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AIBU to ask partner to be present at our DS’s birth?

(39 Posts)
cbryce2 Mon 08-Jun-20 09:00:40

Pls help as our relationship is falling apart because DH can’t get over watching me having our DS and I can’t see why he is still traumatised by it almost 6 months later?
Since coming home from hospital, he now finds it hard to make love with me and says it’s because of the the pain and whole childbirth process he witnessed. At first I tried to understand and have not initiated any intimacy between us hoping I’m allowing him time to recover. Yet just last night he brings it up again how how troubled he is after watching me have our babyconfused
I got really upset and told him he should grow up because I went through the pain and will not be having another baby if he thinks it’s so terrible he can’t stand it again but yet wants another baby.
Now he accuses me of being unreasonable and not supportive for lashing out.
Has anyone experienced this and how do I get over him feeling this way because I completely think he shouldn’t given that he adores our DS and wants us to have another child?

OP’s posts: |
Alyssum34456 Mon 08-Jun-20 09:04:52

Do you think he's one of those men who (sorry!) saw you very sexually beforehand and has now realised your a real woman and it's no longer this weird fantasy?

It does sound like he might need some kind of therapy. What has he proposed to do to help the situatuon? Have you explained that you dont find it painful or you will let him know if you do? Was he ok with sex before?

Dougalthesyrianhamster Mon 08-Jun-20 09:07:14

It sounds like he's grossed out by it 😳🙄 I've heard of this happening before thanks

SisyphusLangClegRocks Mon 08-Jun-20 09:07:30

Hi OP. Was it his decision to watch you give birth or did he feel pressured? I'm not criticising as it's perfectly normal to have a partner there (I did), but some men really struggle with feelings of guilt after witnessing the woman they love, in so much pain and discomfort.

edwinbear Mon 08-Jun-20 09:09:11

I had a difficult birth with DC1 and DH found it extremely traumatic, he was later diagnosed with PTSD, I think perhaps it made him feel helpless as he couldn't fix it.

When I fell pregnant with DC2 he told me he really couldn't face watching me give birth again, so we hired an independent midwife to be a birth partner for me and DH stayed at home with DC1 when I went into labour. Honestly, DC's birth was amazing, I felt so much better supported by a 'professional' and not have to worry about what DH was thinking. If you both want DC2 him not wanting to be present at the birth doesn't have to prevent that.

Dougalthesyrianhamster Mon 08-Jun-20 09:11:27

@edwinbear Yes but, sorry to be crude here but if he won't have any intimacy with her then there's no likely to be another birth, is there??

Dery Mon 08-Jun-20 09:13:07

I have heard about this happening. Of course the real effort in childbirth is doing it but I can imagine it may be traumatic to witness for a sensitive partner because it's so primal and there's nothing your partner can really do to assist - sure, he can massage your shoulders, hold your hands, get sworn at etc but he can't have the baby for you and he is reliant on other people - midwives, doctors, nurses etc - to help you in birthing your baby.

This is very frustrating for you but you can't get him over feeling this way. He needs to do that and he may well need therapy to do it. He does need to understand that the situation cannot just be left to drift on because it is very hurtful for you to be rejected by him and it is damaging your relationship.

Sorry you're going through this.

triballeader Mon 08-Jun-20 09:17:43

Not every husband will find childbirth glorious. For some its horrendous, even with a positive outcome, and can leave deep wounds. It sounds as if your DH experience deeply distressed him and he does not know how to begin to express that. His experience and memories of the birth of your DS will be very different to his. Mine coped with being thrown out of theatre with my first life threatening PPH. We had a second child - by VBAC, I had another severe PPH. It was not as severe thanks to a brilliant midwife but DH went a very funny colour and had to be taken away before he fainted. For months after all he could say was 'I cannot put you through that again- I cannot loose you'. He still goes pale at the sight of a hospital emergency call button but letting him just talk and talk helped as did leaving him with my consultant who made time to give him a quick debrief after the midwives asked him to. Your DH might find it helpful to have a look through the fathers section on the Birth Trauma Associations website. They may be able to signpost him to local support.

2007Millie Mon 08-Jun-20 09:19:17

Bloody hell, how dismissive are you of your husbands feelings.

I had an EMCS and although I felt the whole thing was fine, my DH was utterly traumatised by it.

Your husband may need professional help.

Stop accusing him of being silly and just telling him to grow up.

SoupDragon Mon 08-Jun-20 09:29:38

He has watched you go through incredible pain and a very intense physical experience and was completely unable to do anything to help you. He was also partially responsible for you having to go through it.

Have you actually discus ti with him or helped him al brought because telling him to "grow up" isn't very helpful is it? Imagine if he said that to you.

satsumasane Mon 08-Jun-20 09:46:45

My son's father was totally traumatised by watching me give birth. He had PTSD and depression afterwards. He needed therapy and we also attended a debriefing with the head midwife about the birth.

Consider your partners feelings about this and take them seriously.

Trevsadick Mon 08-Jun-20 09:51:42

Of course as the woman birth can be traumatising, painful and leave emotional and physical scars.

But its not a walk in the park to watch someone you love in pain, unable to do anything. Even if everything goes right.

Plenty of women want another baby but don't want to go through child birth again.

He may want another child. But may feel partly responsible for the pain you are in.

This isnt a competition. Theres no 'he can't be impacted by this, because I am not or it was worse for me'.

Making struggles a competition is not a great thing to have in a relationship or when parenting.

category12 Mon 08-Jun-20 09:52:38

If he's traumatised, encourage him to seek counselling.

It is quite intense and if he found it difficult to deal with, I don't think it's a personal failing of his. But obviously he needs to make efforts to get over it.

If you do manage to sort things out, find another birth partner if you have another baby. It's not that long since fathers were supposed to pace outside the delivery room with a cigar.

JustC Mon 08-Jun-20 09:55:00

Like other pps, I do think that you telling him to grow up in reaction to his feelings is dismissive and mean( you might think it as we all grew up thinking men have yo be the strong one, but really saying it outloud is not cool). Yes, you went through the physical pain, but that does not mean he can't be affected emotionally. Talk to , explain that you don't see yourself in a sexless marriage, and if he refuses to seek help, try to change his perspective, than decide if you can live like this.
I hope it's not the madonna/whore complex, as that will be harder to tackle I think.

ivfgottostaypositive Mon 08-Jun-20 09:59:57

I think you are being too dismissive. This is exactly the reason I didn't want DH at the business end during labour

Quartz2208 Mon 08-Jun-20 10:00:41

I remember discussing this with my NCT group - we have lots of support to help us through the trauma including talking it through with others who have been through the same. There (can) be a very strong support network for women to help them through this.

It can also be traumatic for men, yes we go through the pain (but we also have all the hormones released. I think you need to accept that he does feel traumatised and suggest he talks it through with someone

Aussiebean Mon 08-Jun-20 10:00:53

My dh has spoken about how horrible it was seeing me in pain and not being able to do anything for me. I also had some complications after dc1 where it went from calmly putting me in a wheelchair, with one midwife, to go up to the ward, to blood, machines, doctors and some very serious faces.

It was scary for him and he was, in his eyes, completely useless and helpless.

A friend of mine’s partner flatly refuses a second after nearly losing both her and the baby at the point of birth.

There is very little support for the fathers. No food, no bed, no sleep etc.

And yes the women is the most important at the moment, but that shouldn’t mean the man shouldn’t be heard about the stress they felt during the process after.

Isthisfinallyit Mon 08-Jun-20 10:07:52

My cousin was the birth partner for her daughter (partner split after the first trimester because didn't want a child). She found it very traumatising to see her daughter give birth. My cousin has three children herself and although some very painful, wasn't traumatised by her own deliveries.

So yes, it exists and isn't exclusively a man thing either. I'm not sure he should bother you with it though, best to get some tgerapy.

BlingLoving Mon 08-Jun-20 10:11:40

If he's struggling to be intimate, it does sound to me less like trauma re the pain you experienced and more like trauma from him seeing you in a less sexual way, perhaps seeing your vulva and vagina stretched etc.

I sympathise with your irritation instinctively. But the truth is it's not fair. If he's dealing with a psychological trauma he needs to deal with it before he can move on. I would also highly recommend counselling.

rottiemum88 Mon 08-Jun-20 10:14:54

*Bloody hell, how dismissive are you of your husbands feelings.

I had an EMCS and although I felt the whole thing was fine, my DH was utterly traumatised by it.

Your husband may need professional help.

Stop accusing him of being silly and just telling him to grow up.*

This. You don't sound like a very nice person

MeadowHay Mon 08-Jun-20 10:18:20

I found my birth traumatic and two years on I still have PTSD-type symptoms. My DH found the situation stressful but most of my trauma was pain-related which he didn't suffer from of course and he was also just more comfortable in that medical environment as he was on a healthcare course at the time. BUT I can totally understand why and how a partner could find a birthing experience traumatic themselves and I think your attitude is disgusting. You should be supporting him. I would recommend a birth debrief and your partner may also benefit from therapy.

Pumpertrumper Mon 08-Jun-20 10:22:24

I would interpret this as him having being traumatised watching somebody he loves so much go through so much pain and physical trauma.
FWIW I had my DS 3 months ago and have been totally traumatised by the process of labour/birth and watching him come out of me. I’ve only attempted sex once and it felt very weird and ended with me in tears. (It was 100% initiated by me and DH was very apprehensive then stopped immediately when asked).
Luckily DH is very supportive and doesn’t make it an issue at all but I’m getting worried I’ll never want to have sex again.

I kinda understand your DH. You used to view sexual organs one way, then you watched them do what they’re actually designed to do and it just changed your whole perspective.

I also struggle with feeling unattractive and ‘mumsy’ since giving birth though, not to mention feeling like a dairy cow. So maybe, if you’re feeling like this because DH doesn’t seem to fancy you anymore, tell him that and try to be intimate in a way that doesn’t involve penetration.

DH and I do a lot of naked cuddling and other non sex stuff to try and build back to where we were before DS.

supaloops Mon 08-Jun-20 10:22:28

Sadly you don't sound very supportive of your husband. Imagine if he told you to 'grow up' after you had shared your feelings about finding something difficult to deal with. PTSD in men following childbirth is very real, and fairly common. He is likely suffering a great deal. If you want to save your relationship, I suggest supporting him, and helping him to seek professional help. Good luck.

GanjaGranny Mon 08-Jun-20 10:28:07

A traumatic birth can also also be traumatic for the father you know!

BernadetteRostankowskiWolowitz Mon 08-Jun-20 10:29:43

He needs to stop making this your problem.

I'll bet he hasn't looked into any therapy.

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