Second Opinion Magazine
Dad Matters in the Delivery Room
by Amanda Gunderson, Confident Birth Childbirth Education; Photo by Renee Barth Photography
Everyone laughs lightly as they glance at their significant other. A knowing smile passes over many of the women’s faces. Finally one of the guys says out loud what many are thinking, “I’m here because she told me we were doing this.” Laughter all around breaks the tension.
We get it. We really do. Not many men seek out an independent birth class for himself and his partner to attend. In over six of teaching our classes and 90 couples attending, we have only received one initial class inquiry from a guy. All of the others have been from the pregnant women!
Many guys assume that since it’s her body and her birth experience, then she will be the one to learn what to do. She will do the reading to learn about what’s necessary to know. She will decide how she wants to birth. She will pick her birth provider. And he’s right in many ways. Women should take ownership of the experience that they want to have when it comes to birthing their babies. However, the partner can bring tremendous value to the birthing environment as well.
A pregnant woman’s partner usually is the one who is closest to her and is most invested in the pregnancy. It is the partner who likely knows her the best: knows how she thinks, what makes her cry, and knows her passions. An encouraging word from him can be exactly what is needed to gently push her through a rough part of labor. A partner who is standing next to the laboring woman, holding her hand and rubbing her back, his lips pressed close to her ear as he whispers to her about how strong she is and how proud of her he is…This. This moment is that can make a birth powerful.
These are the tender moments when the man comes alongside his laboring partner that can weave a couple together for a lifetime. The work of encouraging your partner through the hardest physical moments of her life can bond you both together in ways that no other experience will do.
Speak comfort to her. Tell her that you will not leave her. Show empathy in how hard this is for her. Encourage her to press on, that the goal of meeting baby is so very close. Tell her that she is a warrior. Keep close to her and let your very presence bring strength to her.
Dads, your role in her birth is one that can’t be easily replaced. So thank you. Thank you for going to that birth class with her. You being there speaks volumes to your commitment to her. We can’t wait to witness this journey that you both will go through as you learn in our classes and as you grow closer together in anticipation of the big day when you’ll meet your baby.
We hope to inspire trust, communication, and confidence. We know that we don’t just teach about birth, we desire to change relationships. So that after our classes and the birth is over, you both are a stronger team, an indivisible unit, and a strengthened partnership that will last a lifetime.
Interested in a natural birth focused class? Check us out at www.confidentbirthwi.com.
Amanda Gunderson is an educator by training and has enjoyed teaching about birth and parenthood to expecting families for the past 7 years. In her teaching, her passions are natural birth, intentional preparation, informed consent, and self-advocacy. She is a wife to Tim and momma to three kids who challenge and inspire her daily! More about her teaching and classes at www.confidentbirthwi.com.