The 7 Secrets of Being A Homebirth Dad

This was forwarded to my doula group. Not sure where it originated but I thought it was interesting! I honestly don't know if or when I will attend another homebirth, from sheer lack of opportunity.

The 7 Secrets of Being A Home birth Dad

All Dads to be are nervous or at least skeptical when their wife/partner
first mentions the idea of having a home birth. This is nothing to be
ashamed of – us guys are conditioned by a life times constant bombardment
that Doctors know best and that it is our patriarchy duty to always make
safe choices. That's why when my wife Bel first brought up the idea for the
birth of our second Daughter my first train of thought was about risk.
Images of John Hurt's chest cracking open and a tiny, evil alien being
screeching it's bloody arrival to the universe ran through my mind. I looked
up at the walls of our apartment and wondered whether an arterial spray of
blood could ever be washed out of that particular shade of off white. Ten
minutes googling dissolved my misconception that home birth is reckless
(with Bel peering over my shoulder and directing me to websites she'd
already read).

In a nutshell, there are studies for and against, but if you listen to your
own common sense you will probably agree it's just as safe, if not safer.
You can Google all that stuff yourself, what I want to really want to talk
about is the second train of though that ran through my head – why?

Why have a home birth? My wife had her reasons and she laid them out for me.
Bel had a horrible experience in hospital with our first daughter and that
was a big part of it. As Bel explained it to me Nodded and said 'umm' a lot
and was happy to go along with it because I knew it was what she wanted. But
I never had reasons of my own –from my selfish perspective as a Dad – until
I had experienced it for myself.

These reasons are the 7 secrets I want to share with you guys now.

1. In a home birth you are no longer relegated to the bench.
Before the birth itself there is more to think about in a planning and
logistics sort of way, ranging from buying equipment to manly jobs like
making sure the birth pool hose actually attaches to your taps. On game day
you are not just a big hairy thing whose only use is to be squeezed
viciously or swore at. You are in charge of the birth pool, maybe even
catching the baby (I'm doing that next time). And, aside from the mother,
who will be a little preoccupied, you are the only person in the building
who knows where all the towels are. If you have ever read The Hitchhikers
Guide, you'll know how vital that is.

2. You'll lose less hair and gain less wrinkles.
Having a baby is always frightening on some level, if you're not scared out
your wits you must be medicated or dead inside. With a homebirth though
there are less things that stress you out and feed the ugly fear monster
within. Think of it: No traffic. No worry of getting lost. No worry of the
car not starting. No worry that you've forgotten something. No pacing
corridors. No worry about what's happening. No corridors to pace. No smug
doctors. You'll still be worried, but it won't consume you. Besides – in a
home birth, you have too many jobs to do to have time to let your fear
monster run free.

3. Home is where the heart is.
Not to mention Cd's, DVDs, the PlayStation... All your comforts. Your music,
your TV, your favourite mug, your fridge, your magazines, your books even
your beer I guess. You'll be more relaxed, the mum will be more relaxed and
the baby will be more relaxed too when he/she pops out. I'll be honest,
despite the stimulus of worry and excitement, births are pretty boring.
Maybe I have a short attention span, but it's not, you know, entertainment.
And we all know they can go on a bit. With a home birth you will be a
thousand times less bored as you can take a break and read a magazine or
flip on the idiot box for a bit. Hell, it's probably less boring for the
midwifes too.

4. Say goodbye to the little things that kill Me?
I hate hospitals for a million and one small and big reasons. Looking back
now I can't believe I didn't jump for joy when Bel mentioned having a home
birth simply because I wouldn't have to go to one. My main problem with
hospitals is this - the idea of being surrounded by sick people sounds like
a bad strategy if you want to stay healthy. Plus there are hundred small
things: it smells bad, the foods nasty, it's demeaning to find you way by
following coloured lines on the floor and most importantly, when your
newborn arrives he/she won't be woken up by someone else's screaming child.
Hospitals suck, home rules!

5. You don't have to live the delivery room cliché of the hapless and
scorned father.
You know the one - where the woman in labor hates her husband and screams
blue murder into his face, punches him etc. Either that or she is so
medicated and spaced out she doesn't even know what a father islet alone who
you are. With a home birth her labor is undisturbed. She does not have to be
picked up halfway through and rushed to the hospital. I cannot state enough
how much a difference this makes.

6. You are He-man of the home, you have the power!
That's right. It's not the power of gray skull though, it's the power of
being the master of your environment. It's a subtle difference, but one you
will notice. Your home is your place. You pay for it. The-midwives and
guests are the fish out of water. If they want something, they ask you.
There's a funny thing about evolution, it has created the subconscious trait
that whoever gives out the food is the dominant player in any situation.
That's why in a home birth you will find it feels a lot more natural to ask
more questions about what's going on, to make sure that the birth plan is
stuck to and to generally be more involved and have more say over the whole
thing.

7. You won't have your surprised, fragile heart ripped out.
If you only remember one of these secrets, make sure it's this one. At the
end of a home birth, the midwifes leave. Not you. This is the way it should
be. In a hospital, you will be torn away from you newborn child and your
exhausted wife at the very peak of your emotional vulnerability. Let me
paint the picture for you real quick: two weeks before my eldest daughter
was born my Dad had died, we were not financially safe and I didn't have a
job. In short, it was tough. But being the alpha male I am, I wasn't showing
it and being the rock solid guy I like to think I am. But the instant I saw
my new daughters face I discovered a vein of happiness and a depth of
feeling that washed away my ego and my fears and even helped me come to
terms with my Dad's recent death and made me, a mainly scientific sort of
thinker, to almost see a thread of symmetry within life.

If that's all a bit too Lion King for you I apologize, my main point is this
–at that point the most unnatural thing in the world for me to do was leave
my daughter, drive home and lay on my couch for eight hours and wait for the
sun to rise. To make me do that, is probably the cruelest thing that has
ever been done to me. In retrospect I wish I had stayed and made them try
and have me arrested to make me leave. I have forever lost that first night
with my first born.

These are my reasons why home birth was better for me. I've called them
secrets, because these things are not common knowledge and are not talked
about all that much even within the world of home birth programs and message
groups etc. It's not all good – you will have to clean up afterwards. That's
not any one's idea of fun. But hey, that's a small price to pay in my
opinion.After experiencing both hospital and home birth my wife and I
wouldn't even consider going to a hospital again unless there was a very
compelling medical reason why we should do so. That's compelling, by our
standards of reason and common sense. Not what any medical profession says.
It's a no-brainer for us. As a Dad there is really no comparison to be made.

You are a key part of a home birth. The mother needs you and is relying on
you. In a way it's a shame when it's all over because you revert back to
being a useless man again before the midwifes left over tea goes cold.

Ven Batista

5 comments:

nollimetangere said...

It was written by my husband! SO weird to see it so many places on the internet! When we had our babies we were in the UK, but now we live in Iowa. This is supposed to be published in Mothering sometime before next May.

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