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Old 01-03-2008, 12:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I ran across this article today. It really resonates with me. I've been thinking about this a lot. My 3rd birth was the only one where I really had anyone "helping" me, and it was the longest and the hardest. (Okay, okay, it also was induced with nipple stimulation and the baby was BIG and posterior.) Still, I wonder...

Is the Participation of the Father at Birth Dangerous?
by Michel Odent, MD
http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/fatherpart.asp
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Old 01-03-2008, 02:51 AM
 
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I ran across this article today. It really resonates with me. I've been thinking about this a lot. My 3rd birth was the only one where I really had anyone "helping" me, and it was the longest and the hardest. (Okay, okay, it also was induced with nipple stimulation and the baby was BIG and posterior.) Still, I wonder...

Is the Participation of the Father at Birth Dangerous?
by Michel Odent, MD
http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/fatherpart.asp
That article is what finally gave me "permission" to decide not to have dh when I give birth. Dh agreed with it entirely.

ETA: You see, before that, I'd felt that I'd do better without dh present, but all the other reading I'd done made such a big deal about how great it was that partners could now be at the birth and "be there" for the laboring woman.
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Old 01-03-2008, 02:03 PM
 
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I don't trust anything written by an MD, for one. I think if your partner is well studied and truly learns about the different stages of labor and what we go through, he can be a great help and comfort. I mean, really, who would you rather be between your legs, someone whose relationship with you will most likely be brief, or the father of your child, the one you have a committed and sexual relationship with. Communication is key. If you want hands off during labor, then you need to let it be known exactly what you want to take place. I feel the most comfortable having my husband with me because he has knowledge of the human body and how it works. He is also studying birth and everything that goes along with it, right along with me so we are both extremely prepared. He will play a very active role in the birth of our second child. I look forward to our relationship growing even closer with this experience. I recommend anyone who read the article and now has doubts about their partner's role to read, "Unassisted Childbirth: An Act of Love", regardless of whether you are going unassisted or not. Just my two cents...
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Old 01-03-2008, 02:29 PM
 
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I don't trust anything written by an MD, for one.
Ah, but Michel Odent isn't just any MD.

I'm not sure how I feel about this article. I cannot say for sure, anyway, because I have not yet given birth. The article did make me think, though, and that is always good.

For me, I have the tendency to withdraw into myself when in extreme pain (my doctor believes I have endometriosis), or when I need to concentrate. I get distracted so easily, and I am very empathic...so it is, unfortunately, quite easy for me to take on someone else's fear or doubts.

This leads me to believe that I would do better, that I would birth better in complete solitude. But, this doesn't mean that I want to birth with no one around at all. No, I do feel that I will need my husband present, however, I do not believe that I want him watching me birth. I don't want his eyes critiquing every decision I make, I do not want to feel him judging (albeit innocently) my actions. I don't want to feel as if I must hold anything back just to care for him. I am a protector by nature, and I really think that if my husband were watching me give birth, I might do things differently than I would were I alone, simply to take care of him.

So...I think that I will buy a nice, million drawer changing table, and ask my husband to start putting it together when I go into labor. He never reads the instruction book, so that should take him a good day or two to finish.

Sprat , Certified Professional Midwife, loved very much by Sprig , the most open-minded, loving, gentle man in the world, little Sprout and now someone new! on begins with .
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Old 01-03-2008, 02:33 PM
 
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That's funny about having him put the drawers together!! That's a good idea! I might do that too, just to keep DH occupied.

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Old 01-03-2008, 04:04 PM
 
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I wrote a giant, long, thoughtful response and MDC "Server too busy" ate it. ::::

To (try) to sum up how I feel about the article: While M. Odent may be posing some questions that are relevant for some, I find the article to be full of overgeneralized, anecdotal musings and hypotheses that are completely unsupported by real evidence and potentially damaging to individual couples. Bottom line, whose presence is welcome or unwelcome, helpful or unhelpful at a particular birth is specific to an individual woman and even to an individual birth. There is no reason why a near-stranger "motherly" midwife should be a less inhibiting attendant than a woman's dearest partner of many years. For me personally, everything in the article is completely wrong and even disparaging. In general, I have respect for M. Odent, but as an analysis of a partner's role in birth, this work is a piece of hogwash.

The right attendants, if any, are an individual matter and overgeneralization/theorizing why partner attendance is successful for some but unsuccessful for others should be left to individuals, not the subject of a totally unsupported and unsupportable collection of ramblings that reinforces aged stereotypes about the role of men in birth.

The article is 100% inapplicable to my partnership with my spouse and his integral participation as my main support during birth. Except that he did get a bad cold/flu about a week after dd was born - must have been my (our!) incredibly selfish desire for a homebirth turned UC turned hospital transfer where we had a completely natural birth and, goodness forbid, my partner was deeply involved in the process.
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Old 01-03-2008, 04:52 PM
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my husband is naturally quite anxious AND he grew up in a household where any weakness or illness was seen as an inconvenience and treated with anger.

over the last couple of weeks, i have not felt well (sickness or new pregnancy, we don't know). anyway, my normal "duties" haven't been preformed (cooking, cleaning, etc) and he's quite angry and frustrated.

but he feels bad, because he also knows that i can't help it that i feel bad and that standing up straight hurts really bad (very bad gas and bloating).

we've discussed this, and while i do want him around, i don't necessarily want him in my space.

i know that there are differences between feeling unwell and labor, but i think that there are likely also some similarities. and i also know that he's nervous about the whole thing anway (not UC< but birth).

so, i think he'd be happy to be able to read, watch movies, or whatever while i do my thing.
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Old 01-03-2008, 04:57 PM
 
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I *wanted* my DH through my last labor - he was my solid place as the WHIRLWIND 1.5 hour labor took me on the ride of my life. I was not more than 2cm max to start and from the first 4 min. ctx to baby out it was 1.5 hours. Talk about mind-blowing.

I could have done it alone, but I would not have wanted to be without my DH in this case. He knows his presence is optional (I though I'd want to be alone to have Gray), but I didn't find Dr. Odent's thoughts to be relevant for us.

He is a bit generalized (understatement ) so it's good to keep in mind in some cases it would be very relevant, but obviously not in all cases. As with anything i read, I take it with a grain of salt.

Mama to 4 amazing little people, another little expected 3/6/12!
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Old 01-03-2008, 05:05 PM
 
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ITA with Romana!

My DH knows me better than anyone. Sometimes better than I know myself! He's my rock and extremely calming to me, a more high strung person, just in everyday life.

I wouldn't ever want to give birth without him by my side. He's the only person I feel I really need during labor. He's very comfortable with the process. Great at reading me and knowing what I need at any given time during labor. I do tend to "go to another planet" late in labor and he always quietly supports me until I need him again. If I get to a point that I start to fall to pieces and worry I can't do it, he's awesome at reminding that I can, I have, and I will. In no uncertain terms. He seems to understand when I'm handling it or when I need a push.

For us, the births are very much an intimate experience where there's a place and a role for each of us, just as there was in the conception. He always comes away from the experience with an overwhelming sense of love and awe. I wouldn't have it any other way!
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Old 01-03-2008, 05:21 PM
 
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I think there are just too many kinds of men, and of couples to make that kind of generalization. Some men can obviously handle birth wonderfully and be an asset to the situation, maybe some can't. Some may be grossed out, scared, or turned off by seeing the birth-- some may be fascinated and not at all sexually disturbed by it. For example, I don't think anything could gross my DH out. Seriously.

I don't see that over-generalizing men and relationships is helpful, especially with something as complex and individual as birth. For any couple that agrees with Odent, there will be another piping up with their story of birthing harmony. That said, perhaps it's good to lay this out there: the idea that for some couples, it would be better for the man to be more in the background and less involved. That validation could be useful, as there's such a cultural push towards total fatherly involvement, it might let some men/couples admit that they're not comfortable, say, cutting the cord, catching the baby, coaching, etc-- to examine and express those thoughts beforehand and not suppress them.

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Old 01-03-2008, 05:23 PM
 
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I personally want my DH there because he knows my moods better than anyone and I feel free to express them in front of him more than anyone else in my life. I feel totally free around him. Whereas I actually might clam up around my own mother.

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Old 01-03-2008, 05:25 PM
 
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I think there are just too many kinds of men, and of couples to make that kind of generalization. Some men can obviously handle birth wonderfully and be an asset to the situation, maybe some can't. Some may be grossed out, scared, or turned off by seeing the birth-- some may be fascinated and not at all sexually disturbed by it. For example, I don't think anything could gross my DH out. Seriously.

I don't see that over-generalizing men and relationships is helpful, especially with something as complex and individual as birth. For any couple that agrees with Odent, there will be another piping up with their story of birthing harmony. That said, perhaps it's good to lay this out there: the idea that for some couples, it would be better for the man to be more in the background and less involved. That validation could be useful, as there's such a cultural push towards total fatherly involvement, it might let some men/couples admit that they're not comfortable, say, cutting the cord, catching the baby, coaching, etc-- to examine and express those thoughts beforehand and not suppress them.
ITA ITA ITA!!
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Old 01-03-2008, 06:09 PM
 
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I think there are just too many kinds of men, and of couples to make that kind of generalization. Some men can obviously handle birth wonderfully and be an asset to the situation, maybe some can't. Some may be grossed out, scared, or turned off by seeing the birth-- some may be fascinated and not at all sexually disturbed by it. For example, I don't think anything could gross my DH out. Seriously.

I don't see that over-generalizing men and relationships is helpful, especially with something as complex and individual as birth. For any couple that agrees with Odent, there will be another piping up with their story of birthing harmony. That said, perhaps it's good to lay this out there: the idea that for some couples, it would be better for the man to be more in the background and less involved. That validation could be useful, as there's such a cultural push towards total fatherly involvement, it might let some men/couples admit that they're not comfortable, say, cutting the cord, catching the baby, coaching, etc-- to examine and express those thoughts beforehand and not suppress them.
ITA. My dh is not a hindrance when I'm giving birth. His advice to new fathers is always that birth is all about the woman and his job is to make sure she has food, drinks, and is comfortable, without asking her, everything else just happens, and he can't help the actual birth, to even try would annoy the woman. I think it's good advice. My dh keeps his mouth shut and doesn't try to encourage me at all, which I appreciate. I hate that labor coaching crap we learned in Bradley: "You can do it!" "You're doing a great job!" STFU, I'm trying to concentrate! LOL. He just came and pushed on my pressure points on my lower back during contrax w/out saying anything, and took it well when I told him not to touch me. He pretty much didn't touch me or talk to me much at all until it was time for me to push in the pool. Then he was still silent and just braced his arms on the sides of the pool for me to hang onto while squatting. He was a very supportive piece of furniture, the perfect man for a labor partner. And he helped me out of the pool, which I don't think another woman would have been strong enough to do since I was holding the baby w/ both arms and he almost lifted me out. This was my 3rd birth I'm talking about. Ds1 was not his, so he wasn't there (I took Bradley for him, so dh thankfully never learned that coaching crap.) Ds2 was an awful hospital birth, and poor dh didn't know how to help me then, and I don't think he really could have, other than encouraging me to stay home, which I don't think ever occurred to him.
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:48 AM
 
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I don't trust anything written by an MD, for one. I think if your partner is well studied and truly learns about the different stages of labor and what we go through, he can be a great help and comfort. I mean, really, who would you rather be between your legs...
no one.

And certainly not someone who I feel like comforting when I stub my toe.

Having dh around would hinder my birth--simply because I am concerned for his feelings.

I'm UCing because he has come to believe that I can handle a normal birth. I had been willing to compromise on having a midwife, but now I don't need to.
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:51 AM
 
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This leads me to believe that I would do better, that I would birth better in complete solitude. But, this doesn't mean that I want to birth with no one around at all. No, I do feel that I will need my husband present, however, I do not believe that I want him watching me birth. I don't want his eyes critiquing every decision I make, I do not want to feel him judging (albeit innocently) my actions. I don't want to feel as if I must hold anything back just to care for him. I am a protector by nature, and I really think that if my husband were watching me give birth, I might do things differently than I would were I alone, simply to take care of him.
:
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So...I think that I will buy a nice, million drawer changing table, and ask my husband to start putting it together when I go into labor. He never reads the instruction book, so that should take him a good day or two to finish.
Our plan is for dh to play videogames while listening to his music with headphones. I'll have my laptop near me and, if I don't feel like walking afterwards with a newborn baby and a placenta in a bowl, will send him an instant message.
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:57 AM
 
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This said, in case of transfer dh is not allowed more than 2 feet from me and that only to fetch food and more water.
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:57 AM
 
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I am a big, big, huge fan of Odent. (Don't want to be in danger of understating it. ) He was the first researcher, as far as I know, to really begin considering the role of the primal in human birthing. More than anyone else, except those who owe a huge debt to him in the formation of their own philosophy of birth, he gets it.

I was at first disappointed with this article, though. Then I took a step back and realized that what he is doing is what he does so well in every other subject -- he asks questions. He says, these are the things we should be paying attention to and asking what they mean. He does that with everything he talks about. He's very clear on this point: "Our objective is not to provide answers but to analyze the many reasons why it is such a complex issue."

He writes,

Quote:
There are many sons of men: some can keep a low profile while their partner is in labor; others tend to behave like observers, or like guides, whereas others are much more like protectors. At the very time when the laboring woman needs to reduce the activity of her intellect (of her neocortex) and "to go to another planet" many men cannot stop being rational. Some look brave, but their release of high levels of adrenaline is contagious. [...] It is often during the third stage that many men have a sudden need for activity, at the very time when the mother should have nothing else to do than to look at her baby's eyes and to feel the contact with her baby's skin in a warm place. At this time any distraction tends to inhibit the release of oxytocin and therefore interferes with the delivery of the placenta.
Absolutely true, and for men who are like this, for the couple to ignore the possibility of this having an adverse effect on the process in the name of "husband-wife childbirth" as the ideal, I think is very, very foolish.

So these are valid issues. Odent doesn't take the questioning far enough, however. We need to also be asking: what is it that makes these men nervous? What is it that keeps them from entering a primal place? Would their behavior be different (just as the laboring woman's often is) if there were not observers? Why is the mother sometimes apparently self-conscious and distracted by her mate and not by clinical observers? What is it about the way men and women are conditioned to be with each other in various subsocieties that affects how they relate their sexual relationship to the birth process? Etc.

All of these answers are going to look different depending on what psychological and philosophical approach is taken to the birth, and what environment the birth occurs in. Obviously, looking at unassisted birth will tell us very different things than looking at midwife-attended or hospital birth. It's much harder, though, to become aware that there is a difference if you're looking at it from the outside, because firstly there are so relatively few undisturbed births compared to other births, and because in many of these there are no observers.

In our case, the less clinicized and more private the birth process, the more appropriate was my husband's behavior, and the more bonded we were by going through it together. Also, in our case, the more positively it affected our sexual relationship. I can't go into much detail because it's private (just like our sex life is) but suffice it to say that we were both in an altered state of consciousness. He was receptive to what I was releasing and therefore we were able to enter a very primal state together, as we do when having sex. It was partly due to that happening that it was such a peak experience for me.

A lot of UCs, though, are really not approached differently than a professionally-attended birth would be. In some, the husband is expected to act as doula or midwife. There is a great potential for disaster in having men take on a role that is not natural to them or to the birth process. That is what the article is trying to address, but unfortunately that message gets lost when people take it personally and misinterpret his questioning as a dogmatic judgment of their own birthing choices.
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Old 01-04-2008, 01:39 AM
 
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Having dh around would hinder my birth--simply because I am concerned for his feelings.
What about his feelings when he realizes he was completely left out during his child's birth and has attachment issues because of it? I can't imagine not having dh take part in such an amazing, life altering event - witnessing the product of our love for each other coming into this world. That's just me though... Good luck! I hope it all works out the way you want it to.
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Old 01-04-2008, 01:45 AM
 
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We need to also be asking: what is it that makes these men nervous? What is it that keeps them from entering a primal place? Would their behavior be different (just as the laboring woman's often is) if there were not observers? Why is the mother sometimes apparently self-conscious and distracted by her mate and not by clinical observers? What is it about the way men and women are conditioned to be with each other in various subsocieties that affects how they relate their sexual relationship to the birth process? Etc.
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Old 01-04-2008, 04:04 AM
 
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What about his feelings when he realizes he was completely left out during his child's birth and has attachment issues because of it? I can't imagine not having dh take part in such an amazing, life altering event - witnessing the product of our love for each other coming into this world. That's just me though... Good luck! I hope it all works out the way you want it to.
I'm also only 7 weeks pregnant. I'm more than willing to accept that our opinions could change in the next 8 months or so. But I'm too lazy to put that disclaimer in everything I write about my thoughts on the future.

Y'know, claiming attachment issues because of not being at an event that would be changed by his presence at the event feels a bit like the people who claim that fathers can't bond with babies unless they get to give the baby bottles.

He's still going to smell the baby fresh from the womb, rub vernix into her skin, wait for a few hours after his cord stops pulsing, boop her nose, let him grab his finger, etc, etc, etc. All those things that I'll be doing to bond with our child too. Because I'm not getting a free ride on attachment either even though the hormones'll make it easier (which makes it all the more important that nothing disrupts them).

I want to birth like a cat.

Then we can raise our child as a human.

Oh, and my dh doublechecks his opinions and beliefs on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. If he decides that he will regret not being there (and he's currently reading Sears's Father book--and Sears is a *major* father as birth partner supporter) he will let me know and we'll work through it. He's not the suffer in silence type to any stretch of the imagination.
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:13 PM
 
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fourlittlebirds, I just want to let you know how much I always enjoy reading your thoughts on birth. Most everything you write really hits home for me, and I thank you for that because I often have trouble putting in words what my voice is singing upstairs in my mind. I can't stop dancing long enough to process my own thoughts...very aggravating sometimes.

So yes, thank you.

Sprat , Certified Professional Midwife, loved very much by Sprig , the most open-minded, loving, gentle man in the world, little Sprout and now someone new! on begins with .
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Old 01-04-2008, 01:22 PM
 
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I'm also only 7 weeks pregnant. I'm more than willing to accept that our opinions could change in the next 8 months or so. But I'm too lazy to put that disclaimer in everything I write about my thoughts on the future.

Y'know, claiming attachment issues because of not being at an event that would be changed by his presence at the event feels a bit like the people who claim that fathers can't bond with babies unless they get to give the baby bottles.

He's still going to smell the baby fresh from the womb, rub vernix into her skin, wait for a few hours after his cord stops pulsing, boop her nose, let him grab his finger, etc, etc, etc. All those things that I'll be doing to bond with our child too. Because I'm not getting a free ride on attachment either even though the hormones'll make it easier (which makes it all the more important that nothing disrupts them).

I want to birth like a cat.

Then we can raise our child as a human.

Oh, and my dh doublechecks his opinions and beliefs on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. If he decides that he will regret not being there (and he's currently reading Sears's Father book--and Sears is a *major* father as birth partner supporter) he will let me know and we'll work through it. He's not the suffer in silence type to any stretch of the imagination.
Nuff said. : ) Sounds like you have it pretty much figured out. The whole attachment thing is something I read about. And we all know, most people can't be described as "textbook'. : ) You're right, things can change or they may not. If you and your dh have fully communicated your feelings and both agree, COOL! Sorry, I hope I didn't offend you. I like to try to understand others when their ways differ so much from mine. : ) I hope you enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and have an awesome birth!!!
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Old 01-04-2008, 01:42 PM
 
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havent read all replies yet, juggling bub on lap.

but my partner HAD to be there for birth of our son (hospital "managed" vaginal) if it were not for him i would have had NO support & no one to hold my hand & comfort me during that hard time.

now for this birth i am debating, if i will send him out at any point or not. i know i will need to Go Into Myself like i did with my son, the only reason i can see sending him out is if he starts to get antsy or nervous. if i can feel any tension i will have to break that by sending him out. otherwise i know i will want him to be there, to massage or do other "partner like things which shall remain nameless"

i don't think that birth impacted our sex life though. that's one of those things my mother warned me about "dont let him see your hoo hoo when the baby comes out!! he'll never want you again!!!!" well maybe some men are like that, not my partner. he wanted to watch & was disappointed it wasnt more gory


ok just my $.02
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Old 01-04-2008, 04:40 PM
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i'm with you sapphire-chan.

i don't think that my husband will miss out on the attachment by being in another part of the house (if that's what he/we want), or by being uninvolved in the birth process.

it really is about it being different for different people--their needs are different.

i think my husband is perfectly capable of overcoming his stuff--there are times when he transcends into complete zen and it's really amazing to be with him. it may be this way at the birth--he may go with me into that 'primal space' with no problems.

or, he could be a nervous wreck.

and being a nervous wreck WOULD impact his ability to be present and to 'attach' to the child (and vice-versa).

so i think that being calm is important, and if that means being away and coming once the baby is born (within minutes afterall), or by being able to be deeply present in the process, then that's what it means.

and ain't nobody gots no right to be a-judgin' it as somehow cruel or abusive or whatever.
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Old 01-04-2008, 07:24 PM
 
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and ain't nobody gots no right to be a-judgin' it as somehow cruel or abusive or whatever.

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Old 01-04-2008, 07:31 PM
 
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and ain't nobody gots no right to be a-judgin' it as somehow cruel or abusive or whatever.
I'm lovin' this one!! So true, so true!

My DH was calm on the outside during my previous 2 hospital births, but inside was freaking out. So with this one, being a UC, he is just going to be calmly freaking out downstairs keeping the kiddos occupied. Either way he will freak out so it wouldn't matter where I am. That's his problem to overcome, not mine. I did what I could and now I have to step back and let him face his own music. But I still love him dearly!

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Old 01-04-2008, 07:51 PM
 
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So these are valid issues. Odent doesn't take the questioning far enough, however. We need to also be asking: what is it that makes these men nervous? What is it that keeps them from entering a primal place? Would their behavior be different (just as the laboring woman's often is) if there were not observers? Why is the mother sometimes apparently self-conscious and distracted by her mate and not by clinical observers? What is it about the way men and women are conditioned to be with each other in various subsocieties that affects how they relate their sexual relationship to the birth process? Etc.
This was a huge part of the giant post I wrote that got eaten. I'm so glad you brought it up; I didn't have the energy to revisit everything I'd said. And of course, I think you expressed it better than I did.
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Old 01-04-2008, 08:07 PM
 
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Y'know, claiming attachment issues because of not being at an event that would be changed by his presence at the event feels a bit like the people who claim that fathers can't bond with babies unless they get to give the baby bottles.
On the one hand, I agree that you can certainly go overboard on this and men and women can bond just fine & dandy with babies they don't birth themselves, don't witness the birth for, and don't hold until a few minutes after birth (or whatever). And if the husband is going to be detrimental to the woman's ability to birth, then he shouldn't be there. His participation in that moment is less important than the woman's ability to birth well and peacefully. However, I also think it's a mistake to assume that it never has a profound effect. And I really do find the bottles analogy to be a poor one. There are many ways for a father or a mother to nurture a baby, and breastfeeding doesn't have to be "IT." Not breastfeeding doesn't mean a woman won't feel bonded to her baby. At the same time, I don't think anyone would suggest that fathers or mothers shouldn't hold their babies, since they can bond regardless of whether they hold them - kwim? There is no real replacement for missing the birth, and though it may be totally unnecessary, that does not mean that it cannot also have great meaning and significance on a very deep level.

For us, my dh's witnessing dd's birth was a deeply bonding and profound experience, both with our daughter and with me. This is not going to be true of all men, but I don't want to downplay how significant it was to my husband, either. Two years later he still speaks with unbounded love and awe about seeing dd being born. I know that he will do so until the day he dies, and I don't think it would have been the same for him if he'd been outside the room and come in after the baby was born.

I think also that fourlittlebirds' points were excellent. Part of what this is bringing me back to is allowing the father to also enter the primal sphere/space. My dh spoke after the birth about how all he wanted to do was climb into bed together, the three of us, and snuggle up and sleep. I feel that this was his primal instinct to hole up in the nest in warmth, love, and protectiveness. We were prevented from doing this by being in a hospital. He was ejected from the most powerful instinctual role he had by not being able to sleep with us (he was on a cot on the other side of the room). He had no desire to interfere with what I was doing with the baby, but he felt an urge to be integral. I feel that my dh is someone who is deeply in tune with himself and unafraid to welcome feelings and instinct. He was the one who predicted, to the day, when I would have our baby. He was very comfortable with birth and was not an intrusion at all during my labor. I don't know, as I'd have to ask him, but I think long parts of it were not exactly cerebral for him. He was zoned in to me and to the birth. Hours passed and neither of us noticed.

So I don't think it's as simple as one or the other, and there really is no blanket answer since different couples/mothers will have different relationships and needs. A more interesting question is that of root causes of the entire situation rather than simply addressing that it exists (which has its own value, but becomes much more meaningful when more deeply examined).
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Old 01-04-2008, 08:20 PM
 
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I'm also only 7 weeks pregnant. I'm more than willing to accept that our opinions could change in the next 8 months or so. But I'm too lazy to put that disclaimer in everything I write about my thoughts on the future.

Y'know, claiming attachment issues because of not being at an event that would be changed by his presence at the event feels a bit like the people who claim that fathers can't bond with babies unless they get to give the baby bottles.

He's still going to smell the baby fresh from the womb, rub vernix into her skin, wait for a few hours after his cord stops pulsing, boop her nose, let him grab his finger, etc, etc, etc. All those things that I'll be doing to bond with our child too. Because I'm not getting a free ride on attachment either even though the hormones'll make it easier (which makes it all the more important that nothing disrupts them).

I want to birth like a cat.

Then we can raise our child as a human.

Oh, and my dh doublechecks his opinions and beliefs on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. If he decides that he will regret not being there (and he's currently reading Sears's Father book--and Sears is a *major* father as birth partner supporter) he will let me know and we'll work through it. He's not the suffer in silence type to any stretch of the imagination.
Sapphire, FWIW, I had similar feelings before the birth of dd2. Dh was downstairs with dd1 when dd2 was born (mostly because dd2 needed him there with her and not to be in with the birth, but we had talked about the possibility a LOT). He really was fine with it and it really was good to birth unhindered. And no, it did not effect his bonding with the baby at all. We are working through ideas, plans, feelings, etc., for the birth of our next baby.

Interestingly, I was just contemplating the couples vs. solo birth thing and discussing it with a friend who UC'd with her husband. She said something similar to what I think fourlittlebirds is saying...that her husband was IN the birth energy with her...that he was in there with matching intensity. So I think some of it may have to do with that. I was thinking that I'd like dh to be in (part of the birthing energy) or out (not in the room) but not right near me and betwixt and between. But...my thoughts on this are all pretty unformed, so I'm not sure if I'm at the crux of it or not.

Oh...and I really really like Odent too but when I read that article it rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe some women want a motherly midwife type, but maybe some others want an intimate birth with their partner, maybe some want a solo birth, etc. He makes some assumptions that I think are wrong.
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Old 01-05-2008, 12:06 PM
 
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I just think that Odent is asking questions that need asking...and one's personal answers to those questions are what matters to the individual and her/his choices at birth. I see this work of Odent's as a very much necessary counter to the current trend that partner participation is 'best' for all, for all manner of reasons concerning birth itself and the family's various relationships over time--mom/dad relationship, mom/baby and dad/baby relationships, etc. Partner participation in birth is simply NOT best for all! And for some, it is actually contrary to normal birth, bonding, and the marriage.

I see this article as a valuable way for women first, and their partners, second (yes, in that order) to figure this very important issue out for themselves as they go. It can free people from expectations handed down by Bradley, and even by some of the UC authors who promote partner participation in a fairly religious way (not only in terms of a particular religion like Christianity, but as a fundamental belief about birth and marriage).

There is no one right way! I know that when I first started having babies, I was basically 'raised in the religion of the all-importance of close partner participation at birth'. Frankly I was fairly disappointed by my partners' (plural, over time/divorce) participation...even tho we UCed...and I became a mw and saw how some dads make wonderful birthing partners and some don't...and finally began to see that that 'religion of partner participation' was NOT 100% workable for everyone.

I have to say that as a feminist, there are just *very* few men whose work I read or listen to, whatsoever--most especially (tho not only) when it comes to women's lives and bodies, birth and so forth. There are a few exceptions...Odent is an exception for me. I think his work tends to transcend the usual gender clutter/bias involved with men speaking of reality and especially women's reality. I think he's quite brave in asking questions--but then, I like to 'question authority--and everything else'. As I have often had to tell people in the course of my life--"I'm just ASKING! It's not a judgement, not trying to tell you what is right for you....JUST ASKING", because asking the presumably 'forbidden' questions is so very freeing.
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