father's prescence and failure to progress? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 66 Old 09-22-2006, 11:49 AM
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I know this is an old thread, but I just came across something else Michel Odent wrote on the subject.

When the mother-to-be is alone with the baby's father and he seems to really share the emotions, leaving our world at the same time as his wife -- a scene that would have been considered unbelievable fifty years ago -- it is also possible that the birth will not be too long away or too difficult. In this case, once more, nobody behaves like an observer. It is not the woman who is giving birth; it is the couple. (from The Nature of Birth and Breastfeeding, as quoted in Laura Shanley's book, Unassisted Childbirth.)
Laura elaborates:

[Odent] cautions husbands not to prevent their wives from shifting into another level of consciousness. They must not look into the eyes of their wives as if saying, "Stay with me". Rather, they too must fearlessly allow themselves to experience the new and exciting shift in consciousness if they are to make a positive contribution to the birth.
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#62 of 66 Old 09-22-2006, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by doctorjen View Post
At my own births, my dh was beyond wonderful. He is a very intuitive labor support person, and I felt so close to him during our births. I can't talk really at all in labor, and he was able to interpret what I wanted without any trouble. I felt best in labor when I could just bury my head in his chest and feel his arms around me. I felt very inside myself, and inside our private love for each other, and like the rest of the world wasn't there. I loved also that he wasn't too sympathetic. It was funny, because when ds#2 was born, a friend attended to be ds#1's support person. Fortunately, she was very unobtrusive during the birth, but after she said several times that she didn't think my dh was very supportive because he hadn't seemed worried or concerned about me. I felt the exact opposite throughout labor, though. I didn't want to be asked if I was okay, or have an "Oh, you poor thing" type attitude going on. He was able to give off an air of confidence and support, and also seemed properly in awe of the work of labor without seeming worried, if that makes sense. Considering our first birth together was an accidental UC, it was no small feat! Whenever I feel irritated with dh, I think about how wonderful he was during our labors and I can forgive him almost anything.
I think as mentioned above that laboring women absorb the emotions around them very easily. I think dads are often great support for their partners, especially if they are allowed to do so naturally. I think that just as birth attendants can hugely muck up the natural flow of a labor, they can also muck up the dad's ability to be helpful and involved.
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#63 of 66 Old 09-22-2006, 01:15 PM
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At DS's birth, when DH had to leave for awhile to rest (he was hurting himself and needed to get away for a bit) I basically stopped laboring. My contractions got puny,a dn nothing was happening. The first contraction after he came back, whooosh- we were off to the races again.

I guess some situations might be different, so it's not a good idea to make generalizations. Some women might do better with a different support system there than others. I think it's good to be flexible, but what works for one mom in labor might not work for another.
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#64 of 66 Old 09-22-2006, 02:41 PM
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My mom had 7 NCBs and Dad missed only one (didn't make it in time) -- she and he both regret it. Even though Dad almost fainted during Mom's first labor (the doctor had to catch him). This was when they first started allowing men in delivery rooms (early 70's).

I think a lot has to depend on the spousal relationship, as others have said. Dad is a pretty patriarchal guy in a lot of ways (his father figure was his grandpa) -- but in terms of birth/babies, Mom is the expert and Dad pretty much backs her up. And while there are things that bug me about their relationship -- it's a lot more egalitarian than some of the other marriages I've seen in their generation (and far healthier communication).

DH and I have only had one birth together (one more coming soon) ) -- he was great. He worried a little about what the OB etc. would think of his approach (he tends to joke about things) -- I told him not to worry and just be there for me, and he was. Very calm and absorbed and focused (and yes, funny ) - I know he was nervous (he's more scared about birth than I am, and way less NCB background than I have via my family's stories) -- but I don't think it slowed me down at all. He did a good job of deferring to me and allowing me to do what I needed to do. Much as I really like our OB, I would have had a much more difficult time if dh weren't there. Of course, I'd like my Mom there too but she really feels that birth is between the mom, the dad, and the attendants. I think the only way she'd accompany one of our births would be if the daughter in questions's dh was unable to be there for some reason.

In terms of bodily functions - I can totally see that being an issue for some couples. Which is sad, IMO. A friend of mine told me his dad told him that you know if someone is "the one" once you are able to go to the bathroom in front of them (or they in front of you) and are still comfortable. I've got a good friend who doesn't want her dh in the room with her when she's in labor because she doesn't want him to see her "that way." I don't think he'd want to be there anyway. I think there's a difference between recognizing that there might be negative energy due to a dh's nerves etc., and wanting to maintain some mystique about one's body to the extent that you don't want your partner there (and I think that the mystique is being maintained FOR him, not necessarily for her, KWIM?).

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#65 of 66 Old 09-22-2006, 03:42 PM
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The Odent quote seems terribly romantic but I still think it's really important that couples give themselves permission to give their sposes the boot. It hurts my dh way to much to watch me in pain and I think that anyone who is giving off discomfort/fear vibes during labor needs to be elsewhere.
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#66 of 66 Old 09-22-2006, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by natashaccat View Post
The Odent quote seems terribly romantic but I still think it's really important that couples give themselves permission to give their sposes the boot.
He wasn't saying that it is always ideal for the husband to be there. See the first post in this thread.
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