Skip to main content

Men at Birth...

When I was pregnant with Bryn, I decided I did not want Dave to attend the birth. I wanted to be sorrounded by a circle of women, and for him to be off somewhere else - watching the kids... I remember once saying this on a parenting forum and having one member I'd known irl tell me I was being selfish for not "letting" Dave be at the birth... Luckily, I didn't let her projection sway me, LOL, and I went on to have a wonderful and Dave was able to avoid the mass of anxiety he'd experienced during the births of our first two children.


I know some men ARE very excited about their wives creating life in their bodies, and then giving birth to that life. I realise that for some men, the act of witnessing the birth of their children is highly emotional in only positive ways.


I think, however, that for many men, this is NOT what they feel, but because of the new social norm of men being their partners birth support person, they quell their fears, their sense of helpless and their deep desire to just be somewhere else, anywhere else, because they feel ashamed that they are not anything but delighted to be witnessing the miracle of birth...





This is Dave holding the newborn Luey, just 40 minutes after Luey's very speedy, very simple birth... Does he look elated? Does he look like he's witnessed a miracle? Does he look like he wants to be there??? I can tell you he looks like he hasn't slept in days (despite Luey's birth being a planned induction and us having slept the night before)... Luey's birth lasted 2.5 hours from when they broke my waters until he was born. I only had pain for the last thirty minutes of that time. Before those last thirty minutes, I was pain free... So, witnessing 30 minutes of pain drained Dave so much that he could not conjure up a smile 40 minutes after his son was born...

Anyway, I read an interesting article on this here... While I will concede that there are men who really do enjoy their children's births and feel closer to their partners as a result, I wish there was more acknowledgement and support for the men in our society who do not emerge from the "birth support" experience unscathed.

When reading a thread about this on a parenting forum, I saw a lot of derision of men who didn't cope well with seeing their children born. This upsets me, because if a woman becomes depressed in the wake of having a baby, or loses interest in sex, there is ever growing support and understanding for her situation, but if a man becomes depressed or loses interest in sex, he's deemed selfish or shallow.

The problem has another side of course, that being that many women are left stranded, socially, with only their partners to rely on for support. Even though the prevalensce of doulas is increasing, often the need to "hire" a support person when you're partner is "supposed" to be your support person is questioned.

I also have to wonder if as many partners actually feel happy with being relied on to be the support person as women claim. Many women are quick to say, "My partner wouldn't want to be anywhere else..." But is there partner actually asked if he wants to be at the birth in a way that doesn't make "the baddie" if he says no? How often to men go along with their assumed role as support person because they believe it's their obligation, not their choice, and because they feel shame or guilt for not actually wanting the position of support person...

When I told my Dh, during the pregnancy of our third child, that he was welcome not to attend, at first he didn't seem sure. Maybe he thought he'd upset me if he admitted he didn't want to be at the birth, or maybe, as he put it, it was his job to be there... Eventually, I told him he'd be doing me a favour by staying home with the kids, and letting me just do my thing at the hospital with my friends. The protests stopped, and hopefully so did the guilt, because after the birth we were all a lot more relaxed. This time around, I'm not sure what will happen. I think we both still don't want him at the birth, LOL, but with it being a homebirth, that might be difficult to arrange, especially if as last time, it happens at 1am...

Comments

Stitch Sista said…
Totally with you on this one. Although apparently we're dinosaurs for thinking this way LOL :P.

The first birth, DH was awake as long as I was, and was absolutely wrecked. If it weren't for him I may not have agreed to the ARM (and yk shouldn't he have been there ensuring that didn't happen?).

The second time, all good until the bugger puts his back out and ends up totally immobile until an ambulance takes him to hospital 3 days after the birth. Great birth - extremely traumatic post partum period. Not sure DH would link the two, (his presence at the birth with his untimely back issues) but for me it's pretty hard not to.

So yk, whatever will spare us that trauma is a good thing in my eyes ;).
Sif said…
So, are you banning him from doing anything physical in the next three weeks or so??? I would!

Dave always manages to twist his ankle or his knee *just* when I need his support, not to be supporting him, I'm sure it's a subconscious conspiracy on his part!!!
Stitch Sista said…
Ah if only I could Sif. Well he's not super physical anyway atm...just whatever running around he does at work.

He's still quite defensive about that time after M's birth - he thinks I'm saying it's 'all in his mind'. Which I'm not at all. I absolutely believe he has a physical condition (these back problems aren't new and he's had them on and off for many many years) - it's just when they flare up that strikes me as more than a coincidence!

Hey there must be studies about this stuff...man flu and the like...and if not, there should be ROFL!!

Popular posts from this blog

12 Things Happy People Do Differently - a self-reflection...

A few days ago a Facebook friend posted the above poster on her wall. I believe she got these points from this blog which she enjoys reading, and the bloggers on the Marc and Angel Hack Life blog derived their discussion of these points from this book, available on Amazon - you're welcome! I have to admit, I haven't read the blog or the book I've just mentioned but wanted my readers to have access to the sources of the poster for their own reflective purposes.
The New Year will be upon us in but a few days and I thought this a great opportunity to do a little personal assessment on how I'm playing the happy game. I'm often not very happy at all - I don't need to be happy all the time, let me just say that up front - I personally believe that life is a balancing act and those who seek euphoria often will also often feel desolation because in all things there must be balance. The great riches of the few on this planet come at the personal cost of the many as is …

The symbolism of elephants...

Just recently I've been seeing and noticing elephants everywhere!

A few weeks ago I saw the Samsung Elephant Ad, and watching that led me to watching a video with an elephant painting (seriously, you have to watch it to believe it!).

Then last night the boys told me they were having a free dress day at school to raise money for 'Mali the Elephant' - who turned out to be a paper maché statue which the children will paint and then show around the council before it comes back to the school to stand outside the performing arts room.

Then this morning I followed a link from Twitter to Toushka Lee's blog and read this post about an elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka.

This morning the Grumpy Old Man did another driving test and unfortunately didn't pass. We've booked his next test and are looking forward to that now. About ten minutes before he walked in the door I saw this poster on Facebook...


At the time, I didn't know if the Grumpy Old Man had been successful or …

Do you have low self-esteem?

I don't.

I used to think I did, but having met several people who really do have low self-esteem, I've now come to realise I actually have low confidence (and note I don't say low self-confidence, but more on that later), and that is a different breed of animal all together.

I was having a chat with a friend the other day about people who constantly put themselves down. If you are a participant in social media you might be aware of this kind of person. Everyone is smarter than them, prettier than them, more motivated, better organised, or has greater talent than them. It goes further, some of these people are not at all opposed to running themselves down to others with comments like, 'I'm so fat' (and not in a proud, fat acceptance way, but in a negative, self-loathing kind of way), or 'I'm stupid' or 'I'm ugly'.

Some people are just fishing for compliments, of course, but the ones who persist; the ones who simply cannot take a complimen…