DISCUSSIONMen and Birth (self.RedPillWomen)

submitted by WonderfulandValuable

Men are often not considered before, during and after the birth. Not by their women, not by the docs, midwifes, doulas etc. I watched some movies and I found the portrayal of men during birth scenes horrid. The disrespect and amount of abuse thrown at them was overwhelming. I also read many many stories where women (snowflake like and so so special) recounted how their men were desperately trying to support them and getting unnoticed or reprimanded by staff, yelled at by their women and still thought of at superfluous.

How do you think about this topic? What are your Experiences?

After I gave birth my midwife was flabbergasted at me not even once blaming my DH for pain or discomfort. Instead I focused on making sure that he stayed as informed and respected as possible by any and all medical staff. (Birth Plan!) I also made sure to seek his opinion directly before allowing a procedure suggested. (I saw him eying the machine with the laughing gas suspiciously)

I also made sure that the docs did not pressure him to cut the cord-something he did not know he could do. (He did despite being faced with a good amount of body fluids and he felt empowered at being the one to cut the connection between LO and me - making him able to participate in bonding with LO properly)

He was also invited to help with the measuring and weighting. It was him who handed LO to me- again an acknowledgement of him being my Husband and the father of LO.

During PP he had ample opportunity to relax and bond in peace. I did not make him do things for me, as I read and saw is all too common. I loved being able to park Lo on him and shower while they had time together.

We learn together, we joke about the midwife checking up on us and her telling us that LO might feel a bit too hot with the clothes on DH put on LO. (It was 36°C and LO had a thick body on and wool socks, DH exchanged the body with a lighter one and removed the socks entirely.)

Things I will improve if we get into the situation again:

- involve DH more in the appointments during Pregnancy

- write it out more clearly that he is to be respected during the birth


[–]artemis286 24 points25 points  (1 child)

So I'm a nurse and a doula and worked at a freestanding birth center as well, so I've witnessed many different senarios accross the spectrum.

I defintely saw environments where the men (who were not always the fathers) were treated as bumbling fools with no right to be there. But by the same token, there were also many many men who were entirely intimidated by the birth process and did not want to be involved or consulted in any way, and were completely aloof and uninvolved by their own choice. So I think it's important to remember that those staff may also be going off past experiences with men who are nervous, rude, and uninvolved.

On the other side, I also witnessed and participated in many birth experiences where the fathers were involved, respected, and treated as an integral part of the birthing process. As a doula, we often taught about how much the environment effects birth, and how feeling safe, loved, and protected actually speeds up labor, decreases pain perception, and lowers risk of interventions. So we often empowered fathers to know just how integral they were, and the definite effect they could have. I found that many fathers felt helpless at first, afraid of a process they didn't understand and felt they had no part in. But once they learned more, and were given tools to help, many fathers rose to the challenge and were some of the best supporters! I got to witness two amazing births in particular where the father was holding the mother, comforting her, helping her into various advantageous positions, and really respected the feminine power of birth and it was amazing!

But even with all that education and support, we still had many fathers who didn't want to be too involved. So honestly, I think it's just as much an internal issue among men as it is an external societal issue, in my experience.

My husband, and many who are in our circle and our religion, truly revere motherhood and womanhood. Many fathers in my church have recounted stories of being full participants in the birth of their children, and those being some of the most spiritual and life changing experiences they've ever had. My husband fully plans to be right in the birth pool with me, and sees himself as a full partner. So I think it also heavily depends on the culture men are raised in surrounding birth. It's a very complicated issue for sure, with many different factors for different families.

[–]WonderfulandValuable[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I am in Doula Training. I witnessed a birth where a young man was being ostracized for being there , desperately wanting to help and yet not wanting to get as hands on as madam wanted. She called him things that made me blush, blaming him for the pain and her problems. (Very out of shape, not able to properly squat) since her midwife was capable I focused on the father to be. In the end I said: I think now a sincere apology to your man is in order! Madam stared at me dumbfounded.

[–]teenMom86 14 points15 points  (2 children)

While it’s nice that men aren’t banished to the waiting room with a box of cigars anymore, sometimes I wonder if the pendulum hasn’t swung too far in the other direction. We are all- men and women- taught that fathers NEED to watch the birth of their children, to coach their wives through it even, and anything else is weak/ unsupportive.

Now, my husband was great and he says the experience was incredible for him (although how many men would tell their wives otherwise?). I’m glad he was there, but I probably would have labored differently if he hadn’t been. It wasn’t a conscious choice at the time (and possibly my imagination) but I could just FEEL him and how much he wanted to ease the pain somehow. I found myself reassuring him that it wasn’t too bad, vocalizing less during contractions etc. It was still fine and we had lots of sweet moments, but I can see why for millennia it was a “women only” space. My wonderful midwife duo did more to put me at ease with their calm demeanor and decades of experience.

[–]Xtinamina 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I agree 100% with this. It's very difficult to try to deal with someone else's emotions while you are just trying to focus on yourself. I truly believe that having less people there, the better. And I think the best people to have there are people who will be calm and know what they are doing, like professionals.

[–]WonderfulandValuable[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I did not want DH with me in the final stage - something he enthusiastically agreed upon beforehand.

[–]RubyWooToo3 Stars 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Other than emotional support, the most critical role of a husband during pregnancy and childbirth is being the mother and baby’s advocate... he should be respected and well-informed enough to speak up with something doesn’t seem right, ask for second opinions, and step in to make decisions if his wife can’t speak for herself.

My father’s intervention during my mother’s delivery likely prevented me from getting seriously injured when she was giving birth.

When I gave birth to my twins and was a puddle of pain and postpartum misery, I relied so much on my husband’s leadership and ability to make clear headed decisions. I don’t think I could’ve survived that first month with a lesser man.

[–]Flockofpuppies 19 points20 points  (1 child)

During the birth itself, I think the focus of the mother and the medical team should be entirely on the baby. It's a medical procedure, birth trauma does happen and can have lifelong consequences for the child.

There are seasons of giving and taking in a relationship, and this is a time where a father has a big opportunity to give.

[–]WonderfulandValuable[S] -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Name calling is not necessary in order to give birth! There is no excuse for it and the damage it does is profound!

[–][deleted] 6 points7 points  (0 children)

My father (doc in Obstetrics & genealogy at the time) actually handled the birth for my siblings and I.

As a child I loved hearing stories growing up of just how involved and important my dad was during our births. It’s definitely a vital part of parenthood that I will share with my future husband.

[–][deleted] 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Woe to the medical staff who thinks my husband is there for strictly moral support or disregards me in front of him, they're gonna learn.

With our daughter my epidural fell out, so I got a surprise natural child birth. Had he not been there our plan wouldn't have been followed, because I wasn't in a position to advocate for myself. I learned later that not following the plan was a casual thing to them if something would be easier, let alone medically necessary. So again, I'd never go into a delivery room alone with a plan and the assumption they'll follow it. Then they screwed up the ONE THING that was entirely on them and left a piece of placenta in my uterus for me to hemorrhage with a week later. Certainly glad my husband isn't squeamish because that was a horrorshow.

For our son he was with me to find an OBGYN, we passed on 2 and went with one that didn't think preparation for potential outcomes was a waste of time. It was a very different experience, flawless delivery.

I see the responses here about men not participating in deliveries. I don't have a problem with that as everyone should do them. I just personally feel like if my body is his playground he should be able to handle the major events it goes through as well, and there's nothing more major than childbirth. Plus I only plan on being married once, what happens when we get old and rely more and more on healthcare? Is a guy that can't speak up in front of medical staff for something as average as pregnancy going to be my best ally if, say, cancer strikes? Is that same guy going to be in his feels if there's puke everywhere and hair is falling out? From a growing old together perspective I would be concerned at medical avoidance.

[–]Theflowerswillbloom 5 points6 points  (0 children)

My husband actually delivered our child (not planned!) at home. He was gentle, kind, in control and gave me so much peace. Without him supporting me in that moment, I truly don't know what I would have done. While we would never wish for the same to happen again; it was honestly the most beautiful moment of our lives, where we felt truly connected and in the moment with each other and daughter before the ambulance arrived. I'm sure our love grew so much in that moment, and I was unbelievably proud of what he had done.

Throughout my first pregnancy, my husband was always very involved (he came with me to most appointments, we did online antenatal classes together etc), which he always felt prepared him for our daughters surprise birth. While I had a shower after the birth, he had skin to skin cuddles with our daughter and they really bonded.

This time around, he's been just as involved in everything which is so lovely and really appreciated by me. I would never pressure him to be more involved than he is comfortable with, but it's a role he seems to want to take on. He is fairly comfortable asking questions, and the midwives have been generally good at involving him too.

I think it's important to have respect for the dad, as I know they can often feel useless and in the way. You just have to decide between yourselves what that will look like practically. I also remember letting my husband know it was okay for him to take some time for himself/have a sleep etc while I was in early labour, as it can be very draining for the dad as well.

[–]nowyougotdryballs 4 points5 points  (1 child)


[–]thatsscary 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Little one I assume :)

[–]Kara__El1 Star 20 points21 points  (1 child)

My husband doesn't want me to have a c-section, unless absolutely necessary, because it's more dangerous for me and the baby. Literally every single woman I've told this to has been appalled that he thinks he gets a say in the life of his wife and child. They're the same women who complain about the men in their own lives being too passive. It's disgusting.

[–]littlemisslasagna 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I am a doula and I love seeing involved fathers! There’s also a childbirth preparation class called The Bradley Method that teaches husbands to be the labor coach for their wife, which can be very connecting and empowering! Also, there’s a book called Spiritual Midwifery that shares a bunch of positive homebirth stories. Many of the husbands in that book were making out with their wives and loving on them all the way through labor and up until the actual birth. Love got the baby in and it helps get the baby out ;)

[–]kaylin_xx3 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I have a 9 month old. My husband was there the whole time and was at times more emotional than I was. I didn't have an epidural and was in the worst pain of my life (understatement). He was very involved and I didn't want him to leave my side. My midwife and labor nurse were awesome and encouraging, nothing but good things to say about how involved my husband was. He was so encouraging during pushing that the nurse said he would make a great doula lol. I told him in the months leading up to delivery that I didn't want him to "watch" the birth, but to be up at my head and hold my hand. He looked anyway, and apologized after the birth and said it was just too cool to not look. And his sexual attraction to me has not changed.

He always thought I would be yelling at him during labor and delivery but I never did. I always just told him it was my choice as well as his to have a child, and I knew how it would end! My nurse and midwife said several times we were an awesome couple. He was involved in cutting the cord, weighing/measuring, and got some skin to skin in a while after I did. He cried when we first saw our son, and although I was very happy and emotional, I did not. No one gave him any flack for that, or made any comments about men being unable to handle blood - and there was definitely lots of blood, which worried my husband, nurse, and midwife.

This has definitely made me think about asking my husband his experience that day, and if he would do anything differently, or if anyone made him feel uninvolved or left out of the experience. It will be a while - years - before we do it again, but I think it's important to discuss this.

[–]dashdotdott 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Oh I totally asked why he had "done this to me" when I was in labor with my last (it never came up with the first two kids). I just asked him about it and he said "you were alone and I know what you meant". I was (I said it to him over the phone), he barely made it home in time to catch the baby.

I think there is some truth to the husband's being nervous and not really knowing what to do. Especially when the wife is obviously in pain and his key role is to protect. There isn't much he can do to stop the pain.

Edit: As far as movies and TV goes, I have yet to see one that wasn't a documentary accurately portray child birth. Not even remotely close. A point my husband made to an EMT when I was giving birth to my second child (I've only managed to make it to the hospital before the baby was born once).

[–]WonderfulandValuable[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Did you apologize ?

[–]dashdotdott 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I have a vague memory doing so the first time he brought it up. But, everything is a bit fuzzy the first few days postpartum. When I asked him about it the other day, he was very matter of fact.

[–]merel-- 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Honestly, I think men aren't really supposed to be there during the late stages. It's absolutely terrifying for them and it's supposed to be a "womens thing". Having the older women in the family guiding you through that process and caring for you. It's a sacred feminine ritual, we don't need masculine energy in this process.

[–]cocodecoca 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I agree. My husband went ghost white when the baby was coming out and I'm surprised he didn't faint. Made me start panicking that something was wrong. Next time I want my mother there so my husband can just observe it and not have to do the pep talk and fruit juice supplying. The only useful thing he did was run me a bath. Bless him. Men aren't used to feeling like the most useless person in the room. I think he'd be the first person to admit that he had no idea what to do, even with direction from my midwife. My husband is my emotional strength, and he's a strong man, but not in that situation!

[–]aussiedollface2 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I believe that in most cases it is not beneficial for men to be down “the business end” during childbirth. xo

[–]nukessolveprblms 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yeah, during my labor there was some scary moments and I remember asking my husband “how are you doing? Are you ok?” And my mom was surprised I was asking about him during my labor. But there were real concerns with babes heartbeat and it was scary, why wouldn’t I ask? Idk, in my single experience it wasn’t terrible and women can still be kind to their SOs if they’re there trying to be supportive.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

So, I’m of two minds with this. No, I dont think men should be disrespected during the birth of their children, but i also don’t think it should be about them either.

I wasn’t mean to my husband when we had our daughter, he was there the whole time, I never once blamed him like you see on tv or anything like that. But I also didn’t ask for his input when it came to certain interventions. I was in pain and they offered me a shot of morphine, I took it without a second thought, I didn’t ask my husband. When I asked for an epidural that was not up for debate.

As for making my husband do stuff for me, I didn’t make him, but I did ask a lot of him, and to his credit he did it all. Needed ice chips? He went and got them, needed help repositioning myself because huge belly and epidural? He helped me. Needed help getting up off the bed after the birth? He helped me every time, no complaint. Baby needed to be nursed? He’d hand her to me, get her ready and change her after. I am so grateful that I have a loving partner who was so involved in the birth and post partum and who really is an amazing dad. But even he will tell you he wouldn’t feel right making birthing decisions, because he wasn’t the one giving birth.

So while I do think men should be included in the birth, I think we also need to respect that the woman is the one actually birthing the child.