One of the most important roles a birthing partner can play is in the debriefing afterwards: your partner might not be able to take in the information during the birth, but you will be able to tell her what’s happened, and why. Expect your partner to need to talk and talk and talk about the experience afterwards. Don’t worry that your partner will never get over the pain of labour; the memory does fade.
How are you feeling?
Despite this question always being asked, a proper answer is probably not expected. If you did you would probably be viewed with surprise as let’s face it the woman has done all the work! But men’s health is a new hot topic, and there is an increasing amount of research being done in this area.
Just being at the birth of your baby forces you to experience a wide range of emotions, and the weeks following can be equally tough. As a the reality kicks in, after months of anticipation towards the birth, the reality can bring out feelings of self-doubt, sometimes resentment and fear for the future.
On top of all these new responsibilities you will now have less time, less energy and for many less money. You may feel guilty if you missed the birth or if you were present feel anxious about the pain your partner went through. If the birth was difficult you could also be in shock as medical teams take over what you perhaps hoped would be a peaceful and relaxed birth.
Some dad’s feel disappointed with the gender of their baby, and some new dad’s are concerned that they don’t feel that overwhelming and intense love for their babies straight away. But there are so many emotional reactions that come into play, you need time together to discuss and share the experience.
But quoting the stereotypical role of the man to be strong, silent and able to cope, and that you are allowed a few tears at the birth but after that are you expected to just get on with it. That is perhaps what some family and friends will expect from you, and perhaps even your partner, but you should feel free to express and share your worries and concerns. Luckily, the vast majority of men get through the first few weeks and move on to fully enjoy the baby experience. Getting involved with caring for your baby is the best way to banish any chance of the ”baby blues”. Getting as much hands on experience of your baby as possible will help your self-esteem and confidence grow and you will soon start to feel that love, and benefit from all those hugs, kisses and smiles that you new baby will share.
Remember that after the birth, you will need to debrief as well: a dad also needs someone to talk to and share the experience that has just changed his life for ever.