In the olden days (say, anytime before 1970), dads-to-be weren’t allowed in the delivery room. Instead, they had to bide their time in the waiting room before they could break out the cigars. Think of Ricky Ricardo and other sitcom dads pacing in the waiting room as their wives did the hard work off-screen.
But times have changed and nowadays, most fathers I know would never agree to miss out on the big event.
I certainly wasn’t planning on going through labor without my husband by my side. After all, it wasn’t just my baby I was having. It was ours and I wanted him to be part of the experience. But I was admittedly, a bit nervous that he would be grossed out by the actual event.
Sure, he was quite familiar with my body by that point, but he had never actually seen a baby come out of my vagina before. How would he take it? Would he ever be able to see me as a sexual being again?
Taffy Brodesser-Akner (who, by the way, happens to be a friendly acquaintance of mine as well as a Facebook friend) had some of the same questions before she giving birth to her first son.
“As my first pregnancy progressed, I became more anxious that whatever went down in that delivery room would burn an image on my husband’s retina that would make it impossible for him to ever see me as a sexual being again,” Brodesser-Akner writes in an essay for Babble (coincidentally, I worked with Brodesser-Akner’s husband years ago).
Ultimately, in Brodesser-Akner’s case as well as my own, having my husband by my side during childbirth (or in her case, her C-section), only brought them closer.
Brodesser-Akner did anecdotal research on the topic by interviewing some guy friends. Turns out that none of them were weirded out by witnessing childbirth — bodily fluids and all.
She also interviews Dr. Louann Brizendine, author of The Male Brain, who says that men aren’t repulsed, but rather, in awe of their partners. “ His level of admiration and respect for her physical courage and ability to get through that kind of physical feat that he will never have to do overpowers all the other stuff, said Dr. Brizendine.
Meanwhile, a recent study suggests that it may not be such a good idea to have dad in the delivery room because his involvement in childbirth might actually set him up to fail as a new father. It certainly didn’t work that way in my case — instead, being in the delivery room set my husband up to be an active participant in his children’s lives.
Was your husband in the delivery room with you? And if he was, did he see you differently after witnesses you give birth?