I birth our son Maddox, our firstborn, in our hometown’s hospital.
I’ve always thought back to how perfect it was: bringing my son into the world,
hospital staff just standing back, letting me ‘do my thing’.
It was an un-medicated 7 hour birth.
I’ve always looked back so fondly on the experience. That is, until I had my
daughter at home, surrounded by experienced, highly skilled birth
attendants and people I love.
Having a home birth without any assistance surpassed my wildest dreams about birth.
I can only describe it as ecstatic, exhilarating, liberating and empowering.
But this isn’t about me.
It’s about Matthew. Husband to Lily, father of 4 (soon to be 5).
He tells us his top 5 tips for other dads during homebirth
“Top 5 Tips for Homebirth Dads”
My wife, Lily Smallwood, has delivered 3 of our 4 children at home, and
I have been present (usually in the corner) for all of them. More and more
frequently, other Dads have asked me for advice on homebirth, assuming
that I must now be an expert or something.
I don’t know if I’ll ever feel like an expert; however, with all my vast experience,
I came up with a short, top 5 tips for Dads to follow during a home birth.
Here they are:
#1: try to be present without really being present.
I’ve found that it’s good to let her know
that I’m there, but not in an intrusive way. Offer words of encouragement like
“great job, honey” or “you’re doing it,” but don’t enter the scene, unless of
course you are told to do so. Then enter it quickly.
#2: bodily fluid is your friend.
Let’s face it, there will be a lot of it, all different kinds of it, and somebody at
some point is going to have to deal with it. It might as well be you. Have a
couple buckets ready. Have towels down everywhere, with a few chux pads
overtop. Now you’re ready for anything. Well, almost anything.
#3: don’t offer suggestions or advice.
Anything you learned from a birthing class or a book is right out.
I dare you to say, “don’t forget to breath,” then pant, and see what happens.
I also would caution starting any sentence with an “if I were you…” You aren’t
and probably will never be.
#4: follow directions promptly and quickly.
Remember: you are not giving birth. She is. And she is in charge. I’ve opened
windows, closed windows, turned on the heat, opened windows for a nice breeze
but yes, still need to crank the heat because it’s too cold… Logic is not necessarily
important, doing what you have to do is.
#5: my one real piece of advice is to be flexible, be supportive, be
whatever it is you need to be for your partner.
I would suggest a bit of talking beforehand about your role during birth, what it
is you might need to do and what it is you’re comfortable doing. Even if this isn’t
your first, every time is unique, so it’s key that you are flexible, as what happened
before may not necessarily happen again (except for the fact that a baby will be born).
Being supportive just means taking part in this incredible experience.
And most importantly, trust her.
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