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does anyone choose to give birth without their partner present, anymore?

(41 Posts)
nightshade Sat 21-Jul-07 15:38:45

prior to the birth of dd, my partner made it clear that he had great reservations in being present for her birth.

we agreed that we would play it by ear and both acknowledged that being private people, i may also feel uncomfortable with his presence during such a vulnerable time.

he came into the delivery suite prior to things getting messy, went out for a smoke and returned approx. half hour later.

at this point it became evident that his presence was having an adverse effect on my freedom to birth and i asked him to leave.

both of us felt that my solitary experience was totally right.

we have subsequently wondered how much social pressure is put on partners to attend births and whether this has had detrimental effects for either of the couple?

McDreamyGonagall Sat 21-Jul-07 15:41:53

No DH was with me throughout both times and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way however my brother will not be present at his childs birth. He gets panic attacks just entering a hospital, feels faint at the slightest glimpse of blood poor thing.

WigWamBam Sat 21-Jul-07 15:46:49

My sister's dh was with her for the birth of her first child, and she felt completely inhibited by his presence. He was as helpful as he was able to be, but she just didn't feel comfortable with him being there.

For her subsequent two children, she banned him from the delivery room, and felt more relaxed. She found it much less stressful as she wasn't having to worry about whether he was going to pass out when things got a bit messy, and she could just get on with things. She also felt that the midwife took her more seriously - she felt that during the birth of her first child, it was her dh that the midwife interacted with and not her.

It wouldn't have suited me particularly, although I wouldn't have chosen to have had dh with me for the entire duration of my labour if I'd known how long it was going to drag on for. I ended up having an emergency c-section and wouldn't have wanted to have gone through that alone.

wheresthehamster Sat 21-Jul-07 15:53:05

To me I can't imagine any father not wanting to see his children come into the world. It's an amazing experience to be shared by both parents. It would never have occured to me to exclude dp or for him to not want to be there but obviously everyone is different.

lulumama Sat 21-Jul-07 15:56:09

i started a thread about this a while, ago, tried to find it, but must have been in 'chat', as it is gone ..

michel odent had suggested that fathers should stay out of the delivery room, and that the mother could be inhibited by his presence, and it can have a long lasting effect on the couples sex life...

i personally think that if both parties are happy for the DH / DP to be there, he should be, and if not then he shouldn;t

you don;t need anyone in the birthing room who does not want to be there, or is going to faint, or make you more anxious

MKG Sat 21-Jul-07 16:26:20

I think it's important to have someone who is willing to help you, hold your hand/legs, and be a calming influence. If that is your partner, doula, best-friend, etc. that's great. I can't blame someone for not wanting to be there, I mean it's very cool but still pretty gross.

My dh is a great birth partner because all he does is stand there holding my hand, gets me cold washcloths, and doesn't get in the way.

As long as the father of the baby wants to be there to hold their child after their born, I don't think it matters where they were during the birth.

miniegg Sat 21-Jul-07 18:43:35

we are hoping that my main birth supporter will be a doula, with my husband as a secondary supporter, meaning he can come and go a bit.
I don't like the idea of my DH seeing me in a bad way or being really undignified and think I might find him an inhibiting presence. Also he's not great at times of stress and might just make me feel even more anxious.
Added to that, DH he was at the birth of his son (who is now 16), my stepson, and found it a very traumatic experience. He hated seeing his partner in such pain and is quite honest/blunt about the effect that it all had on their sex life. Said he found it hard to see her the same way again, even though he tried really hard.
So overall, we are both much happier with the idea of having a doula, with DH free to come and go at the less messy bits.
i think it's a very, very personal choice but I do get the impression some men would rather not be there but feel they "ought" to. whereas others are genuinely really up for it...

bananabump Sat 21-Jul-07 18:55:52

I was worried about this, because generally dp seems the squeamish type (although he furiously denies it) and my first instinct was to say "I don't want you there, you'll put me off" but when I said this to him he was really hurt.

He wants to be there with me, but also has made "jokes" in the past about never going near me again afterwards, and also about how grossed out he'd be if I pooed. Now honestly, he was attempting to be funny BUT you don't need to hear it prior to giving birth.

Having fretted about it for while I have decided that it's a case of tough shit, I can't make it less messy for him, and I can't avoid pooing if it's going to happen, so we have agreed that he will stay up near my head for the main part of it, and if he's feeling brave he can watch baby coming out, but he's not to tell me or make "funny jokes" during or after, if I do poo.

I can understand many men feeling pressured into being there because "it's what the modern man does" and it must be pretty terrifying for them seeing their partners bleeding and in pain. It's not something everyone could handle watching, that's for sure!

dal21 Sat 21-Jul-07 19:43:53

I gave my DH the option of not being there. Also I had some reservations about being seen in goodness knows whatever state during the labour by my DH. But we had a good chat about it and I realised that not letting him be there (and he really wants to be) is not fair on him. I also hope that us being together in this experience will make it all the more amazing.
To overcome both our concerns about how he can actually support me during the labour - we are going on a hypnobirthing course together - starts tomorrow! Fingers crossed we won't regret our decision.

Pruners Sat 21-Jul-07 19:49:08

Message withdrawn

parceltongueisnotgibberish Sat 21-Jul-07 19:51:08

I chose to have my mum present for the birth of dd4 rather than dh as he was pretty useless through the previous 3 labours - spent most of the time in the hosptial cafe and then couldn't cope with the blood at the end...

Was the right decision to make.

parceltongueisnotgibberish Sat 21-Jul-07 19:52:04

And he really DIDN'T want to be there I should also have said, so it was the best decision all round.

suzi2 Sat 21-Jul-07 21:49:20

My DH has been my birth partner for both. Though with DS I found him quite annoying at times "can I get you anything?, would you like different music?" and then chatting to the MW like I wasn't there when I was off my face on morphine. Or saying things like "you're doing so well". It all just annoyed me a bit TBH. He was handy at passing the sick bowl, water, G&A in between each push lol.

So when I had DD at home, I said that I didn't want him to be offended but if I wanted peace then he could give me that. He was happy with that. A lot of the time he sat in the room with me, reading a book. I chatted to him & the MWs when it suited me and I left the room to be alone when it suited me. Right at the end when I was pushing I needed him there as I needed to hold his hand and I felt scared.

I would go it alone, but my mum tells me that she was on her own for all three of our births and it was very long, lonely and frightening at times.

helenhismadwife Sun 22-Jul-07 16:46:26

I think there is huge social pressure on partners to be present when Im sure some dont want to. I seem to remember there was some research some years back suggesting that some partners suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome after seeing their wives and parnters giving birth, particularly if it was a traumatic birth, and that partners did feel very pressurised to go into the delivery room. I think it should be something that is decided between the couple.

My dh is very squemish and he nearly passed out when I had my cvs so we had decided that if he felt he couldnt cope he would leave, as it was I had a short labour and he was so caught up in it all that he watched dd being born and wouldnt have missed it for the world. I think it helped that he knew he wasnt under pressure to stay.

expatinscotland Sun 22-Jul-07 16:48:40

It should be up to the couple. If it suits them to have someone else be the birthing partner, why is that such a big deal?

It's certainly not for everyone and what works for some may not for others.

Horses for courses.

PurpleLostPrincess Sun 22-Jul-07 18:02:49

I deeply long for my DH to be at the birth but at the same time, I don't want to put him under any pressure. He suffers badly with anxiety/panic attacks and hates hospitals. Part of me doesn't want him to have an attack because its my moment!!! He keeps telling me he won't be there...

So, we've decided my Mum will be my main birthing partner and that DH will hang around in the wings (do they still have waiting rooms!?) - I really want him to be one of the first to see his new daughter and for him to be one of the first people she sees!

I'm just going to see how it goes - there's every possibility he will end up being there depending on how things go when it happens and how he is feeling. I'd just be happy for him to be at my head end encouraging me (he's squeamish too) but I've had to let go of that for now. I just keep telling myself that if he's there, its a bonus but if not he won't be far away (hopefully!).

Also, my mum has a way with him and may be able to encourage him to come and be with me - again, I don't want to pressurise him though...

My only other reservation is that it could effect our sex life but I guess there's no way of telling in advance!!

nightshade Sun 22-Jul-07 20:31:00

agree with a lot of the posts in that there does seem to be a lot of social pressure around for men to attend!

for us however, i'm glad that we decided that dh would not be present.

it also made it extra special forme (selfishly), as i was able to spend that initial time with just me and the baby (particularly good as i had done all the hard work)!

LittleB Mon 23-Jul-07 12:47:01

Dh didn't want to be there as he's pretty squeamish, so my sister was my birth partner, and Dh popped in and out as and when he was needed. It was great to have someone who'd been through it all and knew what I was going through, and dh saw dd when she was minutes old. Alot of people told him he should be there through, society does pressure them to be there, but we were both happy with our arrangement, it did put my sister of having another, but only or a year, she's just had DS2, just before my dd turned 2.

CaraLondon Mon 23-Jul-07 13:01:53

I have had no qualms about telling DH not to be there at the birth - so it will be my mother and sister with me when the time comes. DH has been ordered into the pub once I go in to labour...assuming the nearest is open!

It is strange what pressure there is though - I have to keep telling people that it is my choice that I don't want him there, not that he is squeamish or objects to being there.

I guess there is also a cultural thing though - IMO men just shouldn't be there for what is an intensely feminine experience - but I guess that's just considered really old fashioned by the majority.

agalch Mon 23-Jul-07 13:09:15

My DH (was dp then) was there for the birth of our 1st ds and loved the experience but did find it scary tbh.He was looking after ds1 when i had ds2 so was on my own,much easier calmer birth.

My 2 friends were with me when i had dd1 and dd2 and were easy good births.Think having my closest friend there who has had 3 natural births helped me keep calm and she really got me through it.

DH now feels he missed out a bit but is a fantastic dad to all 4 dc even if he wasn't there at the births.

Holly29 Mon 23-Jul-07 18:11:21

I'm 30 + 5 with my first and have already decided that my sis is going to be my birth partner and not my lovely DH. My DH, bless him, is really rubbish with hospitals and blood and all such things, and although he wants to be present in labour for most of the time, we both know that he will not be able to face the birth itself and I don't want to be given any additional stress thinking about him!

I don't think there should be any pressure at all to have your partner there and no one should be made to feel bad about their choices. I don't think it is 'sad' that a father won't see his child being born, he will see my DC within a few minutes of being born and frankly with my head being up where it is I won't actually be able to see it being born either maybe.

So embrace whatever works for you!

madamez Mon 23-Jul-07 21:45:58

I had my mum and best mate there for DS birth. DS dad, who is not and was not my partner (though he is now an excellent and v involved dad) did offer to be present at the birth and i refused to have him there. I think he sort of slightly regrets not seeing his son born though I did try to tell him that even had we been on good terms at the time of the birth I wouldn't have wanted him there till it was all over. It is a matter for individuals to make up their own minds - not fair to force a reluctant terrified bloke to stand at the wet end against his wishes, but not fair either to have a bloke insist on watching when the mum2b would really rather not be seen by her DH/DP in pain and indignity.

lostinlace Tue 24-Jul-07 11:07:21

Tend to think it doesn't matter who's there so long as they're supportive. I'm really self-conscious so ended up having dp with me both times as couldn't bear the thought of my mum or female friends seeing me naked. But was happy that dp stayed top-end and didn't do too much peeking.

Dp was very supportive & thoughtful - agree with some of the earlier posts that jokes and silly stories do not help!! He did find it traumatic though & spent weeks blaming himself about the amount of pain I'd been in (sadly, didn't occur to him to make it up to me with really expensive gifts or by doing all the housework ) so can see why some men might not want to be there.

Bizarrely, 1st time round we'd bought the dog with us (dp's first true love) & she was waiting in the car outside so anytime it got too much he'd go and check on her or take her for a walk.

But, don't think his love for our children & mine/theirs for him would be any less if he hadn't been there.

moondog Tue 24-Jul-07 11:14:24

Mine wasn't for the second 9abroad and couldn't make it back in time.)
It was fine,neither of us feel bad about it.
I quite enjoyed doing it in peace.

kerala Tue 24-Jul-07 15:25:38

All depends on the individual - people shouldn't judge if you both decide you would prefer the man not to be there.

Personally my DH was invaluable especially in respect of having to make decisions. I had a 12 hour labour then ended up having an emergency c section. I found it helpful having someone able to speak on my behalf when I was abit out of it.

Each to their own though.

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