sent DH your post (I hope that was okay) and am looking forward to his response.
Jenne
post #15 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiromom
I do think that birth classes, in the process of explaining "the basic physiological process" of birth, still use a medical framework and a medical overlay on the process, no matter how subtle it may appear. For example, measuring (in cm) and tracking dilation is medical. Gauging station, monitoring mother and baby's heart rate, all medical. These are all things (or the results gathered from them) discussed in classes and then during the birth, the assumption is made that there is intrinsic value in doing those things.

I am not argueing whether or not they (as procedures in and of themselves) are merited, as that is another discussion and completely depends on your birth philosophy. I do assert that classes (and instruction books) teach things medically. That may have been a comfort to your husband since he is also medically trained. But for many women who are planning as natural of a birth as possible, they may not have considered how this training of their husband could undermine the process.
I know you don't feel this pertains to the OP but I do so I'm gonna discuss it more. I understand what you're saying here but I feel you're missing my point. I don't quite agree that a normal biological function is "medical", per se. It's a fact that the cervix dilates during labor and eventually opens to 10cm to allow passage for the baby. You said that it may have been a comfort to my husband to learn the medical details of childbirth since he has been medically trained. What I meant was, it was a comfort to him to un-learn (through our childbirth class) how unimportant medicine is in normal labor, and how best to protect the environment of normal labor such as not being in a medical environment like the hospital, not getting vaginal exams (b/c - as we learned in class - dilation is no indicator of when the baby will be born or how far along labor actually is), etc. So basically the class served to undo some damage for him and to set us both at ease to know what to expect from me - how I'd likely act during different stages of labor, etc. We learned what the process involved (b/c whether you like it or not, there *is* a process) and that allowed us to let go of any "need to be saved" beliefs we might have had ingrained in us since birth and just let-go and birth. We also learned to recognize situations that would indicate a true problem and this helped us both feel comfortable during the birth as we understood that everything that was happening was completely normal and safe. Who's to say that I innately trusted myself in birth before that knowledge? I doubt I did.

I now teach childbirth classes and while I teach about the cervix opening to 10cm, I follow that a million times with "but dilation is no indication...." and comments such as that. I strongly urge them to re-think getting checked often or (ideally, IMO) at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmb123
I honestly don't think men have any "innate" roll in birth.
"Husband coached childbirth" is just yet another way men try to take power away from women. Just like male OB's etc.. it's no different.
I really wish we could go back to the times of "The Red Tent" where womens power was honored, not feared.
I'm soooooo tired of people saying that this is what "Husband coached childbirth" is about. Do you actually have any experience with the Bradley Method? Cuz I find that either someone took a class from or knew a very poor excuse for a Bradley teacher or they never actually learned what the Bradley Method is through classes of their own. I teach Bradley and I never NEVER would advocate something which took power out of the hands of women in labor (or anything for that matter). Bradley does so much for helping the husband to be at ease in a situation that most of them are afraid of. It helps him know that the way his partner is acting during birth is completely normal and not to be feared. It helps him learn techniques to help her cope. These are the same techniques taught and used by doulas. I find it so ironic that those who are opposed to husbands as coaches because they think this means some man is taking power away from a woman are okay with the doula's role in the birth. That is ALL these husbands are doing. Trying to learn doula techniques. Bradley doesn't teach the husband what to tell the woman to do, etc. Everything is in her power, always. But her partner learns how s/he can be involved and actually be a helpful, participating member in a process which involves them all. It *is* the birth of all of them, kwim? He's becoming the father as she's becoming the mother. Maybe they choose for him not to be there and that's fine. But if he wants to be, isn't it better to clue him in the best you can on something he can never fully understand? At least then he could be of *some* use, if only as a comforting presence in the room like my dh (and that was the perfect role for us - Bradley trained and all).
post #16 of 57
I have never told anyone this before, especially not DH, but with both of my births, I wished he hadn't been there. He was not a comfort. His fear (and blind, unquestioning acceptance of everything the doctors said) made things so much worse the first time and I'm sure played a role in my hesitant acceptance of all the hospital interventions that led to my cesarean. Bradley classes really helped tremendously the second time around, but he was still terrified. He never was the supportive labor coach, or any of those other wonderful things so many people talk about their partners being/doing during childbirth. He would not have been present at my 2nd DD's birth if DD1 hadn't fallen asleep right before I started pushing (I was secretly hoping he'd have to take care of her and leave me alone), or if it wouldn't have hurt his feelings for me to tell him I didn't want him there. My DH's presence at the births of our children was for his benefit, not mine. It was to make him feel like part of a process that he cannot ever be a part of. It was to make him feel helpful and useful and needed. In actuality he was neither helpful, nor useful, nor needed.

I think the father's role in childbirth is not innate. Some men might be good support during labor, but birth is for the womenfolk, always has been. Men don't get it, they never will. Some might be more intuitive and sensitive than others, but none of them will ever carry a baby or go through labor and childbirth, none of them will ever really understand what it's like.
post #17 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by stafl
I think the father's role in childbirth is not innate. Some men might be good support during labor, but birth is for the womenfolk, always has been. Men don't get it, they never will. Some might be more intuitive and sensitive than others, but none of them will ever carry a baby or go through labor and childbirth, none of them will ever really understand what it's like.
ITA. I'm not saying that no men should be at a birth, ever. But I don't think men make particularly good doulas. Birth is not instinctive to them. I can look at the face of a woman in labor and have a good idea of what she's thinking and feeling. It is a byproduct of having been through the experience and women's intuition. Men have neither. Training men to be doulas is a square peg, round hole issue for me.
post #18 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by love_homebirthing
Do you actually have any experience with the Bradley Method?
Yup, I actually do.. but I believe this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stafl
I think the father's role in childbirth is not innate. Some men might be good support during labor, but birth is for the womenfolk, always has been.

Quote:
Originally Posted by love_homebirthing
I find it so ironic that those who are opposed to husbands as coaches because they think this means some man is taking power away from a woman are okay with the doula's role in the birth.
Yes, because they are women. It has been proven time and time again that the presence of another woman has a tremendously positive effect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by love_homebirthing
Everything is in her power, always.
I don't think this is true in most male attended births. I think most women who have thier male parters at thier labor, have a big part of thier brain focused on thier man- not 100% into her own space, or "in her power" so to speak as she would be if she were among women.
post #19 of 57
Hhhmmmmmmm.

well for us, birth is the ultimate finale to an act of love-making. it is a time to connect and welcome the new little spirit... and, as in love-making, the best thing my partner does is make me feel relaxed, and listen to my needs. ok that's 2 things, sorry i'm rushed and NAK...

i can't imagine birth with anyone but my partner (eh-hem, no "womenfolk") because to me, that would be like bringing in other people to the bedroom while my partner and i are having a long, slow love-making session. it would just feel... wrong.

but i guess this is wheere feeling comfortable with, and completely trusting, one's partner come into play ~ you have to be able to tell them exactly what you need / want at any given moment, and trust that they will understand you and do it (even when you're communicating in grunts and inarticulate gestures).
post #20 of 57
:

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmb123
Yes, because they are women. It has been proven time and time again that the presence of another woman has a tremendously positive effect.
The reason why Dr. Bradley initially brought husbands into the delivery room was because he happened to witness the difference in the laboring woman when her husband would be near. She did remarkably better - not because she was faking it or something in front of her husband. Her pain level simply went down in his presence. Something about the intimate nature of their relationship and I'm sure not being left alone in a delivery room with just her doctor helped too. So I get what you're saying and I'm not denying that having another woman present at a birth would be a good thing for many, but so would having the woman's partner (I'm not talking male OB here).

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmb123
I don't think this is true in most male attended births. I think most women who have thier male parters at thier labor, have a big part of thier brain focused on thier man- not 100% into her own space, or "in her power" so to speak as she would be if she were among women.
Well I can't really say for a fact what would be true in most male attended births (and again I'm speaking only of the male partner, not physician). I can only say how it was for *me*. I didn't *need* my husband at the birth in order to give birth but I absolutely wanted him there and his presence was helpful and calming for me. I romanticise about the idea of being support by other women in labor but ultimately it is not for me. I need a very intimate, private setting. Just me and dh - perhaps our kids. No stranger, mw, or even other close female friend or family member will ever provide me with the kind of comfort I need to give birth unhindered. In fact, being in the presence of anyone but my dh makes me hold back somewhat. I witnessed this in my first birth (mw attended) vs. my second (unattended). But with him I don't need to hold back. It's comfortable.
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