Emergency C-Sections, Incubators, & Hospital Protocol: Men Experience Birth Trauma, Too

by Birth Without Fear on August 28, 2011

Birth trauma is very real and probably much more frequent than women in our society realize. But birth trauma is not exclusive to the moms and babies. We dads experience birth trauma, too, but in a very different, very mentally draining way.

Postpartum Depression for Men?

I am very involved in my family and find that my life revolves around them no matter what I do. I lie down with the younger two kids at night and, if I’m home, for naps during the day. I draw for my son and play superheroes and tag with him often (though not often enough by his standards, which would be 24/7/365), and I’m constantly teaching my oldest the differences between right and wrong as she begins getting older and discovering new language and behaviors (that we aren’t always thrilled about). I recently had to quit a steady job that demanded too much time away from family and I am now currently starting up my own business where I can make my hours revolve around my family.

With all that being said, it should not came as a surprise that I am very involved with the ins and outs of Mrs. BWF’s pregnancies and births. When she goes through trying times, I go through trying times.

Birth trauma is a very real thing for women. In fact, I will go so far as to say that birth trauma can account for much of the postpartum depression that happens in our society. It just never gets addressed because the very ones women trusted to guide them through childbirth and violated that trust have placed themselves on a holier-than-thou pedestal. It wasn’t anything the OB or the nurse or the midwife did, it is all in the new mom’s head. Her experience, good or bad, happened all by random chance and nothing the “expert” care providers did, right? It is up to the new mom to deal with it all by herself after, many times, no would leave her alone when she needed it most. Nice logic.

I say this because I have seen it first hand with Mrs. BWF. I have watched her move on past the trauma and postpartum depression by herself. I was there, but I am not a trained counselor or therapist. There’s only so much emotional support I can offer because I have never experienced it first hand.

But what about me? What about the husbands reading this or the husbands of the women reading this? What happens to them when they see their wife’s plans go up in smoke, when the hospital staff mistreats or violates their wife, when these supposed childbirth care providers instill their ignorant fears and hospital protocol on humans in a one-size-fits-all manner? What happens when we are there to support our wives through the thick and thin, but can’t because only she can birth her baby?

I was there to support Mrs. BWF, but I never realized I needed someone there to support me.

Deer in the Headlights

I was there, supporting Mrs. BWF throughout her first pregnancy, when she literally vomited every single day. So much so, that we had to take her to the Outpatient Center to get IVs so she could stay hydrated. I was there when three different midwives palpated and said the baby’s head was down, only to find out at 36 weeks that the baby was Frank Breech. Not nearly as natural minded as we are now, we opted for the c-section, believing that a Frank Breech was impossible to birth naturally.

After planning a natural birth at a birthing center for months, it was a huge disappointment to go this route.

But I was there, by Mrs. BWF’s side, looking at her insides during the c-section as they tugged our first baby free. I was there in the hospital room the next three days, sleep deprived from the nurses barging in repeatedly to check Mrs. BWF’s vitals literally every single hour. I was there to watch her cry in frustration as the baby wouldn’t latch on, all because bonding couldn’t happen after the c-section.

Fears, Crackpot, Stress

I was there during Mrs. BWF’s second pregnancy when she had constant low back pain, despite going to a Chiropractor. I was there when she began labor for the first time. Labor continued for the next 54 hours unable to progress because of birth fears never addressed. I was there when the inconvenienced midwife thought Mrs. BWF was lying about the pain, asking me what I thought we should do. I was there when we rushed Mrs. BWF to the hospital and they said she had an infection (of which they never told us what)… and the midwife later admitted she thought Mrs. BWF was making it up (being in active labor).

I was there when the strung-out crackpot OB, on edge and jittery from at least two whole pots of coffee in the last thirty minutes, performed a hack job on my wife as I watched. I was there when my son had a fever and they wouldn’t let me or my wife touch him. I was there, for an hour, talking to him, unable to touch him, while he cried in the incubator until all his vitals settled down. I was there pleading with the nurse to bring him to his mom, so she could hold him for the first time… two hours later. I was there three days later, when the nurse wouldn’t let me carry my own son to the car in his car seat due to hospital protocol. So I ripped the car seat out of her hand, finally fed up, rudely explaining that he was MY son and I would carry him to MY car and buckle him in MYSELF, of which she obliged (my death stare is second to none).

I was there when the crackpot OB took the staples out of the incision five days later and told Mrs. BWF “You can never attempt a homebirth ever again.” I was there when the crackpot OB told Mrs. BWF that the numbness in her left thigh since the surgery was due to sciatica and not the anesthesia, simply to shut us up because she had another patient waiting.

I was there a week later when I had to take five exams in seven days (I was in grad school and could not miss any time). I was there, every night, studying, helping Mrs. BWF with the new baby and sleeping an average of an hour and a half each night for a week. I was there when, after too much stress and too little sleep, severe back spasms kept me from doing anything except lie on my back for a week. I was there feeling like scum that my wife, recovering from a traumatic emergency c-section, was taking care of me because I couldn’t move. I was there for the post-partum depression that lasted weeks and months because of the failed homebirth, emergency c-section, and lack of bonding between mother and baby.

Under the Table and Social Services

I was there for Mrs. BWF’s third pregnancy, which, actually, went very smooth. I was there when we hired a midwife, but had to keep it to ourselves because the state we lived in outlawed midwives attending homebirths for VBACs. I was there when the midwife dropped Mrs. BWF from care at 42 weeks because Mrs. BWF wouldn’t try to naturally induce, leaving us to figure out what to do. I was there when we had to find another midwife (because we felt we needed one), and when we did find one (a vile CNM), we couldn’t tell her anything, making us look like the most ignorant fools walking the planet.

I was there when Mrs. BWF went into labor again (at 43 weeks, six days) and tried to do it unassisted. I was there when she realized she hadn’t prepared for an unassisted birth and that we had to go to the hospital. I was there when, in the hospital, they wouldn’t let Mrs. BWF walk around or squat, again because of hospital protocol. I was there when the rude OB came in and, without introducing himself or saying much at all, gloved up and inserted his fingers in my wife’s vagina without asking, prompting her to scream “GET OUT OF ME!” I was there when he suggested a c-section and she shot him down immediately. I was there to watch her push (finally) and to tell her the baby was crowning. I was also there to watch the vile CNM reach in, pull the baby out, and tear Mrs. BWF so badly that I was stunned to see shredded bloody flesh where it should normally be smooth and pink. I was there to see Mrs. BWF realize they had given her pitocin to “help her uterus contract,” after she had explicitly told them not to.

I was there, not wanting a repeat of the helpless feeling we had with baby #2,  belligerent and uncooperative with the nurses as they tried to run every test under the sun on our new baby (running a glucose test to check for diabetes on a six pound baby… seriously?). I was there when the vile CNM called social services on us because we (I) refused all the tests. They soon realized the vile CNM was a fool because we eventually had them done anyway (Mrs. BWF was exhausted, drugged, and didn’t want the confrontation so she gave in). I was there when the vile CNM admitted to Mrs. BWF that we made her tired because the nurses, not knowing the specifics of each test, had to go and repeatedly find out from her what exactly they were testing (shouldn’t they know that?).

The Hell With Them All & The Best Day of My Life

I was there to hear a leader in my profession speak about how her first four babies were born at home, just her and her husband and no one else. I was there to come home and bring it up to Mrs. BWF during the the first trimester of her fourth pregnancy (after she brought it up to me during her third pregnancy and I said “NO WAY!”). I was there to watch her gain confidence by reading books, blogging about it, and visualizing it. I was there at church where, because of the blog, people avoided her and pointed at her like she was a freak. I was there to hear our church leader say that other women in the church wanted him to do something because they were worried something bad would happen.

I was there when Mrs. BWF went into labor in our apartment. I was there when she went into transition in the bathtub, slipping off into a peaceful trance. I was there when she got up and stood over the toilet and pushed. I was there to see the baby crown.

I was there, finally, after so much heartache, and stress, and frustration, to catch my own baby.

I was also there to watch Mrs. BWF bond with our baby for the first time without anyone sticking their nose in our business. I was there to watch mom nurse the baby without any trouble. I was there to watch our kids wake up and realize that they had a new sister laying on mom as she sat on the family room couch. I was there to watch our oldest cut the cord.

I was there to finally experience my own healing. After the disappointments, the frustration, the anger, the heartache, the pain, the stress, and fear of another pregnancy/childbirth, I couldn’t help but feel elated, relieved, and healed by Mrs. BWF’s accomplishment.

And to this day, it was the best day of my life.

What Do You Mean Your Own Healing? You’re a Guy!

Watching your wife literally go through hell three different times doesn’t exactly render a sense of peace and comfort about birth from the male perspective. Having three bad experiences in the hospital and four bad experiences with a midwife doesn’t give me a sense of confidence in any birth provider whatsoever. Trusting birth, after my trust in it was profoundly shaken, is not an easy thing to do. Even now.

Despite our amazing experience with our fourth baby, I still have fear. But not of birth. It is a fear of what will happen to Mrs. BWF. It is the sense that if something happens to her, I can’t do anything about it. It is a very helpless feeling, and I don’t like to feel helpless.

Sure, our fourth experience was an unassisted pregnancy and homebirth, but the only thing that alleviated the fears I had was witnessing the absolute faith and confidence Mrs. BWF had in her body to birth that baby after two c-sections and an intervention-riddled VBA2C. The result was truly amazing to behold.

I’m sure most of you know Mrs. BWF is pregnant for a fifth time, and again, I still have my fears, despite the healing we went through with baby #4. But I don’t focus on them. Instead I focus on the faith and confidence I have in Mrs. BWF.

Watching Mrs. BWF become a beacon of hope to other women with similar experiences, and solidifying her own faith and confidence in her body to, once again, birth this fifth baby reminds me how good an experience birth can be.

That is what pushes me past my fears.

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{ 113 comments… read them below or add one }

Helen November 19, 2010 at 7:03 am

Thank you for speaking out, Mr BWF. Thank you for being a voice for our men, without whom we (or at least I) could never get through birth and raising our children without. Thank you.

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Sarah November 19, 2010 at 8:32 am

I must say Mr.BWF you have brought me to tears with your story. Many people don’t even ask how the Significant Other is doing after a birth just mom and baby. Thank you for saying something, thank you for being involved, thank you for being human, thank you for being able to talk about your experiences when most can’t. Thank you!

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Tammy November 19, 2010 at 8:33 am

Wow…What an amazing read! I found myself tearing up without realizing it. Much love to you! <3

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Sarah November 19, 2010 at 8:39 am

What an amazing piece. Brought me to tears. You are both so lucky to have each other and such an unshakable strength. I hope the pregnancy and birth of your 5th child is as amazing as your 4th.

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Susie November 19, 2010 at 8:58 am

Absolutely amazing story!!! I cried through most of it. I am 42 wks 3 days pregnant today with my doctor breathing down my neck about being induced. So far I have stood my ground and my wonderful husband is there right along with me. It is frightening to think about what could happen if baby is in there too long but my belief that he will come when he’s ready overrides that feeling. Knowing and hearing of women who have been pregnant longer that 42 wks and went on to have wonderful births is what is keeping me going. Thank-you for your wonderfully educating story Mr. BWF!!!

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Genevieve November 19, 2010 at 9:07 am

Beautiful!!

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Lorelei November 19, 2010 at 9:10 am

You, sir, are awesome!

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Briana November 19, 2010 at 9:13 am

WOW. This was so insightful and tear-jerking! I feel like now I have more of an idea of what my husband went through with the birth of our son. Now that we have been interviewing home birth midwives, the first question he always asks is how they would handle a hemorrhage or a bad tear (I had both with the hospital birth of our son) because I know it really scared him. Thank you for posting this!

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Mr. BWF November 19, 2010 at 9:51 am

Wow thanks everybody. I’m happy my story could help and/or inspire others out there. I actually found this very healing to write. For me birth #2 was hardest, and I actually had to wipe away tears when I was writing it. I’m grateful for Mrs. BWF and her STRONG conviction about birth and the faith in her body. Makes life a little easier for me.

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Molly November 19, 2010 at 9:53 am

What a powerful, moving post. Thanks for sharing. We rarely hear men’s voices on birthing issues/feelings.

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Camie November 19, 2010 at 10:07 am

Great post! I strongly believe there is a link between postpartum depression and a traumatic birth as I experienced it with one of my own births (the fourth out of five). With my fifth pregnancy I was determined not to go through the experience I had with my fourth. I prayed much and God was ever so faithful and we had a beautiful delivery! I am now in my 7th month with baby #6 and am continuing to pray and have faith in Jesus.

Thanks for sharing for journey – I know my own had their effects on my husband but he is on the quieter side and has never expressed them as you have. But throughout all my labors and pregnancies he has learned a great deal as I have and we definitely see the fruit in following our instincts and doing what we know is best not just was the doc or nurses say.

Blessings to you and Mrs. BWF and may this fifth pregnancy and delivery be nothing but beautiful and splendid!

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Jen C. November 19, 2010 at 11:51 am

What a wonderful thing to hear this from a husbands point of view!!! Best wishes for a wonderful peace-filled 5th birth!!!!

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Heather November 19, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Thank you. These are the kinds of stories I wish care providers would read. Maybe if they had, my own birth trauma stories wouldn’t be real. Thank you for sharing, especially from a man’s perspective. It was wrong for you and your wife to be treated that way. I’m glad you’ve found a degree of peace, and I pray #5 will be a peaceful and happy experience for you as well.

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marybeth November 19, 2010 at 12:23 pm

thank you so very, very much for this unhindered sharing. the father is indeed equally connected by the magical trinity. i am so touched to receive this piece of the healing.

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Janine November 19, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Thank you SO much for sharing this. Brought tears to my eyes. Now I know why Mrs. BWF is so passionate about birth. I too have felt violated, misunderstood and suspected of lying. Recently with my fourth child at the end of the pregnancy I passed a kidney stone, without anyone believing I was in so much pain because I was not dilated, even though I told them it was not labor pain. Then to have my midwife try to stretch my cervix from an 8.5 to a 10 in the middle of a contraction without my knowledge and permission. I think your birth at home sounded so beautiful… If I have a 5th, I may try it.

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Rachel November 19, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your stories. I’m so sorry for the traumatic things you experienced. I’m glad you found some healing, and are sharing your stories with others. All the best for a wonderful birth for #5!

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Heather November 19, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Thank you for sharing, that was hard and wonderful to read and it brought tears to my eyes.

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Mychel November 19, 2010 at 2:30 pm

My husband lived in hell for nearly 7 years after my unnecessary c-section. He lost his wife because part of me died that day. That led to depression, weight gain, health related problems, emptiness, no zeal for life, no desire for him, I was an empty shell. Our last pregnancy, 6 years later was riddled with vile people or vile protocols and we finally said screw them all and had an unassisted home birth. I can say he would probably put that as one of his best days too. I’m still not 100 percent the person I used to be, I don’t think I ever will be but I have found strength to deal with whatever comes my way because I know he will always be behind me every step of the way.

We focus on the moms who are traumatized by this crap shoot we call maternity care but really whole families are being torn apart. My first son rejected me after the c/s because I couldn’t hold him and he didn’t understand, I wasn’t a good mom to my baby born via c/s because I wondered if he was truly mine, I didn’t get to see him for over 12 hours after his birth and I have never been able to completely grasp that he is mine. The fact that I’m not divorced is a testament to how committed and loving my husband is, he’s had a rough road. I honestly think that men hold the key to changing maternity care, when they start speaking out in numbers I believe it will be heard. Not to say that we women aren’t doing a good job but when families stand together, people take notice. Keep sharing.

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Kelli November 19, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Thank you for writing this. Birth is a family event. My husband and I have experienced traumatic birth and a birth with a disappointing unexpected outcome. I have often wondered what it would be like for us to experience a normal, natural birth together. As beautiful as the love that creates our babies, birth can be even more so. I commend you for sticking by Mrs. BWF and putting yourself out there to protect her space. It is relationship that makes babies – life. I wish you many more happy healing days. I’m still on a healing journey. I don’t know if it will mean for me another pregnancy and birth, or simply sharing what I’ve learned with others – time will see. But, I so appreciate everyone willing to step out there and share their experience. I’ll have to share this post with my husband.

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Mistie November 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Man, you should have been part of the movie “Behind the Glass” it is about fathers and what their experiences are of hospital protocol, pregnancy, birth and delivery and seeing their babies.. behind the glass of the nurseries.

Well written and thank you for sharing.

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Kristen November 19, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this. It took me several minutes to finish. Having to stop and cry a lot! I have had some of the same experiences. I really think sharing this will help many other fathers be able to express all the emotions they are feeling. Birth blessings to your wife and family. I now trust birth and I know she will do wonderfully!

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Mr. BWF November 19, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Once again, thank you for the responses. I’m actually pretty shocked by how powerful everyone says it has been for them. I’m glad I could offer some insight that can help others.

@Mistie: I’d love to be in a documentary someday. ;-) Might piss some people off though.

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Briana November 19, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Oh and by the way, I LOVED that you grabbed the car seat from the nurse!!! I hate that they see your child as another number in the hospital. A nurse came in to take blood tests for my son, told me that no I could not hold him while she did it, and I was left sitting on the bed crying while he screamed because I couldn’t get out of the hospital bed and hold him. My husband was out of the room, but when he came back in he was FURIOUS and chewed the nurse out.

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Karen November 19, 2010 at 7:12 pm

All i can say is WOW, WOW, WOW. this is the first piece i have read of your blog and im so pleased i have. Hang on to that man Mrs BWF! he is a keeper.
thank you so much for sharing. i knew it was hard on my husband watching our first emergancy section, then having a miscarriage, then having a second section and then a third but i think i can get in hubby’s head a little better now.
thank you again and best wishes for baby number 5. xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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Mara November 19, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Thanks for sharing this very personal and heartbreaking story. I have been very fortunate to have my babies born at home with a wonderful midwife I consider a dear friend. She is as natural as you want her to be, warm, supportive, calm, and nurturing. I am so sorry that your babies couldn’t be born the way you intended. But I admire both of you for your persistence and determination, and for the information you share. Thank you.

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Jenny Griebenow November 19, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Awesome blog entry. Thank you.

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Christy November 19, 2010 at 9:02 pm

This is one of the most powerful pieces on the horrors of medicalized birth and the beautiful experience that is an intimate, unassisted family homebirth, and all from a man, no less! I just watched The Business of Being Born and they show footage of laboring women who were restrained with lambswool tying down their their arms and legs and left for days, sometimes in their own wastes. The lambswool was so as not to leave marks, so their husbands would not know! I have heard and read so many hospital horror stories. I was traumatized by watching my friend’s induced hospital birth, the one and hopefully ever, hospital birth I’ve witnessed. I am sickened by how women and babies are treated and am a natural birth advocate, fully believing that women should be left alone to do what they know they need to do to birth. I’ve never birthed in a hospital, and would have to be dying to do so. I love homebirth, and especially unassisted birth. Our last one had only my husband and children here, and it was our favorite, most intimate birth. I hope your next birth is blessed in every way!

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Guggie Daly November 20, 2010 at 12:27 am

Thank you so very much for sharing. Fathers have been pushed to the side thanks to the medical/obstetrical industry. They feel helpless and stand by, watching their loved ones experience fear and pain in a thousand different ways. Traumatic, dehumanized births hurt everyone, from the child to the mother to the father. :(

Although we do not have any traumatic births in our history, DH has experienced several severe situations with doctors and hospitals. I knew this, but had no idea how much unassisted husband/wife birthing would impact him. After he caught our son, the look in his eyes…simply indescribable. Restoring hope in someone’s life is an amazing thing and I’m glad both of you got to feel that. Here’s looking to #5!

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Lisa November 20, 2010 at 2:07 pm

I love your post. I’ve been through hell in my birth history (our last baby was also a c-section – no VBAC for me – and it wasn’t healing…but it was, at lesat, not traumatic), and dh was beside me every step of the way. I’ve heard other women say the same thing. But, I think sometimes we, as women, forget that the only way our husbands can go through hell with us is…to go through hell themselves.

Sometimes, I’m amazed at how many marriages *survive* the birth experience. It takes a profound level of commitment, I think. Mrs. BWF has a great partner. (So do I.)

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florence November 20, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Beacon of hope…. have you ever thought about wirting for Hallmark?

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Mr. BWF November 20, 2010 at 4:15 pm

No, I’ve never thought of writing for Hallmark. Maybe I’ll consider it though! ;-)

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Birth Smart November 20, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Great post! Glad you decided to have a 4th and a 5th. You are helping to change the world. All the best to you with your next birth.

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Shana Ritter November 21, 2010 at 3:04 am

Thank you so much for this. Birth is not just about mothers and babies… or about doctors and midwives (!!!)… it is about families and it affects fathers, too… profoundly! Thank you so much for so poignantly illustrating your personal experience and journey. Like many other readers, it had me in tears also.
“Traumatic, dehumanized births hurt everyone, from the child to the mother to the father.” – Guggie Daly from her comment below… I couldn’t agree more, but would only add that they also hurt society. We are traumatized as a society by our societal view of birth as dangerous, violent, out of control, and something that we need to be SAVED from by the doctors, hospitals, drugs, and interventions. If we could only, as a society, reconnect with the power of the birth experience, imagine what it could do to connect us with our selves?
Thank you so much for sharing this very private and personal part of your experience. We will all be standing by and cheering you and Mrs. BWF on as baby #5 is welcomed into your family.

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Arp @birthformen November 21, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Thanks SO much for sharing. I felt stressed and angry reading about your experiences and happy that you & mrs had a happy fourth birth experience. The world needs more men like you – you rock!

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Mr. BWF November 21, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Thanks Arp! I appreciate that.

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NADJA November 21, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Thank you for your inspiring words. This will help our community see the importance of a males role in pregnancy, labour, post partum and within the family unit.

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Jo November 22, 2010 at 8:02 am

I have to say that I’ve sat here balling like a baby at your story. What a wonderful end to such a traumatic tale. Thank you for sharing and I wish you all the best for the birth of No. 5 x

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Doulalee November 22, 2010 at 11:25 am

I feel very cheated out of the birth experiences that I wanted, but never knew they were available to me. Then again, maybe they weren’t available 31 years ago. I became a birth doula to try and help moms and dads experience the wonder and joy of birthing their babies. Your story brought back so many bad memories, memories that I should hold dear for the rest of my life, and can never relive or have back. Dads do go through birth trauma. It’s very hard to watch a loved one go through that horrible stuff, and have your hopes and dreams shattered by unfeeling, obnoxious, rude medical personnel. You can never rebirth your babies, when it’s over, it’s over. Since I can never have mine back, I would only hope to help others achieve their ultimate birthing experiences and look back upon them fondly and lovingly as the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to them.

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danielle van pelt November 24, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Ok,I just want to say oh my god.I can’t believe u both could have went though that an still held ur head up.I was not supposed to have children an I have a healthy baby girl 11 month now.I wanted to do a home birth because I have lower back problems an wanted to do the tub thing,but like u we where told we where not allowed to do that.it would be unsafe for our child.because I was scared we did what they said.we r waiting til our baby girl is over a year to try an get pregnant again.after my husband read this he said baby we can do this.an we can have 911 on speed dial if something dose happen.I never thought I would hear him say that.I did it all natural in the hospital,but left an right I was kicking the nurses out telling them ill let u know when we need u.I just want to say thank u so much for saying all that.it helps me feel confident that we can do this an we will.oh an by the way they tell me she was a miracle baby so they know for sure I will not conceive again,and by reading this we r confident that we will be able an able to do it at home with our family at our side an bwf on the computer helping us though it.thank u so much.we love u an good luck with this one.an god bless.we will keep u all in our prayers.god never gives u more than u can handle he knows u better than anybody,an will guide u though this.god bless an I can’t say thank u enough. The van pelt family

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Nev December 8, 2010 at 5:06 am

Wow. This made me cry a little. You truly went through hell but came out to sunshine at the end. I wish you all the best for birth No 5. :)

Nev

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Andrea von Schoening December 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Wow – that’s one of the best birth posts I have ever read, and I have read a lot! Thank you for your raw honesty! Men like you are restoring my faith in men and in Dads. I will recommend this post to all the Dads I come in contact with as a labour doula … you are a shining example of how engaged Dads can be, if they choose to be. You have also made me aware of how hard it is for a Dad that IS engaged, to witness the brutality with which birth is treated by the medical system … and the brutality with which their partners and babies are treated. Thank you for your courage, both at the births of your children and in the sharing of your story here! I can’t tell you how valuable this is for me! I wish you and Mrs BWF an absolutely wonderful birth with this next babe! S/he is a very lucky babe, to be born to two such powerful parents! All the best!

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Andrea December 29, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Love this post! Fantastic. :) I like how it looks at it from the partner’s perspective.
I sure would like to see less heteronormative language in the future though… We’re not all husbands and daddies. Some of us are partners/wives/mommies. There are also dads who aren’t married to moms, fyi. ;)

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Mary Bennefield December 31, 2010 at 1:26 am

Excellent post, Mr. BWF! Although I have experienced the trauma from a womans perspective (having been through some similar experiences) I must say this is the first time I have had a firm understanding of what the experience does to the husbands and fathers who must witness these horrific happenings. God Bless you for taking such good care of Mrs. BWF and joining her on the journey to healing and empowerment.

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Momof6 January 8, 2011 at 4:10 pm

This post is very touching…..but unfortunately not every woman is blessed, lucky or fortunate enough to have a man who would be like this….I seriously doubt you are the “norm” more like the exception..I wish my husband would be more emotionally involved..but to him it’s more like a sporting event and once it’s over…well, he moves on.

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Mrs. BWF January 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm

I’m sorry mama. You know it also depends on the time and what we are going through too. Mr. BWF hasn’t been able to be there for me as much this pregnancy and it’s been really hard on me. Just now at almost 35 weeks is that changing. (((hugs)))

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Momof6 January 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Yes..that’s true..but w/ 6 pregnancies and he’s been this way w/ each one no matter what is going on in our lives..well, that’s just how he is…this time around he’s been unemployed for the most part and yet right now as we approach the “guess date” (I am 37 weeks) all he can focus on is the Superbowl, and some other stuff he wants to get involved in…leaving me the bulk of the responsibility. I’m really not looking forward to this at all.

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Mrs. BWF January 10, 2011 at 10:29 am

So sorry mama. Sounds like there are some things that need to worked out. (((hugs)))

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Meredith January 11, 2011 at 12:59 am

For the past couple of weeks my husband has been unusually grumpy. Today on our way to the market I was telling him how I feel, when we had to transfer to the hospital that each intervention snow balled and eventually led us to birth rape and a c-section. After moving onto another subject he seemed off and responded to something very snarky. I asked him to PLEASE tell me why he was bening so grumpy and he finally told me. He feels like a failure. That he didn’t stop the doctor from violating me and protect me. (Neither of us had any idea what the doctor was doing until he was doing it.) I had him read this post from Mr. BWF. I am so glad that this resource was availble and I hope it helps him with the healing process. Thank you!! <3

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Victor Hugo January 16, 2011 at 1:58 am

I related to all you said.

We are currently awaiting the return of our 3rd baby from NICU. Our first baby was a CS (failure to progress) and our 2nd was a VBAC. Our 3rd son’s story was such that before the scheduled C-section could take place, he “pushed his way out on his own, (with help from mother of course,) in the ambulance en route to the hospital. Literally, they both beat the docs to it.

I too, feel my wife’s ups and downs and even warned the docs that if this was another CS, then I would need to find psychotherapy for us both because I know how devastating it would be.

We’ve learned to advocate for ourselves with the medical staff, to ask questions and to weigh the risks, benefits, and alternatives.

It is true that we partners experience trauma as well. Thank you for speaking out.

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Lil January 17, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Thank you for having the courage to speak and give voice to the pain.

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Jessica February 22, 2011 at 9:22 am

It’s not always easy to share such an intimate and personal struggle, thank you for being willing to share this because you are surely not the only husband who has experienced this. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Joy February 22, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Thank you for sharing Mr. BWF! I hope to share with my husband when he gets home from work tonight. While our previous births were not as traumatic they were still violations of my person and of our babies so I think much is to be learned and gleaned from the man’s point of view. It’s hard to want to protect but not “break rules” because the hospital gods deem things so. I’m excited to interview potential home birth midwives and a birth center midwife in the coming weeks for our fourth baby!

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Kari March 23, 2011 at 12:58 am

AMAZING! Thanks for sharing! Supporting your wife/best friend through that is crazy hard, but look at all the women you guys help every day. THANK YOU!

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Amanda R April 9, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I found myself in tears reading this. As someone who planned a homebirth, but ended up in the hospital with a less than stellar birth experience, this touches me on so many levels. It’s been 3 1/2 months since our beautiful baby girl was born (our first!) and I still haven’t fully addressed or dealt with the emotions and events that took place during our labor. While the physical wounds have healed, I know I still have emotional ones I need to deal with. You two give me faith that I can get through it.

Your family is truly inspirational and gives me faith that when we’re ready for baby #2, it’s OK to try again for that homebirth I so desperately dreamed of, planned, and wanted with every fiber of my being. You’ve helped me realized that not every birth has to be traumatizing and there are ways to push past that fear and try again.

Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. It means more to me than you’ll ever know. <3

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