Originally Posted by phoebemommy
Though it does remind me of the stories in Ina May's Spiritual Midwifery where the father wasn't bringing good juice in the room and was screwing up the mother's vibes, thereby slowing her down.
Well again, what I got from that was that it was the birth attendants (the midwives) who were creating that situation. In one story ("Susan's Birth") the mother and father are in great spirits when Ina May arrives, sitting together on the bed: "his blue eyes twinkled and his grin went from ear to ear." The mother "smiled until her nose wrinkled" and her pupils were dilated, a sign of relaxation and sex hormones being released in the body. So apparently they were doing well with each other up to that point.
Ina May then took the father's place on the bed and started rubbing the mother's legs and belly and did a cervical check. She "could tell by how hard it was to get a good hold of her thigh muscles that she was going to have to relax quite a bit to let her baby out. Her legs began to shake and get rigid..."
Then, "they both began to look worried. Linda was obviously wishing that there was some way she could get out of this situation she found herself in. I stationed William on one side of Linda and had him rub one of her legs while I sat across from him, rubbed the other leg and talked to Linda about what she could change in herself that would make her better able to handle her labor. The first change she could make, I told her, would be to decide to give up being fat[...] Linda was trying hard not to complain but couldn't hold still enough during a rush to stay relaxed. I suggested that she and William switch positions and that she rub his legs for a while [...] it looked to me like she was squeezing his bare legs harder with each rush and not noticing that she was pinching and pulling hairs. It was interesting to me to see that William and Linda, although they obviously loved each other, weren't very easy about communicating with each other."
Ina May then had Linda start singing, in the hopes that it would relax her. It did, but "William didn't seem to have felt the change in the vibrations that everyone else [including four
other midwives] had -- he had been strumming the chords to the song on his guitar, and he was trying so hard not to miss a chord that he didn't notice what a pure place his wife was in while she was singing... she looked at William, wanting to know if he had felt the same thing she had. He got huffy with Linda for questioning him, and when Margaret and I said something to him about being angry, he got angrier." This is when Ina May had him leave.
Now, c'mon. A husband and wife have this perfectly sweet intimate thing going. It's working for them. Then somebody comes in, breaks them apart, and takes over, directing each of them how to relate to each other and how to touch each other. It's not what they would have been doing naturally, so they're not doing it well and therefore it's making things worse. They're self-conscious, especially probably the husband, being surrounded now by five women who are telling him how to be with his wife and evaluating his performance. Ina May is meanwhile making judgements about them and they've got to be aware of that, especially in such an emotionally charged and sensitive atmosphere.
Ina May finally hits on something to help the mother relax, but the father still feels outside of it. The mother looks to him, hoping to see him inside again too, but he isn't. He's been put on the spot, and he's embarrassed and angry to now be outside when he was so recently in. Not to mention that Ina May has the mother's trust: even though she interrupted the flow of energy, putting her fingers up the mother's vagina, ordering people around, and casting her critical eye on the mother and father, no one is of a mind to consider that this might have thrown the labor off. So when she suggests something that helps the mother relax, well she's saved the day.
So, you know, there's two sides to every story. I have no doubt that my first midwife -- who practiced very similarly to Ina May -- felt my husband to be equally worthless. He didn't get angry, but he was very unhappy and worried. But looking back, I can see how her taking over robbed him of his ability to support me. She was the "expert", and we had hired her, essentially, to do this. We just didn't realize then the psychological effect it would have on us as a couple. We didn't feel comfortable being with each other as we usually are. We weren't being naturally physical and relating unselfconsciously to each other. We were literally incapable of doing so in that environment. Does that mean we weren't good at communicating with each other? No. It did mean that we were inhibited by the midwife's presence, and afraid to do anything she might not approve of.
Fast forward to my last birth in which there was no one to observe us or judge us or tell us what to do. He was fantastic
, totally in it with me. Hearing that, my first midwife might say, "well, he learned how to be with you in birth." Not so. He always knew, he just finally felt free to be that way.