Have you ever noticed the way mainstream media portrays dads? Take a minute and think about it. There are always images of clueless dads scrambling to change a diaper, dads who are awkwardly holding a baby all while baby looks like he’ll fall to the ground at any minute. There are dads who don’t know how to make toast, or dads that can’t be given any meaningful task without screwing it up completely. (Don’t’ believe me? Check out this video, this video, this video,
or this video.)
It is a very common and very insulting portrayal of the modern father.
Last spring an article circulated social media titled, 28 Examples of Crap Husbands Pull While Their Wives are in Labor. I hated it then, but when it recently made the rounds again this week, I had had enough. To me, it sounds like most of the men mentioned in the article really just lacked education about birth. They weren’t aware of ways to help their wives stay comfortable in labor, and they didn’t quite understand the process or stages of birth. As a childbirth educator and Birth Boot Camp Instructor, I proudly teach dads ways to support their partners in labor, including relaxation techniques and comfort measures.
There are so many wonderful, helpful, nurturing men out there. I have seen them in class, I am married to one, and I was raised by one. Don’t you think we really need to celebrate them instead of perpetuating the idea of the “dumb dad”?
I took to the streets and asked women to tell me all of the ways their husband’s were wonderful during their birth experience. There are some really beautiful stories of compassionate, nurturing, helpful men and these ladies are so lucky to have them!
Mine kept the kids occupied so that I could relax and get into my labor zone. When labor started moving at the speed of light, he made a valiant attempt to get the birth pool set up in time. He got it set up just in the nick of time, but by that point, I refused to get out of our bathtub. Poor guy. –Hailie Wolfe
When we realized we were about to have an unplanned homebirth because our son was coming so fast, my doula asked if we wanted her to “call 9-1-1, or call her midwife friend.” My husband, with an excited smile said, “Call the midwife! This is awesome!” It’s one of my favorite memories. –Nancy Rebarchik
My husband filled the birth tub with a bucket when the hose wouldn’t work with our sink. He stopped at the beginning of each contraction, held my hands, said encouraging words and continued to fill the tub after each contraction. When it was time to push, he got in the birthing pool and held me through each contraction. When our daughter was born, he cried. –Kristen Granberry Hosaka
My husband was nothing but supportive during the birth of all three children. He went all day without eating during the first, he agreed to take pictures of my c section and when our baby was whisked away to the NICU he stayed with him for over 24 hours straight, and during my last labor he let me squeeze every drop of blood from his hand while I pushed and encouraged me to squeeze tighter if it helped, remember to breathe, and that he was so proud of me and he loves me and I’m amazing. I’m tearing up now. I better go kiss that man! –Bekah Danielle Smith
During the pushing stage of my second birth my midwife had me stand on the bed, squatting to help move baby down. My hubby held my entire, hugely pregnant body up for I don’t even know how long while I pushed our baby out. He never complained he was sore the next day. –Cheryl Amelang
He vocalized with me during my entire first labor which helped me feel confident to make as much noise as I needed. He was perfect. He did everything right. For my second birth, he was there. It is hard to describe, but the fact that he supported my birth wishes, loved my midwife, and bragged that we were having a home birth, meant the world to me. He made me feel safe and loved and all I had to worry about was birthing a baby. –Kristi Keen
Mine spent two hours once a week for ten weeks preparing for our birth, he practiced relaxation with me, brought me home protein packed treats. He “labored” with me before it ever began and was a hip squeezing, sacrum pushing, pool filling, food making superman during. And had it been necessary he would’ve literally “pulled crap” out of the water with that awesome little net thing that came in my kit. The daddies and mommies need Birth Boot Camp. –Tara Jewett Quinn
He held my hands through every contraction and whispered affirmations to me. When he reached down to catch my baby and hand him to me, he teared up. –Shazia Lackey
My husband was amazing with my last two births-total 180 from my first birth. We took Birth Boot Camp with our second. He just didn’t know what to do with out first, but he tried. He held the heat pack as best as he could, held my numb leg and watched every second of the birth – the nurse had placed the internal fetal monitor earlier and said our baby was totally bald. When Ethan was crowning, fuzzy hair was showing and my husband later told me he thought, “what in earth?! I didn’t know women had hair up in there?!?” Since the nurse had told him Ethan was bald. Turns out she put the monitor on his forehead. He had a lightning bolt scar for a few days like Harry potter. 2nd birth Ryan held my hands, squeezed my hips and gave counter pressure, literally took all of my weight when my doula told me to give it to him, carried me back inside our apartment, gathered all our towels, and panted with me to slow down the pushing. 3rd he labored with me for 3 days, staying up at night to help me through the tough contractions. He helped set up the birth tub, helped me over to it, hopped in with me when I needed him, and caught Emma even though he said he didn’t want to. Then he cried and said something like “this is amazing! And incredible!” It was so sweet! In his cry voice he said “you just pooped two little ones sweety. That was amazing!” I almost got mad but he was so cute I couldn’t. He was so supportive about the homebirth and was my rock! –Beth Whitlock Barber Bbci
When I went into labor the second time it was the middle of the night. I poked my husband and said “it’s time!”. He sat straight up and said “it’s game time!!” and immediately started blowing up the birth tub and getting things together. It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. With our first birth, he went out of the room to eat because they wouldn’t let me. And he sneaked some food in for me. In both births, when I started clinging to him toward the end, he never not once left my side til the baby was out. There’s not another soul I’d want to birth with. -Theryssa Fant Gossman
During both of my labors, my husband has been so calm and happy. When I was in active labor and I told him a contraction was intense, he would smile and say, “That’s great. That means we’re getting closer to the end. You’re doing amazing work.” When my thoughts turned negative, he changed my direction to be positive. –Julia West
He held my hand and told my older daughter how amazing her mommy was and not to be scared because I was working hard so we could meet her baby sister. –Shannon Boyer Blackwell
During my third birth. He stepped up to the plate and caught our daughter because our team didn’t make it. (He previously had refused to have anything to do with a homebirth) Right after he caught her, he praised me over and over saying how good I did and that I did it. And that it was the best thing ever! With my fourth things were moving fast so my team didn’t really have time to say too much. But I think he saw I was freaking out and he said, ” she’s doing so awesome isn’t she?!” to my team. It helped me get there the next few minutes. He also did some hip squeezes and explained to the older children that I was having contractions so that way brother could come out and that I was working really hard. –Andrea Felton Brannock
My husband was AMAZING for both of my births… But with our second, a home birth, he was my knight in shining armor! Everything happened SO quickly… He was running around getting the midwife and assistant sponsored onto the military base, WHILE filling the pool, and then he dropped off our older daughter at a friends house down the street. After he made sure all of that was taken care of, he put on swim trunks, got in the birth pool with me, did some of the best hip squeezing I’ve ever seen, and then caught our daughter. But one of my favorite things that he ever did… After both of our daughters were born, he wrote their birth stories for me … I will cherish those for the rest of my life. -Andrea Winn
My husband is totally in on his A game during labor and birth! But with my second, I was laboring in the shower with my midwife and doula and he was getting the birth pool set up. It had been blown up for a couple weeks and he was going to top it off with air, but the little air compressor wasn’t working. So he and my dad ran it out to the shed in the wind and rain to use the big compressor. I didn’t even realize that it was storming out! Then he finally filled it up with water. I didn’t know about that part until a few months later. Then he and my mom continuously ran hot water from the stove down to keep the pool warm for the next couple hours. And actually, had I needed another hand, my daddy would have been right there in the mix, too, but instead was upstairs watching our oldest and playing with him. Just the kind of guys they are. Melissa Kosloski
I have VERY intense labors, like a freight train rumbling right through me. For my third baby, it came on in an instant, from bearable, comfortable workable contractions to piercing, rolling, inexplicable waves. He was my ROCK. I felt out of control and unable to go on if I was disconnected from him for a contraction, and luckily that was very rare, because our arms and eyes were locked and he whispered positive affirmations of my beauty and strength as a broke between contractions and braced himself for my open, groaning mouth and face buried in his chest through each overwhelming vibration. -Tessa Aranda
While I labored in the spa on our deck in 90 degree heat my husband sat in the sun, holding an umbrella to shade me. –Jillian Hilton Blakeman
If you are looking for a childbirth education class in San Antonio, TX, contact us for information on our 10-week Birth Boot Camp Class. You can have an amazing birth and your husband can be an amazing birth partner!