In the lead up to childbirth and a baby sometimes the Dad can be forgotten. Whether you care to admit it or not, pregnancy and labour needs to be just as much about the Dad as it is about the Mum. He may not be the one who will be delivering the baby, nor is he the one who has carried the child, enduring all the ups and downs that pregnancy has to offer. It is not his body that everyone has been and will be focussing on. It is however his baby and his partner.
Pregnancy is all leading up to one thing, that being, the birth of a child. The idea of labour can be both an exciting and daunting concept both for the Mother and the Father. So here some tips to all those Dads to be out there, yes Dads, I am changing things up from the norm and forgetting about Mum for once. This week, I have asked some men who have been there, done that, who have come out the other side of labour smiling, baby in hand and with the utmost respect and love for their partners. What advice would they give to Dad’s to be? I have sorted through the answers and here they are, your very own checklist, the top tips to get you through the impending big day.
A Dad’s guide to the Delivery Suite (from the Dad’s).
1. Dont take anything personally.
As you have well learnt by now pregnancy can do strange things to a woman’s state of mind. Your partner’s personality may undergo changes in the stress of labour, go with it. If she swears when she usually doesn’t, if she yells when she normally wouldn’t, suck it up. Once it is all over she will be back to your normal, sane and loving girl.
2. Do what you are told.
By the nurses, by the doctors and most importantly by the Mum. You are now a slave to the labour so get in there and help with whatever is wanted when it is needed. Don’t whine or moan, be a great partner. You and your partner are a team and now, more than ever, is your chance to show just how great of a team you really are.
3. Enjoy it, it’s not that scary.
This is a huge momentous occasion in your life, it is a privilege to be at the birth of a human so appreciate that. Labour is a beautiful moment, enjoy it. You are finally about to meet your child, make sure you give yourself a minute to reflect and acknowledge how wonderful that truly is.
Whenever you get the chance and don’t feel guilty for it. Labour can be a long, sometimes slow, process. Rest in the down times, when your partner is resting (if she gets the chance) you need to be resting too, the final stages of the birth are so hard on the Mother and she will need you to be alert, awake and on.
5. Take Food.
This goes with rest. You may be in that room for a very long time and you will, no doubt, get hungry. Take snacks, lollies, muesli bars, quiet foods are generally appreciated by the Mum as you chomping away is the last thing she wants to hear.
6. The gas is not just there for the Mum.
OK so technically maybe it is. But every man I know has had a sneaky try of the gas while the nurses have ducked out of the room. Personally the gas made me feel really sick so I was more than happy to hand it over to my husband and give him a try, even if it was to just ease the itch of curiosity.
7. The cord is harder to cut than you would think.
It all happens pretty quickly, the Doctor says ‘Do you want to cut the cord?’ You say ‘Yes’ and then next thing you know there is a baby and you are holding scissors. You are instructed where to chop, just distal to the clamp placed around the umbilical cord and you cut. It will not be as easy as you imagine, that is if you have imagined it at all, it is spongy and almost thick, the scissors do not glide as they do through paper and will take a bit of work. If this is making your stomach turn please try to get over this quam by the pending birth of your child, cutting the cord is one of those opportunities in life that not every one gets and those that do only get it once or twice so appreciate the rarity and enjoy it.
And just to round it out to a nice even ten here are some tips from the Mum..
8. Please do not ask stupid questions.
They say in life there are no stupid questions. Well in labour this is untrue. There are plenty of stupid questions. ‘Does it hurt?’ and ‘What does it feel like?’ are well and truly at the top of this list.
9. What she wants might change.
Before labour she may have said no drugs or intervention, in the moment of labour these ideas may change and that is OK. She may be tired and she may be in pain but she can still, for the most part, make logical, consensual decisions about her body.
10. Dont be a tough guy.
Women love to see their partner’s show emotion. We don’t want you completely losing the plot or fainting or anything but most women I know have loved how their husband’s reacted when meeting their child for the first time. Describing it as beautiful and sometimes even surprising. Remember that the delivery room is protected by a cone of silence if you want it to be, it is not the locker room, none of your mates ever have to know that a tear or two came to your eye when you met your child. And really, truth be told, you will probably be so exhausted the thought of doing your shoelaces up will cause you to burst in to tears.
This post was written for expecting Dad’s (one expecting friend in particular), so Dad’s I hope you have found this helpful, and Mum’s I hope it made you smile, may be even look at your partner differently? Realise that labour isn’t just hard on you? During pregnancy I only ever worried about myself, how I would handle the birth, what my body would do etc, etc. I maybe took an hour or two out of my whole pregnancy to worry about what my husband would do during the labour, when I made sure he knew what I wanted and when I was packing his Roll Ups and lollies into my hospital bag, maybe next time I will think about him more. It is, after all, the delivery of his child too.
*I am sure there are more great tips and tricks floating around out there, what are your top tips for expecting Fathers?