A Father’s Perspective – The Journey from Hospital to Home

by BIRTH WITHOUT FEAR

Many women have questions about how to approach their partner about natural birth, and especially out-of-hospital/home birth. I don’t ever remember being worried about convincing my husband – but then again, my feisty side comes out pretty often (and I don’t let go of an idea once it is in my head). It was a process however, moving my husband’s mind from hospital birth to home. I even had to convince him of the safety of natural birth! I know my view of the process, but I was curious as to how my husband viewed his journey. So we did an interview – and here is what he had to say:

1) How do you remember me approaching you about the subject of out-of-hospital birth? We were at a friend’s house, and we got on the topic of babies. You looked at me and said “I hope you know we will be using a midwife and having an out-of-hospital birth.” I was dumbfounded, and said “No we’re not – we are going to use a hospital like normal people”. You said “We will finish this conversation at home”. Over the next two years, we talked about it – it was an ongoing conversation. Honestly, we talked about it from the time we got married until you actually got pregnant (two years later).

2) Why were you against home birth and natural birth in general? As a guy, I thought it wasn’t normal. I just knew about TV and movies – rushing to the hospital, yelling and doctors, and then you have a baby. And at that point in our lives, none of our friends were even close to having kids, so I had no one to talk to about it. I was brought up not knowing any better. I read about midwives in school in history books, I had no idea that they were still a viable option. Natural birth scared me since I thought you *had* to have the medicines to have a safe birth. I thought that without the epidural and drugs, you would harm the baby.

3) When was the “turning point” for you? After you were pregnant, I realized this was very important to you. I felt that I needed to respect that and at least go to a meeting with a midwife. I was half hoping that you would give up on the idea and that this would appease you. That first appointment was all it took – I knew this was the way to go. I apologized to you for not trusting you in the first place.

4) We had appointments with both an OB and our midwife, what was your take on the care/respect of both settings? The OB was exciting, since it was our first appointment to confirm pregnancy. We were not sure if our insurance covered the midwife yet. I remember the OB came in, and we both had questions, but I didn’t feel like we could ask them. It felt structured and rushed, we didn’t get to really talk. No one asked how we felt, and I left confused. I didn’t feel included – in fact I didn’t even feel like *you* were included. Several people were rude or at the very least, very rushed. When you said you wanted a natural birth, and she*laughed* at you – that got me angry, but also ashamed. I thought that at the time (that you shouldn’t do it), but when someone else said it to you, I realized how wrong it was to ever tell a woman that. No one should tell you can’t give birth naturally.

When we met the midwife, I was nervous. I was expecting hippies and long skirts. But it was different. It was comfortable and set up like a home, I didn’t feel like I was in an office. I felt more comfortable. Everyone (the clients that were waiting) was talking and having snacks. I felt like a guest in a home. I remember watching everyone and thinking, “Who is the midwife? Do they have a stamp on their head or something? I don’t see anyone in scrubs.”

When we sat down with the midwife (who was not wearing a long skirt or smelling of incense), she talked to us for over an hour. Asking questions about our life, our relationship, our plans, what names we were thinking of. We talked about the ideal birth that you saw in your mind. It felt so nice – and it felt exciting. I felt informed and encouraged to find out even more. We were encouraged to call the midwife anytime to ask questions – I felt like we had 24/7 care from day one. I saw the confidence you had walking out of that room after the appointment. That was my major turning point – I was on board 100%. I also realized that you were right all along! Yes – I said it!

5) How did you feel the prenatal care went? Did you feel included by the midwife? I felt very included. I felt like that was the core of midwifery, that the whole family is part of the process. I didn’t feel like a spectator as much. Obviously, I can’t grow a baby, so I will always be outside the experience in many ways. But the midwife made me feel included as much as possible. I was given the responsibility to be ready for you and I felt empowered to be strong for you. I felt validated in my wish to be a part of my child’s birth.

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