Some critics believe the birthing experience is just about the moms. Let’s face it. The mom carries baby for ten months, gives birth, breastfeeds, and has to endure all the pain that comes with childbirth. I’m certainly not discounting the mother’s birthing experience because is quite amazing to witness their strength to the birthing process. I know I couldn’t do it. But I do believe Father’s should also prepare and be mindful that they play a role in the birthing experience.
I’ll be honest. My first birthing experience is what I expected. I didn’t know what to expect. Noah arrived three weeks early. We had no classes yet and we were so unprepared that whatever the doctor recommended or said, that’s what we did. We had every intervention and I wasn’t nearly prepared to be the support my wife needed during her greatest challenge to that moment. Five years later, my wife recommended the Bradley Method and that’s when we were introduced to Laura.
We went through her classes and I was so in tuned with what was going on during pregnancy that I felt so incredibly prepared for birth, I knew I could be the partner my wife needed. We also decided to hire Laura as our doula during birth and I couldn’t have been happier. I jokingly tell others that a doula is more of a gift for the dad than mom. There’s a little truth to that joke. While I was much more prepared, having another partner next to me assisting my wife was such a great experience. Our doula arrived and immediately helped us create a peaceful atmosphere. In fact, we spent nearly six hours laboring at home and I still remember not long before we left for the hospital us laying on the bed, listening to music and relaxing. Finally, Laura said I think it’s time to go to the hospital since your contractions are about two minutes apart.
We got to the hospital. She was nine centimeters dilated and gave birth within two hours.
We recently gave birth to our third child and this time my wife wanted to try a home water birth. I was very apprehensive at first but I knew with Laura by my side, I would feel much more comfortable. While this birth will likely be our last birth experience, I can’t imagine not having a home birth. It felt so comfortable with everyone here and seemed so natural. My wife will tell you that I fought having the home birth but glad we did it. It really was an experience I will never forget. Remember, as a dad, you deserve a birthing experience as well. You won’t regret being part of it.
By Chris Laney, Father of 3 (Hospital Birth with intervention, hospital birth without intervention while using the Bradley Method and a doula, and a home water birth with a doula)