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AIBU to expect my DH to be at the birth?!(48 Posts)
To cut a long story short- my DH runs his own small/medium size company and his mobile normally rings off the hook from 7am-6pm on weekdays. Some of the phone calls are not very important, and some need urgentish action to fix an issue/ prevent the business losing money... I work full time and most of the time take home a bit more than him. I'm expecting a baby in September, which is a busy time for the business (I know, bad planning). DH has previously mentioned that he might not be at the birth as he doesn't have anyone in the office to cover him and can't afford to get admin in to cover him. We argued about it again today, and I told him that I expect him to prioritise me and the baby on the day that I go into labour and when I call I expect him to meet me at hospital as soon as he can...he said he might not be able to as he might struggle to leave the office/not take calls. He said that anything could happen, a employee might have an emergency and need urgent help!! I said that I might have an emergency and need his help!! We know that the signal is non existent in the labour ward, so he's worried about what calls he's going to miss. All I care about is that he's there for the birth as he will never be able to replace that moment. We also didn't particularly want our families involved in the birth, as we feel they stress us out, but if there's a chance he's not going to be there for the whole labour I'm thinking I might need to put my mum on the birth plan as a birthing partner?
Sorry to waffle on, hope it makes sense!
Honestly, my biggest issue is this doesn't bode well generally. If he can't be around for the birth, is he going to be around for the newborn/toddler/child, or is everything to going to fall to you?
I think he needs to show he means to be a hands on parent, and that means being at the birth. You need to sit down and tell him it's not just the birth, but especially if you are also working, he needs to be able to do nursery runs, be home for bath time, cook meals, do his share of cooking and cleaning.
So, put it bluntly, ask him if his business or you and the baby are the priority. If it's his business, tell him you seriously need think about effectively parenting single handedly, and whether you'll be better off doing that outside the marriage.
What if you end up with a section- what's he going to do then when you'll need pretty much constant help for at least a couple of days (in my case 2 weeks). It's 1-2 days out of his entire bloody life if all goes well. I get the impression he has no idea what it's going to be like- send him down the pub with a friend who is a Dad to fill him in
What would happen if he didn't answer the phone or left the office? If this is your main source of income, I can understand the anxiety around not wanting to lose money but he is going to need to prioritise you.
Can he get someone in on a short term contract or an employee to cover with instructions to call only if it's a critical situation as a compromise?
Thanks for your comments. I know that he wants to be at the birth, but he's also worried that the business will go bust if he isn't contactable for a few hours/day. Not many of his phone calls are THAT urgent, so I think he's just being awkward and thinking worst case. I've told him that I'll need his support through the labour and the birth, and shouldn't have to do it alone. I've told him that I would divorce him if he missed the birth because he choice to take a few phone calls instead of being there, he thinks this is a threat but I really can't see myself forgiving him.
Currently, I'm out of the house from 8:30-5:30 and he's normally out from 7:00-6:30. I used to do pretty much all of the house work but since being pregnant I've struggled with tiredness and I've told him that he needs to do more. Since then he's been sorting dinner most nights and doing most of the washing etc. I pretty much get home and sit down/lie down. At the weekend he's been sorting the nursery etc when I get on with easier house work. So basically he is pulling is weight at the moment. The chances are he won't be able to take 2 weeks paternity leaves off after the baby is born, but hopefully he can work from home a bit or work short days. I understand that the business is in jeopardy and that we would really struggle financially if it goes bust, especially during my mat leave. I'm also hoping to go part time until DC is in school. My family live locally so I do have other support. He's lived with his mates young kids/babies before so he should know how much work they are, but sometimes I wonder whether he thinks I'll be sat down chilling during my mat leave! I think he's in for a shock!
YANBU at all! I would have been massively upset if DH had said this.
As @Mabel said - what are the repercussions of closing the office at short notice? I can't think of any business model that the owner shouldn't be capable of organising a temporary replacement or at worst, a receptionist to take messages and clear the calendar when you are due.
If he can't manage a few hours with you how will he cope helping after the birth and sharing time off when you're back at work and your child is ill. Time to get his priorities straight.
I understand that the business is in jeopardy and that we would really struggle financially if it goes bust, especially during my mat leave. I'm also hoping to go part time until DC is in school. My family live locally so I do have other support
I dunno I was with you until this ^^ maybe it would be wise to put other support in place also. Maternity leave with a husband out of work and depressed would be more stressful than giving birth with another family member supporting me imo.
He will not miss the birth!!! He needs to let all his employees and clients know that his wife is expecting a baby in September and he may be out of reach for a day or two. All going well that's all it will be. My dh is self employed and did come to the birth of our first child but went straight back to work a few hours later, he also worked such long hours during her first few years that he missed out hugely and they don't have a great relationship now, something he regrets. Because I ended up doing 99% of everything for the first child it took a long time for me to be ready to have a second one. This time the birth was the same and the next day my friend collected me from hospital as he was too busy!!! He was more involved with our second as I was ill and unable to do much to begin with so they are much closer. I think you need a guarantee from your dh that he will not leave you alone for the birth, that he will not miss out on such a monumental event and if he can't, do that then make alternative arrangements. Be prepared to do all the baby stuff alone though, that is hard especially with the first.
It is clearly ridiculous for him to make himself available to clients 24/7. Is the business on the verge of going bust, or is he selfish/unthinking? He either needs to give his head a wobble and choose to step up to the responsibilities of parenting, or start applying for jobs ready for when the business collapses.
I had a similar issue with my DH - self employed and the bread winner so was hesitant about what days he could take off etc etc for the birth and immediately after. I took him to a labour class at my local hospital and that really opened his eyes to the reality of what was about to happen to me, he then spoke to some other first time dads and realised that this isn't just a blip in the calender!
Have you got any friends he could speak to? It sounds like he needs to face into the reality of what is about to happen - which can be harder for dads because they don't have a baby moving inside of them to remind them of what is coming!
My husband attended the birth of DS and looking back I wish I had hired a doula. DH had no experience of birth and I now know (because it's an ongoing argument) he doesn't take the initiative. He "needs" to be told what to do
all the freaking time.
Personally, I would really weigh the pros and cons of your husband being there from your point of view only ("he will never be able to replace that moment", true but maybe he needs to learn that for himself).
Research shows that you've got more chance of a spontaneous delivery if your birth partner is someone with experience of birth and who's not from the staff (if DH has never attended birth before then he's not the best person for you. I really wish I'd understood that before planning my birth with DH. He was a disappointment because he was simply there as an observer, that's it.)
All I'm saying is I don't know who's right/wrong but considering other scenarios might proove a blessing in the end.
Good luck 🍀
He says that If he leaves the office unmanned the employees won't have any support and if their work goes wrong (which to be fair happens a a lot) they might not know what to do next, how to fix the problem etc. Which could result in him pissing the client off and him losing a major contract. I've always said to him that he needs to teach them how to fix issues themselves more rather than putting it on him, but he says that isn't possible etc etc. He can pay for one employee to work in he office but it will cost about 2k to get him to cover for the few weeks around my due date. When I've had the baby he's thinking he will be able to get this guy in the office as he'll have a bit of notice (from when I go on labour) to change work around. I honestly don't get his mindset, as I can't think of anything that could be more important that being at the birth! God knows what he'll do If I have a section and need him to take the lead- as far as I'm concerned he will have to drop everything and just be there!
Thanks for your replies- because I'm really hormonal at the moment I wanted to check that I was thinking clearly! I think I'll send him a long detailed text, as I think sometimes he doesn't listen to me during an argument and just naturally wants to argue back to everything I say without considering whether I'm right or not.
He needs to act now and put things in place for the birth and shortly after. That may mean putting an email signature on now saying "Office closed x - y date" so no one is surprised, or hiring an admin person at £7.50 an hour to answer the phone with "Hello, Bob's widgets, may I take a message for Bob?"
I empathise- work for myself, due in September and struggling to delegate, but he needs to get his priorities straight.
Sorry OP but he sounds like he'll make a useless tit of a father. What happens whenever your child is unwell? Will you be expected to make all the career/financial sacrifices because he is
too useless an employer too busy and important to train his staff?
I'm in the same situation as EH BTW - self employed and due in September. My DH is self-employed too. I'm not claiming maternity allowance because then I wouldn't be able to respond to clients who get in touch with a problem; the upside of the MA is not worth the risk of 'shutting up shop' and losing a client. But even my most annoying clients will understand me not being able to respond the week after I give birth. My DH's too; he's also self-employed.
Is the business on the verge of going bust because your dh is a control freak.
If there is a chance that the business could go under because your dh isn't able to.take a few phone calls for a few hours I would say the business sounds like it is probably on its last legs.
Knowing that you need someone their when you are in labour and the father has prioritised a few phone calls over being there for the birth of his first child would for me feel like a wall been erected and you and your baby are on one side and your dh and his failing business on the other. Personally I wouldn't be able to get over that
He's being a dick. He's saying he can't train anyone to handle his absence, and can't afford anyone to cover him. What has he said about closing the office entirely for a couple of days? Letting all clients and staff know nothing will be happening, so he doesn't need to train anyone and no clients will be suddenly let down?
I am aghast that he isn't prioritising this!
He can't train anyone to be a half decent employee? Maybe that's why the business is in jeopardy?!
I don't necessarily agree that fathers have to be at the birth - some of them are useless when it comes to being a good birthing partner! However it does sound like he needs someone to sit him down and explain to him that key person dependency of this sort is a bloody awful business model. What if you are ill and someone needs to take care of you and/or the baby? What if he was ill? He needs to build in some resilience, train at least one of his staff up in handling most of the trouble shooting so they only need to check absolutely bizarre, out of the ordinary problems with him.
Frankly I think most of this is displacement - he'd rather think about the problems he can handle (work stuff) than the chances of something going wrong at the birth.
He's got until September to train up some cover. His employees will pull together to help if asked, most people would given the circumstances.
If the business is so close to the edge that a single day of him not taking calls might push it over, it's not viable long-term and he should sell it or wind it down.
If his employees can't be trusted to troubleshoot on their own for a few hours, he is bad at hiring and even worse at being a manager.
You need to get through to him, or a life of resentment at having to do everything awaits you. I very rarely recommend it, but I would probably pitch an almighty fit and tell him that the way he runs his business is NOT viable, and he needs to sort his shit out. Get training in delegation, and let the reins the fuck go.
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