Anyone's Husband/Partner NOT there for the Birth? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-16-2011, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm planning a homebirth and my husband is not comfortable being there during the labor or birth. He thinks that with a midwife, her assistant, and a doula that I will have everyone I need and he said that he'll just wait on the porch :) I don't know whether I should keep bugging him to be there or if I should just let it go and hire a doula and leave it open for him to change his mind. If I'm being honest, he wasn't very helpful during my labor with our son and was just nervous the whole time. I feel kind of compelled to have him there because "that's what husbands are supposed to do" but on the other hand, I want to be well supported and he may not be the person for that particular job. I know it doesn't mean that he loves me or the baby less, birth stuff just freaks him out.

 

Has anyone dealt with this before? How did your labor/birth go without your partner there?

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Old 05-16-2011, 09:10 PM
 
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You don't say how far along you are but this is part of the reason childbirth classes like Bradley are so awesome. They teach a dad what to do and what's normal.. how to support you and when to speak up.


I can't imagine giving birth without my hubby by my side. I hope you can get him to come around.
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:48 PM
 
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My dh was not in the room for 2 of our three births; because he wasn't allowed to be.  DS#1 (second birth) was an emergency c-section (and yes it was an emergency, my kiddo was dieing) and so was under general - thus no dad.  Second was a planned VBAC that went to a C out of my fear.  However it was almost 13 years ago before hospital operating rooms were latex free.  And DH is really allergic to latex, so I was alone.  For my first (totally natural vaginal hospital birth) he was pretty worthless anyway so yeah I'm bitter but what can I do after the fact, really?

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Old 05-17-2011, 12:51 PM
 
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I highly doubt DH will be there for this baby's birth. I am fine with it and am the one saying that I don't want him there. I've birthed 3 previous times with him there and honestly, he is worthless to me. He always freaks out, isn't supportive, I end up birthing while telling him it is ok and calming him down.  eyesroll.gif He hasn't been very supportive this pg and it wasn't long ago that I had a thought that I didn't want him there anyway, birth isn't exciting for him, he marks DS's birth as the worst day of his life because it was just us. I usually hire a MW just for him, not for me, their main role is to keep him calm! It never had crossed my mind previously not to have him there but now that I have really ben thinking about it, it really hasn't served a great purpose. He isn't into catching the baby or anything, birth scares him, and I'd be better off without someone in the room giving off a negative vibe. 


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Old 05-19-2011, 11:14 AM
 
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My dh was there for both of my births, but he would have been happy to miss them.  He's just not really "in to birth" the way some people are.  He says it just doesn't do it for him.  He was there because I wanted him to be, but in hindsight I maybe should have let him do his thing somewhere else, especially for the second birth -- after he'd done it once and knew he was right that he didn't really enjoy being in the room.  I did like having him there and seeing him while I was laboring, but I would have done just fine with my other support people -- they are the ones who really actively helped me.  Although it's the norm here to have the father present, I think it is also totally normal and fine to just have women and/or birth professionals there.  If I were having another baby, I think I would honor dh's wishes and not make him be there.  Especially now that we have two kids who need to be cared for ; )

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Old 05-19-2011, 11:31 AM
 
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I'm not letting my DH near me for the birth-- he is a terrible & disappointing labor partner.  My last two births did not include him and it was so much more peaceful.  There have been long periods in history where fathers were not included in the birth and some cultures are still that way.  I see no problem with the father not being present either through their own wishes or the wishes of the mother. 

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Old 05-19-2011, 11:04 PM
 
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My DH was great during labor, but did not wish to be there for the pushing phase or birth. I was A-OK with that. He waited in the next room both times, and came in when he heard the first cry. He refused to even cut the cord- grossed him out, so I cut it myself.

 

Did not affect bonding at all- in fact, he changed almost 100% of the newborn diapers and has been more involved from Day 1 than any other dad I know. luxlove.gif


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Old 05-20-2011, 12:31 AM
 
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My DH was there for my first (a c/s) and it was helpful to have him there for support and because he could keep track of the baby. With my 2nd (HBAC), I didn't mind having him there and he did what I asked him to do (press on my back or whatever) but I also had a doula and didn't feel I really needed him for labor support. With my 3rd (also HBAC), he stayed in the other room with ds2 who was only 14 months at the time and who we felt was too little to send off to a friend for an indeterminate amount of time. When I was pushing and the baby was crowning, my doula asked if she should go get him and I was surprised I said no. As soon as dd was born, however, I wanted him and so my doula switched with him and played with ds2 while DH met our daughter. 

 

I think some husbands are likely fantastic in labor and birth. I think for many, however, the role of "labor coach" has been thrust upon them when, historically and culturally, it hasn't been their traditional role. 

 

I also should add that I see labor and delivery as my own process and I'm, for better or worse, a "if you want it done right, do it yourself" kind of person, so maybe this has more to do with me than with DH...


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Old 05-20-2011, 12:45 AM
 
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DH was present for DS' birth, but I seriously considered having him not be there, but he really wanted to be so and he turned out to be a fantastic labor partner.


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Old 05-20-2011, 04:46 AM
 
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Michel Odent has written at least one article about father's not being present during labour and birth if you wanted to read anything about it.


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Old 05-20-2011, 04:37 PM
 
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I don't have much patience for husbands who don't want to be there because birth "isn't their thing" or they'd get bored/feel uncomfortable/miss the Super Bowl. :p I mean, if your wife is GOING THROUGH LABOUR and you're the one who got her pregnant, isn't sticking around and helping out the decent thing to do? I can understand if the guy has an actual phobia of blood or some kind of PTSD that means attending labour will be hellish for him... but otherwise, I incline more to the "suck it up, buttercup" perspective. If a guy knows he's a bad communicator, bad at standing up for his wife's wishes, bad at showing affection etc, then he should use pregnancy as a time to sort his issues out so he will be a good labour partner, not just decide to opt out.

 

From the woman's perspective, though, a labouring mother should not have to deal with any unnecessary stress caused by a disinterested, freaking-out or nervous partner. Personally I'd feel a bit bad about kicking DH out from seeing his baby born (but then, he isn't a terrible labour partner, and I know seeing his baby born is important to him); but I think it can be a valid choice for some women, especially if it means the difference between a smooth vaginal delivery and a failure to progress/C-section/epidural fiasco caused by stress and sphincter law.... interventions which, after all, affect his baby too.


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Old 05-20-2011, 07:20 PM
 
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I don't have much patience for husbands who don't want to be there because birth "isn't their thing" or they'd get bored/feel uncomfortable/miss the Super Bowl. :p I mean, if your wife is GOING THROUGH LABOUR and you're the one who got her pregnant, isn't sticking around and helping out the decent thing to do? I can understand if the guy has an actual phobia of blood or some kind of PTSD that means attending labour will be hellish for him... but otherwise, I incline more to the "suck it up, buttercup" perspective. If a guy knows he's a bad communicator, bad at standing up for his wife's wishes, bad at showing affection etc, then he should use pregnancy as a time to sort his issues out so he will be a good labour partner, not just decide to opt out.


I agree with you... I was just trying to be diplomatic before.
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:53 PM
 
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I don't have much patience for husbands who don't want to be there because birth "isn't their thing" or they'd get bored/feel uncomfortable/miss the Super Bowl. :p I mean, if your wife is GOING THROUGH LABOUR and you're the one who got her pregnant, isn't sticking around and helping out the decent thing to do? I can understand if the guy has an actual phobia of blood or some kind of PTSD that means attending labour will be hellish for him... but otherwise, I incline more to the "suck it up, buttercup" perspective. If a guy knows he's a bad communicator, bad at standing up for his wife's wishes, bad at showing affection etc, then he should use pregnancy as a time to sort his issues out so he will be a good labour partner, not just decide to opt out.

 

From the woman's perspective, though, a labouring mother should not have to deal with any unnecessary stress caused by a disinterested, freaking-out or nervous partner. Personally I'd feel a bit bad about kicking DH out from seeing his baby born (but then, he isn't a terrible labour partner, and I know seeing his baby born is important to him); but I think it can be a valid choice for some women, especially if it means the difference between a smooth vaginal delivery and a failure to progress/C-section/epidural fiasco caused by stress and sphincter law.... interventions which, after all, affect his baby too.


Yeah, I get your point.  And, I actually used to think this way.  Now I don't.  I totally require my husband to help and support me, and if there were a medical emergency (of any sort at any time) I would expect him to be at my side supporting, protecting, defending, helping, etc.

 

However, my births were not medical emergencies, and I had all the help, support, and advocates I needed in other people.  I really think the second time I should have told dh he could leave the room.  If it is not important to him to see the birth, and if it is uncomfortable for him to watch, why push him to do it?  I mean, if I don't need him there, and he doesn't feel the need to be there, then it's just to conform with what I thought SHOULD happen at a birth -- or what people I know and love think should happen at a birth -- or what I think people whose views on birth are similar to mine think should happen at a birth.  Not a good enough reason for me.

 

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Old 05-21-2011, 08:54 AM
 
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Sunnygir1, that's pretty much my thoughts on the subject. It would have been different if it had been really important to me for him to be there the moment the baby emerged, but it really wasn't, at least not for us. I felt very well supported by everyone else in the room, so when he felt the need to step out in the last few minutes out of the hours and hours that he had supported me in labor, it wasn't a big deal.

 

Of course, if this WERE a really important thing to me, I would have expected him to respect that and be there supporting me (and maybe close his eyes or something if he felt overwhelmed). I do feel like mom's wishes generally should trump any discomfort of dad's, unless he has a bona fide phobia or something.


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Old 05-21-2011, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I get your point.  And, I actually used to think this way.  Now I don't.  I totally require my husband to help and support me, and if there were a medical emergency (of any sort at any time) I would expect him to be at my side supporting, protecting, defending, helping, etc.

 


I really agree with this part. We talked more about what "I don't want to be there for the birth" means, and he said he would rather help take care of our other two kids, get food/water/other supplies, and just be in the next room available to help if I need him, coming in after the baby is born. This to me, and the fact that he is supportive of homebirth and having a doula, IS supporting me. I also know that in a medical emergency he wold be right by my side in a heartbeat.

 

I agree with those who said that there is a lot of cultural pressure for our husbands to be our labor coaches, tied to our sides at all times, or they're "bad" husbands. The flip side of this is I somehow feel bad for not insisting he conform to a role that I'm not really sure I want him in! He is from another country where men being present at birth is really abnormal, and seeing how he was at the last birth, I think that his idea of the support he can offer will probably be more helpful than me insisting he follow me around for hours on end. 

 

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Old 05-21-2011, 03:27 PM
 
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However, my births were not medical emergencies, and I had all the help, support, and advocates I needed in other people.  I really think the second time I should have told dh he could leave the room.  If it is not important to him to see the birth, and if it is uncomfortable for him to watch, why push him to do it?  I mean, if I don't need him there, and he doesn't feel the need to be there, then it's just to conform with what I thought SHOULD happen at a birth -- or what people I know and love think should happen at a birth -- or what I think people whose views on birth are similar to mine think should happen at a birth.  Not a good enough reason for me.

Oh, yeah, definitely. You have a ton of historical precedent on your side in terms of not having him there, anyway! My post was thinking more along the lines of women who really wanted/needed the labour support from their partner specifically. Myself, I'm not the kind of person who's comfortable with having my sister or mother or friend present at my births, and I don't even really fancy the idea of a doula - so if I want someone to massage my back or give me sips of water, DH is IT, you know? And while that's not necessary in a medical-emergency-type way, I certainly think it's the least he can do. :p I made him step out of his comfort zone last time - he's Aspie and not to keen on getting dirty hands, but I figured my need to be massaged with lavender oil during contractions trumped his quirk in that regard - and to his credit, he agreed (and survived!).


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Old 05-21-2011, 04:56 PM
 
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Oh, yeah, definitely. You have a ton of historical precedent on your side in terms of not having him there, anyway! My post was thinking more along the lines of women who really wanted/needed the labour support from their partner specifically. Myself, I'm not the kind of person who's comfortable with having my sister or mother or friend present at my births, and I don't even really fancy the idea of a doula - so if I want someone to massage my back or give me sips of water, DH is IT, you know? And while that's not necessary in a medical-emergency-type way, I certainly think it's the least he can do. :p I made him step out of his comfort zone last time - he's Aspie and not to keen on getting dirty hands, but I figured my need to be massaged with lavender oil during contractions trumped his quirk in that regard - and to his credit, he agreed (and survived!).


Yeah, just a case of "to each, her own".  I thought I would (and actually thought I should) need and expect that kind of support from my dh, but it turns out I got it (and liked it) from my mother (a home birth midwife) and my midwife.

 

ETA:  I think it is totally healthy to expect the father of your children or your chosen partner to support you in the ways you need through probably the most intense and life-changing day of your life!

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Old 05-22-2011, 03:22 PM
 
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I'm with frugalmum.  Never since I was a teenager contemplating birth have I ever felt the slightest desire to have any man present.  I guess I just totally identify with the way things were done in  most cultures and still are in many--childbirth is a women's mystery.  My dh was willing to be there, and wanted to, I think (though there's no way of knowing how he would have reacted to the actual process) but he respected my wish.  Very unfortunately, I wound up in the hospital with a male dr. doing a c/s, and the trauma from that followed me for many months and isn't gone yet.  But my midwife was the one I had with me in the o.r.  

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Old 05-23-2011, 06:20 PM
 
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I have thought of having my husband there the next time, but I have a feeling he is just going to panic and try to convince me to go to the hospital at the slightest bit of trouble. I dont think he will be a good home birth partner at all. I picture my mother and midwife helping me, and having more of a feminine support system of women that believe in me. I could probably make him be there, but I think I would end up kicking him out half way through. I do like the idea of having him there for just the first phase. I think he would be ok for that.


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Old 03-17-2012, 12:08 AM
 
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I have reported Janey's post. There's no call for that sort of thing.
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Old 03-17-2012, 07:45 AM
 
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Random 1st time poster just ignoring...
 

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I have reported Janey's post. There's no call for that sort of thing.


 


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Old 03-17-2012, 11:03 AM
 
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I agree with Smokering and philomom. I have no patience for guys who wont attend their wife's labor and their child's entrance into the world. It is their kid, too!

I look at it this way: DH is my best friend in the whole world. He helped me get pregnant, this baby is just as much a part of him as it is me, and I cannot imagine my very best friend not holding my hand and rubbing my back during the worst pain of my life. Plus, there is a big emotion that men usually have after watching their wives push a baby out. For my DH, he thought I hung the moon for about 3 months after DD was born. He had this feeling that I was way stronger and more capable than he had ever viewed me before. IMO, I couldnt be married to anyone who wasnt willing to hold my hand through both the best and the worst times of life.

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Old 03-17-2012, 01:34 PM
 
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I agree with this as well. I wasn't into going through painful contractions, or risking tearing by pushing a baby out of my vagina, or going through weeks of recovery. But I did it, and I fully expected my husband to be beside me, doing everything he could to support me through that time. I don't know if I could forgive my husband if he decided he just didn't want to be there while I went through that.
 

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I agree with Smokering and philomom. I have no patience for guys who wont attend their wife's labor and their child's entrance into the world. It is their kid, too!
I look at it this way: DH is my best friend in the whole world. He helped me get pregnant, this baby is just as much a part of him as it is me, and I cannot imagine my very best friend not holding my hand and rubbing my back during the worst pain of my life. Plus, there is a big emotion that men usually have after watching their wives push a baby out. For my DH, he thought I hung the moon for about 3 months after DD was born. He had this feeling that I was way stronger and more capable than he had ever viewed me before. IMO, I couldnt be married to anyone who wasnt willing to hold my hand through both the best and the worst times of life.


 

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