“As a man, you think birth is a woman’s thing. My first two daughters were born through C-section. You watch the doctors and nurses do their stuff and the baby is born. You think it’s normal, to sit there and see your partner have the baby taken out of her. But my last three children were different experiences. My wife wanted to take classes and she assured me that the class was as much for the father as it was for the mother. Reluctantly I agreed. Happy wife, happy life, right?
As we progressed through the classes my view on birth began to change. A man could be an integral part of the birthing process. Not only did I gain knowledge of technical terms, that I have heard but didn’t know the meaning, I learned ways to possibly make the birth a better experience for my wife.
When the birth day arrived, I was anxious but I felt prepared. My wife experienced pain, a natural thing, but I felt I was able to alleviate a lot to undo stress and pain with techniques learned in the classes. Going through the stages of birth together and having an active role in the birth gave me a different perspective: birthing doesn’t have to be just for the mother, the father can play an integral part in the process . Instead of watching my children being born, I was assisting with the birth of my children, I was a part of the birth and that is and always will be one of the greatest feelings in my life.” -Testimony provided by Jonathan O’Neill.
A majority of us have learned at some point in our adolescent education that the anatomy and physiology of men and women are equipped in very different ways, primarily for the purpose of reproduction. What isn’t taught in personal health or biology is the effects of hormone levels when a woman is anxious and stressed out about this huge life-changing event, and what her partner can do to help ease the situation.
Generally, future fathers-to-be are not given a picture of what the stages of labor are and the comfort measures that could be used to ease their partners physical pain or the possible emergent situations that could take place. Above all, neither individual is schooled in the positive steps that can be taken to make this a collaborative and successful journey.
There are some great resources out on the web, but your health care provider should be your first “go-to” place for information. If you and your partner are even the slightest bit curious about more aspects of pregnancy, labor, and postpartum care, look into educating yourselves from reputable sources of information. This can come in the form of childbirth education and newborn care classes, hospital courses for expectant parents, and even doulas or midwives.
Mahina is a mother, educator, wife, and doula whose articles offer a variety of topics that are common amongst expectant parents and span from prenatal to postpartum. Her unique delivery of straddling both “mommy” and “daddy” perspectives is meant to encourage communication and collaboration between the expectant couple. She is co-owner of Hānau LLC, which offers a variety of services spanning prenatal, birth, to postpartum.