A father-to-be contacted me this week about the important role of birth partner. He said that the thought of the role can induce feelings of nervousness or stress.
There is often a pressure on’ fathers-to-be’ to be a fabulous birth partner and support, but no-one can prepare for the extent of the task. For some it may be a role that includes fanning, massaging, story telling, being a photographer, sick bowl holding, passing the gas and air at the speed of light, refreshment providing, DJ. For others their partner might not want to be touched and would prefer quiet and solitude, which might be hard for those that were expecting the multitasking approach.
Birth partners often fall into three categories:
He has read every book, blog, downloaded the app and is supportive, understanding and intuitive, we often ask whether he has considered midwifery as a profession.
He may have a book and downloaded an app, but the process is overwhelming and this birth partner needs encouragement to breathe through each contraction to stay upright. They try their best to multitask but feels it is an emotional rollercoaster, requiring frequent breaks for fresh air.
“The I don’t want to be here”
He may have read a book and a blog, but birth is not something they want to be involved with and would rather be anywhere else rather then in that room. The thought of seeing their partner in labour is scary, but he feels there is a pressure to be there. This partner is happier in a corner with a newspaper.
There are many more birth partners that fit into each category at times and there are those who decide not to be there. There is no such thing as a perfect birth partner, all the mum-to-be wants is whoever is that room supporting her and for her to feel safe. Men may feel forgotten in the process, but from personal experience having a birth partner in the room, whether it’s “the doula”, “the daunted” or “the I don’t want to be here”, is all that woman wants, so don’t feel stressed or nervous, it will be the most wonderful, exhilarating journey to becoming a father.