Why Fathers Should Be In The Delivery Room

Illustration for article titled Why Fathers Should Be In The Delivery Room

I have been baffled by the recent backlash against dads in the delivery room, one of those things that seems to make such perfect sense to me that I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the counter-argument.

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First, the New York Times ran a piece suggesting that men are sufficiently grossed out by the miracle of birth that it actually kills passion. Then, some doc in France said that having dad around is bad because it stresses mom out. Now comes the idea that the pre-natal period — in which dad, no matter how many Lamaze classes he attends, is kind of on the outside looking in — conditions would-be dads to see themselves as useless when the kid actually emerges.

I love Strollerderby's take on why this is dumb:

So, instead of keeping dad away, maybe the answer is as simple as acknowledging that the period of pregnancy and birth can be weird and awkward and alienating for him. We can talk more about the differences between men and women's experiences. We can give mom permission to go though a distinctly female experience without feeling like she's a sell-out to women's rights. We should look harder at why dad is feeling so passive in the delivery room. And give him better tools to help his pregnant/birthing/lactating partner in a way that bolsters confidence.

And — once again, for the record — I am adamant that dads be present for childbirth for one simple reason: there are few times in life when we can make it crystal clear to dads how powerful and important the job of raising, teaching and protecting a child is. One of those time happens in the delivery room, and I shudder to think there are people interested in eliminating that moment.

(Hat Tip to Jason Sperber for pointing this out.)

Photo via stock.xchng.

This post originally appeared on Rebel Dad. Republished with permission.

The author of this post can be contacted at rebeldad@gmail.com.

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DISCUSSION

bearythebear-old
bearythebear

My wife and I just had our first child, a girl we named Harper, six months ago. I was with her the entire time, I held my wife and squeezed her hand through all the pain and helped prop her up when it was time to push. Both my wife and daughter came out of delivery with no problems at all. There was a mirror propped up so my wife and I could see the entire process - it was an amazing experience. Everything about it was entirely beautiful. And everything else that came after—learning how to breastfeed, caring for my wife during her recovery, all the emotional ups and downs we had from sleep deprivation in the next weeks—only brought us closer.

It's incredible to me that men can feel "grossed out" after that experience—its a chance to really gaze deeply into yourself and unfortunate that so many people miss that opportunity. To each their own on feeling alienated, but for me, making a child with someone is a partnership—and you don't shy away from something that is a completely natural process just because something mighI didn't carry my daughter for 9 months and I certainly can't feed my daughter from my own body, but I try to make sure I help my wife and daughter as happy as they can be each day, even if its just with little things.