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Including your partner from the beginning

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I do not want to offend anyone, but I have noticed :
1. alot of posts over the past couple of months from expectant Moms looking for help (sometimes at the last minute while in labor!) on how to UC.

2. some women expressing concern that their partner suddenly is not comfortable with the thought of UC, VERY LATE IN THE PREGNANCY.

This really disturbs me!

I personally feel that:

1. If you are considering UC, do yourself a favor and research everything you need to know and even things you think you may not need to know! Be prepared for anything! I began researching UC 2 years before I became pregnant. I wasn't even sure I wanted a baby, but I knew that if I did, it was my responsibility to know something about birth and UC is was definitely the right fit for me. I also began talking about it to my dh back then. After becoming pregnant, I insisted that he do the research that I had done so that he was able to dispell his own fears. I told him that if he didn't, I was happy to birth the baby by myself in the bath tub. He started reading that night!!

2. If you have a partner, UC is not something that you go into if they are begrudging the idea persisitently. For those of you women that do, (against your partner's wishes hoping they'll "come around and see the light"), you may be in for a rather stressful pregnancy because you lack the support necessary for a partner centered birth. Remember that UC means that you can do it ALONE. If you really feel that you need your partner, and he or she is either unwilling to do the research or support you, then stop fooling yourself. Get into a supportive situation, whether that means a midwife or someone else there that you trust. (This board is great, but don't soley rely on it to get you through your labor!) Whomever you find should be just as comfortable with the idea that you can do it and should also have read everything that you have read. Having someone at your birth is a position of responsibility that requires more than just "being there for you".

I know that not all women are in the ideal situation or choose when they get pregnant. That is why I am grateful for this supportive community. However, I think we owe it to ourselves to be realistic about our birth wishes so that we are bringing babies into the world safely and responsibly.

I get to put my money where my mouth is in about 5 weeks! My first UC should be due around then!!

Love to all!!

Jess
post #2 of 37
I agree. With regards to #1, it was the main reason why I chose to have a midwife this time. I just don't feel like I'm going to be able to be my own labor support, and I wasn't getting satisfactory answers to my fears. (Like, what will happen to me if I have to transfer?)

#2 is more sketchy. Some partners will say, "Oh, whatever you like honey, I want to be supportive", but when push comes to shove (no pun intended, heh), they freak out, and want a hospital birth or whatever. It's up to you to keep communication open with your partner, but the communication DOES go both ways.

As far as HOW to have a UC? Well, just don't go anywhere or call anyone. The baby will be born one way or another.
post #3 of 37
Well said! Hear, Hear!! PS I am home now and will get said videos tomorrow morning...hugs, Cathi
post #4 of 37

bs"d

I don't think UC is something that one needs to study and research, etc, in order to do successfully. Birth is normal. Birth happens, whether one is "prepared" or not. What is sufficient preparation so that you will feel that a couple is ready to UC? Do they both need to read midwifery texts? Memorize all the medical names of the various parts of the female reproductive system, the bones of the pelvis, rare complications? I don't think so. I have done a lot of reading myself, but that is because I enjoyed the subject matter. Any fears I've had were dispelled by my belief that birth is safe, not by looking at diagrams showing how to replace an inverted uterus.

As for my partner, he did not do the same reading that I did. Yet we have been discussing UC for the past several years. He has always been "on board", always been supportive. Still, last week, as I neared my due date, he asked, "Is it too late to get a midwife?" I think he will be just fine when the time comes to birth this baby. We talked and he told me that he was just nervous and excited because he sees now how close the birth is. Personally, I am not seeking a "partner centered birth" (I see myself more as a solo birther, but I plan to "go with the flow" when it happens), but I can see your point that if a woman does want that, it would be unreasonable to expect a partner opposed to UC to fill a supportive roll. I don't expect my partner to be "in a position of responsibility", although I am confident he will support me in any way I request. I don't need anyone to be responsible for my birth. He does know how to call emergency services, and how to get to the nearest hospital, but I'd hope any parent knows those things.

Birth is safe. Just because the rest of the world thinks one needs a degree to make it safe doesn't make it so. Obviously, support people and a certain level of knowledge about birth can make all the difference in a woman's birth experience, but each person makes the journey in his or her own way. There is nothing wrong with that.
post #5 of 37
Thread Starter 
Bineh, I have to slightly disagree. Yes, birth is going to happen. However, studying the process can only dispell any fears or misconceptions you may have. I'm not saying that one needs to memorize midwifery books. However, most first time parents or those used to the medical model of childbirth have no idea what happens during a birth. Learning the basics can only help. It is about getting rid of fear.

You state that your partner asked if if was still ok to get a midwife toward the end of your pregnancy. Was he ever really on the same wavelength with you? Men tend to be factual. Perhaps if he read up on the process more, rather than trusting your instincts, he would be more confident in your ability to birth this baby by yourself. It sounds like maybe your partner doesn't completely believe that birth is safe. Why?

I agree with you that birth is inherently safe. However, I hope that you are not suggesting that studying the birth process somehow takes away from it.

Jess
post #6 of 37

bs"d

No, I don't think learning about birth takes away from the inherently safe birth process. I do think it's patronizing to suggest that if someone hasn't done "enough" research that they cannot bring, "babies into the world safely and responsibly." As you noted, not everyone can be in your ideal situation at the time of birth. For example, some women are "risked out" of using a caregiver late in pregnancy. They plan to use a midwife or dr during the whole of their pregnancies, only to find that the caregiver will not give the care they need late in the pregnancy. Why shouldn't these people consider UC to have the birth experience they want? It seems to me that these women have made every responsible action, yet find themselves confronted with a less that ideal situation. No, they may not be prepared the same way that someone is who has planned UC from the beginning, but that does not mean UC cannot go well.

As far as my own personal situation, I will have to explain something about my culture to you for you to understand my dh's POV. My dh is not allowed into the room with me while I am birthing because of religious observance. He believes birth is safe and I don't think more reading would make that a stronger feeling for him. We had a mw-assisted homebirth with our first, and he was never fearful about birthing at home. He has told me over and over how he would never want a hospital birth and is more afraid of intervention than an "emergency" occurring. He is just concerned about me having the support I need, when he is not able to provide it due to our religious beliefs. I feel confident in solo birthing, and he just has to trust me on that. There really isn't any reading he can do to convince himself that I can birth our baby without him. He would probably like it if I had a female support person, but there isn't anyone I know that I would want in my birth space. So, that is my situation...

I can't imagine anyone considers UC and posts about it here without knowing the "basics" of birth. One can't anticipate every situation. I guess all the women with questions during labor are just slackers or something... I'm not saying you are really saying that, it's just that questions do come up. I have read posts from women, for example, who are waiting to birth the placenta hours after the birth. Most people probably don't expect that. Or maybe a woman is just trying to decide what route she would like to go as far as treating her tear and wants to hear other experiences. Does that mean these mothers are irresponsible or not realistic or something? Where else should a mama go when the vast majority of people will think she's crazy for her birth choices?
post #7 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by BinahYeteirah
I can't imagine anyone considers UC and posts about it here without knowing the "basics" of birth.
I was thinking about this and wanted to say that maybe you've noticed some gross ignorance around here that I haven't. I admit I've seen one or two threads and thought, "What? You don't know that already?” or "Gee, I would have looked that up already," : but I didn't get the impression that the person was totally ignorant of birth. I'm sure there are plenty of things I don't know about birth. I don't need someone else judging my qualifications, though, yk? I think the reason why education can be significant in dispelling fears is because of our culture of fear of birth. We fight the medical model by claiming the techinical knowledge for ourselves. It's not because reading and researching is an essential part of birth preparation universally. Think of other cultures and times when birth was accepted as normal and other types of preparation were considered essential. Spiritual preparation, rituals, other women telling the expectant mother about birth, etc. Today, we must read books, take classes, and familiarize ourselves with the medical model to be considered prepared for birth, even a UC apparently, or at least that's what society tells us.
post #8 of 37
It is my experience, being active on two other pregnancy boards (I moderate one, in fact), that women planning UC are amazingly more well-informed than women planning medicalized pregnancies. As for myself, I have been known to ask for opinions as part of my research. It doesn't mean I am not looking for the answer myself, it means I want help finding the answer, and perhaps another POV on the question itself. I'd like to think my nose isn't stuck so far up in the air that I assume every question comes from a position of utter ignorance.

As far as husbands/partners go...Really, the inner workings of my relationship aren't the business of anyone else, and I can't imagine but that the reverse is true as well. Far from getting my husband on board at the beginning, I made the decision we'd UC and told him. It never occurred to me that he should have input in the decision, and it likewise never occurred to him that he should! We are both of the mind that, as I am the one going through it, I am the one who decides where to go through it. Of course I have addressed his fears as they've been brought up and I will continue to do so, but that doesn't guarantee that he won't be worried about something completely new the day I go into labor.
post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sagesgirl
It is my experience, being active on two other pregnancy boards (I moderate one, in fact), that women planning UC are amazingly more well-informed than women planning medicalized pregnancies. As for myself, I have been known to ask for opinions as part of my research. It doesn't mean I am not looking for the answer myself, it means I want help finding the answer, and perhaps another POV on the question itself. I'd like to think my nose isn't stuck so far up in the air that I assume every question comes from a position of utter ignorance.

As far as husbands/partners go...Really, the inner workings of my relationship aren't the business of anyone else, and I can't imagine but that the reverse is true as well. Far from getting my husband on board at the beginning, I made the decision we'd UC and told him. It never occurred to me that he should have input in the decision, and it likewise never occurred to him that he should! We are both of the mind that, as I am the one going through it, I am the one who decides where to go through it. Of course I have addressed his fears as they've been brought up and I will continue to do so, but that doesn't guarantee that he won't be worried about something completely new the day I go into labor.
ITA with everything you wrote. I see women on the "Homebirth" forum all the time encouraging women to go against their partner's desire for a hospital birth and have a hb, because the pregnant mama wants one and it is her body, etc. Why shouldn't women considering UC have the same prerogative? Certainly one can avoid some types of stress by going along with one's partner's desires for the birth, but what about the stresses of having a birth that isn't what the birthing mother desires? I'm not sure I would UC if my partner were totally against it, because, ideally, I do want him to comfortable and I like to make decisions *with* him. I just consider myself lucky that my partner has always been into homebirth and the women who do not find that in their partnerships have only support from me!
post #10 of 37
Alright... just reading this thread makes me feel threatened to post ANYTHING about my husband having doubts. The judgment and anger really makes me feel like my sanctity has been breached. Where else in the world can we talk about the lack of support for UC without people pointing out that we should just listen to our partners and go to a midwife or OB?!?! Now, if we bring up that our partners (or ourselves or parents or friends) have doubts about UC -- we should look at it as a flaw in our involving them????

JessJoy may or may not be writing of my posts about my husband having cold feet, but I do take offense to her notion that partners balk because we have somehow not involved them from the beginning. You don't know the full story... really who does, except the woman posting? I am glad that JessJoy has a partner that is in step with her, but her not having the experience of assisting a partner through fears and reservations makes her judgement of others a bit off base. I could turn around and judge her to say that her partner must have fears and reservations but he is just not open enough with her to share them! But, that could be very wrong, too.

Whether it's over planing a UC late or having a balking parter, please, suspend judgement from anyone other than yourself. We never know the full story.
post #11 of 37
Thanks Arora.
post #12 of 37
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE=Arora The Explorer]Alright... just reading this thread makes me feel threatened to post ANYTHING about my husband having doubts. The judgment and anger really makes me feel like my sanctity has been breached.


Arora, I am not "judging in anger", nor was I thinking of you specifically when I wrote this. Email can be deceptive because we really have to take the time to write kindly so as not to come off as curt. If I did, I am sorry. : The only specific person I remember feeling alot of concern for was the woman who wrote the board asking what to do because she was in labor and decided to forego the hospital. That is not judgement. That is concern.

We should ALL be able to express our concerns on this board. My views are no less valid than yours. We have all probably dealt with women who were totally defensive about their birth choices when confronted with our own choice to UC. I am not looking to put people on the defense. I was looking to start a dialogue on how to handle UC when dealing with a less than enthusiastic partner because I noticed alot of women come to this forum for expressly that reason. It is an issue.

So what do you all think? From the few responses I'm reading, it seems like there is an attitude that because the woman is having the baby, then ultimately it is the woman's decision. Depending on the dynamics that you have with your partner, this may or may not work for you. Still, partner dynamics are something to consider when interested in partner centered UC, dyt? It can be a real test of the relationship. (Actually, what pregnancy isn't a test of the relationship? :LOL)

Another sticky issue that I'm curious about: Do most of you believe that you alone are completely responsible for your birth, even when you choose to let a partner experience it with you? I hate to play devil's advocate, but if you did choose to let a partner in on your birth and something did go wrong, wouldn't the partner definitely feel responsible for making sure things turned out safely? Is there anyone out there who had a UC completely against their partner's wishes? If so, I would be interested in hearing how that worked out.

Binah, you seemed to perceive my recommendation to "read books" as a purely medical suggestion and you really ran with it, prompting other responses based on a miscommunication. I also meant any books that would change one's consciousness toward the birth process. Many of these books exist that have nothing to do with medical procedure.

In my original post, I stated that I realize that not all women are in an ideal situation. Thinking harder about it, I actually don't believe there is such a thing as an ideal situation. I am certainly NOT in an ideal situation. That is why I feel that working on partner dynamics is important.

Finally, I must apologize for being a quadruple Aries! My husband was rolling his eyes after reading my post. "Aren't you being a little harsh?" he asked. Thank the goddess for my Earthy Virgo dh and all of you ladies on the board.
Yes, sometimes my damned fire burns too hot! Glad I'm planning a water birth!

Jess
post #13 of 37
LOL...My dh (now ex)wasn't really in sync with my decision to UC, but he knew well and why I would NEVER have gone to the local hospital for something I could handle by myself...he basically did what I told him to do, which was catch. Literally....that is all I needed him for. Oh, and the conception. That helped...anyway,It was mostly my decision, and I knew everything would be OK. There were many issues he had to learn to trust me on, and that was one of them....
post #14 of 37
JessJoy, I don't know which woman you are concerned about, the one who:

Quote:
Originally Posted by JessJoy
. . . was the woman who wrote the board asking what to do because she was in labor and decided to forego the hospital. That is not judgement. That is concern.
Perhaps if you were feeling concern, you sent that woman an email personally? Because concern is real, but judgment might lead one to post questions like your OP here on the forum...

I agree with Binah, that you cannot know all the facts behind any woman's post, especially here in the UC forum. And I agree with your DH, you were being harsh.

Personally, and take this with a grain of salt because I just birthed my baby one week ago, I feel that I was incredibly well-informed and confident and ready for my birth. And of course the unexpected happened, and then I needed opinions and advice from the mamas and birth attendants here at MDC. Even if nothing helped, reading supportive words from other UC mamas helped me get through my difficult labor. The mamas here are truly my birth support community, and that is OK. It does not indicate that anything went wrong or that I shouldn't have had or planned a UC. Asking for what I needed where I could find it when i needed it indicates I know exactly what my needs are, and that I am/was ready for a UC. kwim?
post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skim
Even if nothing helped, reading supportive words from other UC mamas helped me get through my difficult labor. The mamas here are truly my birth support community, and that is OK. It does not indicate that anything went wrong or that I shouldn't have had or planned a UC. Asking for what I needed where I could find it when i needed it indicates I know exactly what my needs are, and that I am/was ready for a UC. kwim?

ITA.

Haven't ever HAD a baby yet, but so far, through my research of birth and UC, this is the only place where I could really organize my thoughts. Talking to mamas here encouraged me that birth is safe, when I had been going along with what society was telling me--the opposite. So for my own needs, I knew I'd have to do lots of reading to really step back from what "I knew" about birth (that its painful, probably need drugs, and would be in a hospital, since a homebirth was out of my league, first baby...etc etc etc). Other's may have had more knowledge of birth than I did and would not feel such a need to do extensive research/reading. When I think of women in cultures where birth is so normal, and they grew up knowing that, seeing women that they knew give birth here and there, in all varieties, I only wish that I didn't have our societies preconceptions and misconceptions.
So once I would read from various sources about something, I would come back here and post whatever concern or question I still had, because there always seems to be a variety of responses, suggestions, and support that I can come to a conclusion from.
As for my partner, I was doing this research knowing that when I would finally bring it up to him, I'd have a lot of explaining to do. But it never occured to me that he had to totally be on the same wavelength that I was. I knew I wanted to birth this baby without a dr. or midwife, and a sudden deep inner relaxation occured when i decided so!
I have no doubt that he will continue to have doubts/fears/questions as he hasn't done all that I have to dispell those things. But that won't change my decision. I made it very clear to him that my #1 priority during labor and birth would be to RELAX and feel comfortable, whatever that took. And if he was going to be all antsy, afraid, and negative, then I simply wouldn't be able to have him around me.
I believe all women have different needs and desires, all with an extreme variety of situations, and as goes with the philosophy of UC, they must make their own instinctual decisions about their individual situations, regardless if that seems "right" to someone else or not.

1 more thing---Yes, it is stressful when I feel alone and distant from my partner about this pregnancy in general, but I've seen that through many different pregnancies of other women, regardless of where/how they were going to give birth---and I would not trade the comfort of my partner's content for the stress and fear of doing something that I am not totally comfortable with.
(did that make sense?? )
post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by JessJoy
Arora, I am not "judging in anger", nor was I thinking of you specifically when I wrote this. Email can be deceptive because we really have to take the time to write kindly so as not to come off as curt. If I did, I am sorry.
It did seem like anger and judgment to me when I read your post. And, yes electronic words often do sound more harsh reading it than hearing it said to us. It's really important for me to remember that there aren't any nonverbals helping the message along to sound less angry -- when I read "This really disturbs me!" To me, the exclamation and the use of "really disturbs" sounds like anger to me. And, that just continued through the whole post. So, thank you for explaining where you're coming from a little more in depth. I didn't realize that you really wanted a dialog about involving partners and how to support people who discover UC late in pregnancy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JessJoy
So what do you all think? From the few responses I'm reading, it seems like there is an attitude that because the woman is having the baby, then ultimately it is the woman's decision.
I think this varies depending on who you ask. There are so many shades of gray when it comes to partners. Some see it only in black or white -- I birth therefore partner has no say or My husband heads our family and therefore I will do as he suggests. But, I really think a lot of us are the shades of gray in between there. My DH knows that I will not birth in the hospital (that's just not negotiable... unless there is an actual emergency). At the same time, I do not feel comfortable in the relationship that I have willing created with him to go against his will when it comes to something like UC. I value his support during my labor and delivery. I LOVE to birth with him. If choosing UC meant not birthing with him, then I wouldn't do it. Having his support beside me is much more important to me than having a UC. I would not want to deny him of one of the greatest pleasures that he and I have experienced as a couple -- bringing our children into the world. That's just how I feel. I know that there are others who feel much differently & I respect how they feel.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JessJoy
Another sticky issue that I'm curious about: Do most of you believe that you alone are completely responsible for your birth, even when you choose to let a partner experience it with you?
I believe that we together are responsible. I believe that I have the most responsibility though, because it is what I want and what I advocate for. It is my job to tune in with my body and know what needs to be done. My DH just needs to be a gopher and a supporter (physically/mentally/spiritually) in the process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JessJoy
That is why I feel that working on partner dynamics is important.
Listening to my husband's concerns and assisting him through them is part of working on partner dynamics. I am much happier with my DH telling me what his concerns are and clearly saying, "I do not want to have a UC now" than to have him bury down those thoughts and feelings. This is true communication at work. His being able to voice his concerns has created a new space for us that previously we weren't going.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JessJoy
Yes, sometimes my damned fire burns too hot! Glad I'm planning a water birth!
:
Would it surprise you that I'm pretty much totally made up of Water???
post #17 of 37
Am I the only one who DIDN'T feel offended by JessJoy post.

I think some of you are reading into it too far. :
post #18 of 37
I wasn't. I just thought she was asking a question....:
post #19 of 37

bs"d

I wouldn't have said I was offended either, but then I'm rarely offended by things, especially thing I read in posts online. I just felt that there were some strong ideas expressed in JessJoy's post that should be challenged. From reading her first post, yes, I did notice what seemed to be judgment, as she was "disturbed" (!) by others who asked questions in labor or whose partners expressed doubts about UC late in the pregnancy. I didn't think she was asking any questions-- I don't think there's one question mark in her whole post!
post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by JessJoy
So what do you all think? From the few responses I'm reading, it seems like there is an attitude that because the woman is having the baby, then ultimately it is the woman's decision. Depending on the dynamics that you have with your partner, this may or may not work for you. Still, partner dynamics are something to consider when interested in partner centered UC, dyt? It can be a real test of the relationship. (Actually, what pregnancy isn't a test of the relationship? :LOL)

Another sticky issue that I'm curious about: Do most of you believe that you alone are completely responsible for your birth, even when you choose to let a partner experience it with you? I hate to play devil's advocate, but if you did choose to let a partner in on your birth and something did go wrong, wouldn't the partner definitely feel responsible for making sure things turned out safely? Is there anyone out there who had a UC completely against their partner's wishes? If so, I would be interested in hearing how that worked out.

Binah, you seemed to perceive my recommendation to "read books" as a purely medical suggestion and you really ran with it, prompting other responses based on a miscommunication. I also meant any books that would change one's consciousness toward the birth process. Many of these books exist that have nothing to do with medical procedure.
I do think a woman's opinion weighs more heavily in birth decisions, because she is the one giving birth. Ideally, a couple would make these decisions together. Each couple's relationship will have a different dynamic, as you write.

As far as responsibility, yes, I do think my partner will feel some sense of responsibility about our birth outcome. I think that's true no matter where or how one births, although I'm sure attended birthers could find others to blame for any bad outcomes more easily. Perhaps my response was based on a misunderstanding, but it seemed to me that you were saying that because being at the birth is a "position of responsibility", one's partner, "should be just as comfortable with the idea that you can do it and should also have read everything that you have read. Having someone at your birth... requires more than just "being there for you"." If one's partner did not live up to these expectations, it seemed to me that you were saying that that UCing would be irresponsible and to get another support person. I don't think of my husband's role as "making sure things turn out safely", that to me sounds like something a medical professional would do. I *just* want him to "be there for me". I don't think he needs to read anything to do that, although he has read a few things.

I look forward to further discussion.
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