Google+ Authentic Parenting: Who Will Be Your Birth Partner? (rerun)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Who Will Be Your Birth Partner? (rerun)

I have been known to say that birth is not a place for the father, to the great dismay of many women. I have to admit that I should rephrase.
I can tell you who your birth partner should not be. He or she should not be someone that brings fear or doubt into the birth room. Such a person will only make labor and birth harder, no doubt through ill placed good intentions. You need someone to enter the birth phase who is in the same state of mind as you.

Suggestion of pain is conveyed by the atmosphere of the labor room; it emanates from doctors, nurses and relatives. They believe in pain; subconsciously or consciously they suggest, expect and even presume pain. Upon the sensitive mind of a woman in labor such authoritative (suggestions are) a powerful adjuvant to painful sensations.
- Grantly Dick-Read, Childbirth Without Fear

Image: Adam Borkowski on Dreamstime
Another thing I can tell you is that you are strong enough to do it alone. Your body was made to give birth and all you need is yourself. Being alone makes it easier to birth undistracted, and to find that inner eye, the trance that brings you to the ultimate high of birth.
Solitude, it appears, may actually be beneficial to the laboring woman. When she has no overly concerned observers to "comfort" her, she can be free to look within herself for support and direction.
- Laura Kaplan Shanley, Unassisted Childbirth

A woman should only chose to have a birth partner when she feels she WANTS to share the birth with someone, when she trusts that person fully to enter or at least not disturb her meditative state and/or when she feels that she herself will benefit from the shared experience.

I understand that not all woman want to birth alone, I understand that these strong emotions, if shared, make a beautiful moment. Birth can be a joyous communal experience. But one should not choose a birth partner out of convention, or because he wants to be there. Yes, you have made the baby together, but the birth is yours to own, so be honest to yourself how you feel about having anyone present and choose wisely.
If a woman decides to share her birth with others, however, it should be because she chooses to - not because she feels she has to, out of fear of pain and problems.
- Laura Kaplan Shanley, Unassisted Childbirth

If you are insecure, or birthing in a hospital, a partner can be a good advocate for your desires, but make sure that he/she knows your desires and your wish for him/her to advocate them. Thoroughly talk your birth partner through his role at your birth. Tell him what you envision and what you want and do not want him to do.

So is birth the place of the father? Or anyone else except the mother? It depends on the mother’s desires and the partner’s state of mind. I have read beautiful birth stories from couples who were so attuned that they both went into that meditative state together and there was not a misplaced word, but that requires you both be in the same state of mind, and hold the same beliefs about birth.


Childbirth Without Fear, Grantly Dick-Read (2004)
Unassisted Childbirth, Laura Kaplan Shanley (1994)



  1. Beautiful! I feel the same way. My husband was the person who backed up my want to do it by myself, and because he did he stayed. There were points that I thought I couldn't do it the last time (#3)and while I was in the pool, he stroked my hair, looked me in the eyes and said "honey, you are the strongest woman I know, you can do this! You are doing great!" and that got me through. Incredible!

  2. So, your partner is really only good to get you knocked up???

  3. I can relate to this sentiment as my husband brought a lot of anxiety into the birthing room and my mother gently asked him to take a walk to dispel some of that energy which helped me a lot. I kept focusing on his emotional needs and wasn't tuning into myself for the birth and that caused it to be delayed for a long time. Women need to be very careful about who they allow into their birth space.

  4. Bambi, if you read the post closely, you'll see that your partner CAN be there, if that is what you desire. The point is that you have a CHOICE and that you sought to be careful, like some of the other commenters stated who brings what energy to your birth space.
    Being present at birth isn't the only fatherly thing your husband will get to do in his lifetime

  5. Quite frankly, the father has just as much stake as the mother. That is his child and his wife. I know that my husband would not allow me to labor without him. And choices were made by both of us. There was no "allowing him in the birth space" he was there because it was his right to be there.

  6. Sometimes a father's nervous energy is rightly-placed anxiety at seeing too many risks being taken with his own child, his flesh and blood. If you choose to dismiss his feelings as irrelevant, then you have a point. If you choose to listen to his concerns and take his feelings about the safety of his own child as being just as important as the mother's feelings, then you have missed the mark.


I love comments! Drop me a line