Monday, May 5, 2008

Men in the Delivery Room

Blogger DaddyDaze talks today about being present in the delivery room.

We attended the classes at the hospital before delivering Grace. I was dreading "the movie" that we would eventually be shown, and when that night came, I don't mind tell you that I nearly went unconscious. I knew that the baby wasn't the only thing that would be delivered on that magical day, but I wasn't prepared for all the pain and groaning and, well...blood. It was rough.

Worst of all, I feared that I'd have the same reaction in the delivery room. I wanted to be a source of support for my wife, not a nauseated coward.

However, I did a much better job during the actual delivery. I was more upset at the helpless feeling of seeing my wife in so much pain, and not being able to do anything about it. Sure, it was the most blood I've ever seen in my life (the article makes a good point: Stand at your wife's shoulders, not her feet), but I was less bothered by that than the movie blood. Odd.

The blog refers to this Washington Post article from 2006 that describes in detail some of the issues involved with having 'daddy' present. When it comes down to it: if you are unprepared, you may do more harm than good. But the strategies involved tend to be one of shielding 'daddy' from certain things rather than working out what he really needs to be doing.

Now I haven't written about such matters on this blog before but I did fill the second chapter of Parentonomics on this subject (one of the few to have totally new 'material'). Suffice it to say, my reaction was precisely the opposite of the 'shield your eyes' view. I can't say that I am especially noted for my bravery but the video of a birth only provoked in me the reaction that I needed to do more than stand around at the shoulders and provide 'support.' How much support can you give if you don't know what is going on?