Advanced search

Got questions about giving birth? Know what to expect and when to expect it, with the Mumsnet Pregnancy Calendar.

My husband is scared of childbirth - help!

(46 Posts)
TallyHoAndToodlePip Sat 17-Dec-16 08:02:34

Sorry for the long, upcoming post.

My DH and I are expecting out first child next April and we're very happy excited about becoming parents. I'm not worried about childbirth. My biggest fears are pooing myself in front of everyone and tearing. blush confused

He however is terrified of childbirth. As the months roll by its becoming apparent that it's really getting to him. He won't discuss it or show me that he's scared (trying to support me and be strong for me etc.) but I know it's there.

His biggest fear is that something will happen to me and the baby and that he'll lose me or both of us. He's also scared of me having to have a cesarean, planned or emergency, because it's 'major surgery' in his eyes.

He has started having nightmares about this most nights too. I wake in the night with him hugging me tight and cradling my bump, breathing like he's scared. That's the only time he shows it to me - when he can't hide it. I ask in the morning if he wants to talk about them and he just shakes his head. Can't even say 'no' out loud.

He has a fear of hospitals too which isn't helping. He's really happy that I've chosen to give birth in a hospital because of all the medical staff on hand for emergency scenarios, but ultimately he fears them because, in the past, when his loved ones have gone in they haven't come out. I've tried explaining that this will be different and have a happy ending but he's still fearful.

I've tried being gentle by giving him facts that should ultimately reassure him but he just freaks out and walks away saying he doesn't want to discuss it because 'it'll just be one more thing that he'll be worrying about' sad

How can I help him? A woman in his position would receive help I'm sure but I don't know what can be done for him? I don't want him to suffer like this. Normally I'm the insecure one in our relationship and he's there to hold me up. I've never seen him like this before over anything.

Also, please don't berate him in anyway because 'I'm the one giving birth and not him so he shouldn't be scared'. He's a truly wonderful man who cares about me and our baby deeply. We've been together 13 years and I'm basically all the family he has.

Thanks for reading.

gamerchick Sat 17-Dec-16 08:07:21

Ah poor thing, he must be living with a massive ball of anxiety sad

Personally I would speak to my midwife and arrange a visit to the delivery suit. If he has a look about it might help because he has a picture in his head of where his baby is going to be born.

Is there noone he gets on with who has kids who could maybe try get him to open up. Sometimes talking about it can help.

SVJAA Sat 17-Dec-16 08:07:55

I'm sorry that you and he are going through this, I think he sounds lovely.
Could he speak to a medical professional before the birth? Someone who could put his mind at ease, explain things to him in logical terms, to take the emotions out of it iyswim.
It's completely normal to feel all the things he's feeling, I felt them when I was pregnant, and he's just afraid because bundled up inside you is his whole world (you and the baby).
My calm, ex forces, unflappable DP panicked when DD was born breech and the crash team came running in and everyone was shouting and nobody was telling him or me what was happening. He said afterwards it's because he felt so utterly helpless and could only watch DD and me in distress (we were both totally fine btw)
It might be worth mentioning it to the midwife, she could offer some advice or reassurance or direct you to the right place to help.
Congratulations on your pregnancy, I hope both of you can relax enough to enjoy it smile

SVJAA Sat 17-Dec-16 08:09:05

Also, if the anxiety continues would he seek help from the GP? My anxiety kicked off a million times worse when I'd just had a baby, everything felt very scary.

FlappysMammyAndPopeInExile Sat 17-Dec-16 08:12:27

Mine fainted (how very original) when I was taken into the maternity suite.

I had to have an emergency section (flexed breech baby) and it is major surgery - but it's major surgery that they are skilled and experienced in carrying out. We were both absolutely fine.

Cinnamon2013 Sat 17-Dec-16 08:16:02

Poor guy. And given his experiences of hospitals it sounds very natural to have fear. I'm a woman and had all the same anxieties around birth. I fixated on the very unlikely negative things - stats did nothing to reassure me. What helped was - counselling, talking to doctors, nct class (husband also found this useful), yoga, hypnobirthing, talking to friends, seeing the birth suite/labour ward etc etc. None of these are gender-specific and your partner might be open to giving one of them a try? It seems quite weird now how much money we put towards it because it all turned out fine (actually was an emergency c-section but still I'd say it was a good birth) but it's a big deal. You sound amazing and kind. Nct and hypno you can generally do with your partner, nice thing to do together and really think it would help him. Good luck

DoubleCarrick Sat 17-Dec-16 08:16:44

Poor thing, it's horrible being terrified of something which is so out of your control.

I guess your reaction to him needs to be based on if he's going to engage with things. DH was concerned about childbirth but we ended up doing a hypnobirthing course - we chose to have 1:1 so she could answer any questions. Mostly we ended up asking lots of questions about the science of childbirth, about the hormones, what the body does, when and why, etc. By having all his questions answered, dh now seems calmer. He's been told about his role in the hormone production and exactly how he can help so it's given him a focus and an active role.

However, I will say he's currently obsessively decorating so the anxiety is still there somewhat.

I'll check back incase you want to know any more - the first few chapters of my hypno book give a really good history of birth all based on how well women's bodies are designed to give birth, etc. It could be the reassurance that he needs

Cinnamon2013 Sat 17-Dec-16 08:17:39

Just realised we've all described quite dramatic births (in order to say even those are fine, ultimately) but obviously there's every chance yours will be much more straightforward

divadee Sat 17-Dec-16 08:17:45

I could of written your post OP. My other half had a traumatic birth experience himself that his family have since told him about. His dad was basically asked which one he wanted to save, mum or my other half (yes I do get a bit mad they told him all this when he was a teenager).

He is terrified about me giving birth. I try and tell him that it will all be ok, but anxiety doesn't work that way. Lots of positive stories from the midwives are helping him. And taking him to every midwife appointment is helping him to as he feels more in control and knows exactly what is happening at all stages. As I am getting closer (now 34 weeks) he doesn't really like talking about labour, and he has gone quieter. We are hoping for a home birth as a lot of evidence say men feel more in control being in their own environment.

PotteringAlong Sat 17-Dec-16 08:19:47

Also, I don't know why you've put a c-section in inverted commas as "major surgery" in his eyes... it IS major surgery. Routine, yes but still major.

birdybirdywoofwoof Sat 17-Dec-16 08:22:48

One answer might be to get someone else to support you - mum, sister, friend?

He can stay home, watch James Bond movies and eat crisps (yesdh I'm thinking of you)

BToperator Sat 17-Dec-16 08:23:22

I clicked on this thread all ready to say, that he needs to man up, and get a grip, but it does sound like he is really struggling. Would he go for some counselling? You are going to need his support when the time comes, and at the moment it doesn't sound like he is going to be able to cope.

NiceFalafels Sat 17-Dec-16 08:24:09

Talk to the HV as this relates hugely to your pregnancy. I would ask the health visitor to come to your house to discuss this with you both or ask him to attend your next appointment. He needs reassurance and a progressional can do this. Prewarn HV so that she understands how serious this is. He's going to ruin your birth if he's not careful.

NiceFalafels Sat 17-Dec-16 08:26:20

Also use cold facts. You can probably research and find about birth death percentages on line. So you can tell him no, facts say I'm 99.99999 % going to be alive after

SVJAA Sat 17-Dec-16 08:26:45

Just realised we've all described quite dramatic births (in order to say even those are fine, ultimately) but obviously there's every chance yours will be much more straightforward

Fair point, I should have said the crash team and medical intervention wasn't needed for DDs birth, and both boys were straightforward births. Sorry if I worried you!

TallyHoAndToodlePip Sat 17-Dec-16 08:28:55

Pottering: Sorry, when I said 'major surgery' I was trying to get across the emphasis that he puts on it. I understand it very much is that but as Flappys said, there is skill and experience to it. Dont get me wrong, I don't want one if i can help it but I'm confident everything will be OK if it happens. He on the other hand is not. I wasn't trying to sell it short. blush

Just wanted to add that quick but I'm just going to have a thorough read through your responses now.

Thank all you very much for your answers so far and for replying so quickly! smile

alltouchedout Sat 17-Dec-16 08:28:58

I'd speak to my midwifery team. Your dh can't be the first man to have this level of anxiety over his partner giving birth and they may have suggestions for help he can access. And he does need help, both for his sake and yours. You really don't need to be worrying about his fear when you're giving birth and he must be feeling awful.

NiceFalafels Sat 17-Dec-16 08:34:52

I think it's 1 in 7000 for you. Many will have pre existing health conditions. uk is in the middle. Not the best or worst chances.

Dozer Sat 17-Dec-16 08:35:04

I think he should seek some professional help with his anxiety. It sounds severe. His GP will be able to advise on NHS services.

I had a lot of help with anxiety during my second pregnancy - I was lucky to be able to afford private counselling from a BACP registered practitioner.

Please also let your midwives know, in particular so they can support YOU.

It might also be that for your sake he shouldn't be present for the birth, unless he addresses the anxiety and can handle it.

Dozer Sat 17-Dec-16 08:35:53

Trying to rationalise with him is unlikely to help: anxiety is irrational!

justwanttoweeinpeace Sat 17-Dec-16 08:36:46

Bless him. I'd suggest CBT and the NCT forthwith.

Congratulations on your pregnancy!

HumphreyCobblers Sat 17-Dec-16 08:41:18

hypnotherapy? Anti anxiety meds? He sounds in a terrible state, poor thing. And poor you too.

Have you considered having another birth partner in case he really cannot cope at the time, someone who is happy to fade into the background if it turns out ok with your DH?

mouldycheesefan Sat 17-Dec-16 08:44:23

It's is major surgery! He is right. You are actually undermining his concerns e.g "major surgery" in inverted commas. Your post made me cross actually. You profess to be concerned about him but in reality you are dismissive of his concerns.

Casmama Sat 17-Dec-16 08:44:45

I would recommend hypnobirthing too as I think it may help his anxiety to use some of the techniques himself and would give him a role to play supporting you.

Dozer Sat 17-Dec-16 09:11:56

Hypnobirthing stuff might be fine for people with mild anxiety, as a form of "self care", but OP's H sounds to have severe anxiety, so professional help is likely to be needed.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: