Being a husband

Michelle and I are in a birthing class one night a week for six weeks. Last night was our third class, and the class had broken up into men on one side and women on another. The women were asked to make a list of what types of things would be helpful if their husband did during labor and delivery. The men were basically asked the same thing, what types of things do we think would be helpful for us to do during labor and delivery. And then we all compared notes afterwards.

I’ve gotta say, I was a little dismayed by some of the comments within the father’s group. Just some of the things that were said (but not written down) really got to me. Things like:

“What about what the husbands need during the labor? Women make it all about them.”
“She’ll only be able to eat ice chips. Don’t eat in front of her. I don’t know why we have to suffer just because they can’t eat.”
“I find I’m usually most helpful when I don’t do or say anything at all.”

And other things I can’t think of right now. Now, not everyone in my group was like this, but there seemed to be far more disinterested husbands than there should have been. Several were more interested in staying quiet so we could hear what the girls were talking about, and then we could just copy their answers.

This kind of thing makes me uncomfortable and irritated. It’s why men get such a bad reputation. This especially is a time for a husband to step aside and shine all the light he can on his beautiful, glowing, pregnant wife. She’s experiencing the most life-changing 9 months in her life, going through changes and feelings we can’t even imagine. Sometimes we can feel a little helpless or useless in this situation, and I understand that. But this is our chance to form an even closer life bond with our favorite person in the world, right? We’re not the main star of this film, but we have the opportunity to be a terrific supporting actor.

Dads: step aside. Check your ego and leave it behind. For once, this really isn’t about you. You’re not the one who’s gotta push that baby out. This is our woman’s time to shine. Let her shine and you won’t be sorry, I promise.

I mean, really, when the mother of your child thinks back to when she was pregnant, a time unlike any other in her life, and she remembers what kind of a husband you were, what do you want those memories to be?

  • mk burt said:

    You're great! Our birthing class was much the same....
    The ice chip thing is a myth - well, the only food the HOSPITAL will give you is ice chips - you can bring whatever you want. & you should be able to bring whatevery you want in the delivery room. Don't go to the hospital at the first contraction, you'll be there forever. Wait it out at home where you both are more comfortable & have your amenities. Pack 'the bag' early, and put it close to the door so you don't forget it during "crunch time".
    And yes, the memory of your child's birth will be with you as vivid as can be for the rest of yours & Michelle's life. I did natural child birth so I wouldn't miss anything & would recommend it to anyone - screw the epidural. The human body is amazing that it knows what to do and when.
    And also, you are a rare breed - most men are not like you - fortunately I married a 'rare breed' also. Michelle is lucky to have such a thoughtful husband - I know I've said this so many times before, but you guys will be great parents! You need to hear that, just like Sebo needs to hear that he's a good boy! =] mk

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