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Presence of the father at the birth

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Dads are often present at the birth of their child these days. Read about how you can help your partner overcome his fears and what to do if he doesn't want to be there.

© Jupiter - Presence of the father at the birth
© Jupiter
Changing times
There was a time when men would sit patiently in the waiting room, nervously awaiting news of their child’s birth. In 1962, men were allowed into British delivery rooms for the first time.

Nowadays, the presence of her partner during childbirth is often wished for by the woman, and recommended by specialists. In the face of social pressure, some men agree without really wanting to, and yet there is nothing obligatory about it.

What if my partner doesn't want to be there?
You shouldn’t force him to go against his wishes. Faced with his own fears, it could make what should be a special moment into a bad experience for him. Insisting means that you’re not respecting his fears.And even if he does give in, his presence will only be of value to you if he really wants to be there. There’s no point burdening yourself with a man who feels uncomfortable at a time that’s so special for you.

Joint decision
To prevent last-minute arguments, you should discuss the issue fairly early on in your pregnancy. The anxious dad-to-be may overcome his fears and change his mind.
If he wants to be present, let the medical staff know so you can be sure that it’s allowed, especially if you have to have a planned Caesarean.

Common concerns
The same fears affect the majority of dads-to-be, and while some men manage to overcome them, others are unable to.

- Fear of not being able to handle it. He’s simply scared about blood or about the pain you’ll be going through and doesn’t want to let it show - or worse, pass out in front of you. Reassure him by telling him that the experience of childbirth won’t be anywhere near as bad as he imagines.

- Fear of feeling useless. You’re the one doing all the work and all he can do to help you is be present. Let him know how much his presence means to you and how just by being there, holding your hand or smiling at you, he will be helping you a lot. He will be pleased to know that it’s not unusual to see dads leaving the delivery room exhausted as well. This is proof of how dads experience the moment just as intensively as mums do.

- Fear of rejection
. There is a lot of talk about the bond between baby and mum, but dad has an important place as well and he occupies this place as soon as baby arrives. Dads can feel overwhelmed by this and a bit lost at times. Comfort him and tell him that you’ll always be there for him despite now being a mum, and remind him of the essential role he has to play in the family.

Parenting Editor
15/09/2009 00:15:00
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