what do birthing mothers want? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 12-19-2003, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
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(hoping this is the right forum)

so i'm about to become a dad and am very excited. but, to tell the truth, i am also rather apprehensive. to be honest the whole birth part scares the bejeesus out of me...

we live in australia and are lucky enough to have access to an excellent birthing centre with wonderful midwives and i am very excited about being present at the birth of our child. however there is also a part of me that wishes for the "good old days" when expectant fathers waited down the pub or in the hospital corridor nervously smoking a cigarette.

you see i keep reading stories of other fathers' experiences at birth and the overwhelming theme seems to be "you have no idea how hard it is to stand by and see the person you love so much going through such excruciating pain". and i am not looking forward to that i can tell you.

i will have, and have been havving, chats with my wife about what she thinks she'll need from me during the birth, but she's never done this before either.

so i am wondering if anyone who's been through all of this giving birth business could give me some ideas? what was it that your birth partner/support person(s) did or said that really helped you through it? or what do you wish they'd done that they didn't? what would you do differently next time? was there one thing in particular that you could not have done without?

and so on.

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#2 of 7 Old 12-19-2003, 01:20 PM
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what was it that your birth partner/support person(s) did or said that really helped you through it? or what do you wish they'd done that they didn't? what would you do differently next time? was there one thing in particular that you could not have done without?

I am a mother,and my partner witnessed the birth of his son in August 2002. We are preparing to do it all over again in June!

Karl (dh) may have been somewhat reluctant in the first months of my pregnancy- everything was unknown... his male friends joked about how he didnt 'want to see a baby come out of there' and other crude things. at one point i remember his saying he would be there,but behind me holding my hand and not looking. :LOL

what transformed this man into the one who reached down and caught his son as he came out of me? Time, getting to know his son through the walls of my tummy. We developed confidence. We were around new parents,and saw new babies,and we found a doula who was also confident in us.

Karl was my greatest support in labor. By the time the baby was ready,he knew everything i dreamed of about the birth, and was totally on my side to protect me (we had a hospital birth) he realized i would be in a lot of pain, and i do think that was the hardest part for him, There was a time during transition when all i could say,over and over, was : "Help me, Help me!" and he couldnt help. but he *did* help, he was there with me every moment just being there with me. i hung on his arm in the shower and though he diodnt know it then, he was helping me. by not leaving me alone in the most intense moments of my life.

afterwards,he was the one who repeated the birth story from an outside view. i cherish his memory of it.

i think being there and supporting your woman is key to the bonding you will experience with your child. there is nothing like birth to transform you- mother or father.

listen to her -what does she want in this birth? you can help make it happen. at the same time, you will have your own experience of becoming a father, and i think youll find she will respect that. having a doula was great fvor us, so that even though karl was a huge support for me, he didnt have to feellike the only one there who could help. and he got to reserve some of his energy for his birth as a father. not having the benefits of the amazing endorphins a woman gets during and after the birth, i think karl was more exhausted than i was after wards.

this time we are birthing at home, and there is no question that karl with be a huge part of the birth just as he was a huge part of the conception. and even though we are second time parents,we are having the same doula, too.

karl helped last time for me to attain the birth i wanted,while also bearing witness to it and preserving the tale for me. this time i will be in my own home and dont need protection, but he will still be my best friend witnessing one of the most momentous occaisions of our lives!

birth is intense. it can be painful, physically and emotionally,just like any transformation in life. but remember she didnt break her leg- her body is doing the work it was born to do. help her accept it, not deny it- i think that is the best anyone can do for a mother.


Hi, I'm Tabitha. I'm a homeschooling mother of five: ds (13) dd (11) ds (9) ds (7) and dd (2) Find me at
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#3 of 7 Old 12-19-2003, 04:58 PM
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I think it's great that you're asking this question, and I think your concern is a good indication that you're going to do just fine.

What helped me personally was that my dh was directing my breathing (before the pushing stage). Every time I had a contraction, he would say in my ear, "In, 2, 3, 4, Out, 2, 3, 4" until it was over. Yes, I could have done it on my own, but having his voice to focus on helped me to not concentrate on the pain. When I describe it now it sounds like it would be annoying, but at the time it helped beyond belief. And that's not something I knew about before it happened--I mean, I didn't say to him before labor, "Would you please count in my ear?" He just started doing it and it turned out to be nice for me.

My point is, what works for one person might not work for another, and you probably won't know what's going to be helpful until you're in the situation, but just be there for your wife and try different things until you hit on something that helps to soothe her and support her. She's lucky to have such a caring husband.
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#4 of 7 Old 12-19-2003, 10:53 PM
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My DH was never worried for me, he was always calm and down to business, giving off this energy like "yeah its hard, but your fine, I'm fine, babies fine, its all fine" and that meant so much to me. That unworried support was so important because it validated what I knew - that baby and I were fine, it was hardest thing I ever had to do but I *was capable* and he was there to push with all his might on the small of my back while I did - who said labour isn't hard physical work for dads? DH couldn't lift his arms the next day....
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#5 of 7 Old 12-19-2003, 10:58 PM
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Hey, wait a sec - I know you, and your wife, and will no doubt be seeing you shortly! sit down with DH over a beer next week and let him set you straight :-). I can't believe I pointed you in this direction and then end up being one of the first ones to reply to your thread!! If I wasn't holding a sleeping baby I would laughing to tears....
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#6 of 7 Old 12-20-2003, 12:43 AM
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"what was it that your birth partner/support person(s) did or said that really helped you through it?"

My husband did exactly what I wanted him to do -- he was simply there by my side, ready to do what I asked.

In early to mid-labor I wanted him to be calm, glad, affectionate. I wanted to see in his eyes that he was excited, that he was in love with me. I wanted his fully attention to be focused on me. I wanted him to make private jokes. I wanted to make love. I wanted to dance and be held in his arms.

Later, I wanted him to be quiet and still. I didn't want much interaction or support, but when I did want it, I wanted it from him, no one else. So it was important that he simply be there and wait patiently for my cues. I actually would have been happy to be completely alone for the birth itself, but we both wanted him to witness it.
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#7 of 7 Old 12-20-2003, 03:25 PM
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The best thing my husband did for our first birth was becoming educated about NORMAL birth. He was there in every sense of the word. Hearing him tell the midwife that he thought I was in transition was such a gift to me because it was just at the point when I thought "I can't do this". Those simple words made me realize that the hardest part was almost over. And he let me squeeze the heck out of his arm

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