“Dads can play a key role early on in pregnancy to help mom and baby get the care that’s safest and healthiest…He’s a very important advocate, and can provide emotional support for mom throughout labor and birth.” –Tara Owens Shuler, Lamaze President-elect (via Five Tips for Expectant Dads to Prepare for Labor and Birth — Giving Birth with Confidence)
“Fatherhood challenges us, but it also enlarges us and reshapes our perception of what is important in the world around us. As we take stock of this new world, we find that doing our job as a dad is inherently honorable and respectful, and brings to us the dignity that goes with the territory. Far from being emasculating, being a dad makes us men in the finest sense of the term.” –Dads Adventure (via Happy Father’s Day! | Talk Birth, 2011)
“I share…with the dads in my classes—your most important job is just to love her the way you love her, not to try to be anything different or more ‘special’ than you already are…” (via Fathers, Fear, and Birth | Talk Birth)
“A few weeks ago, I spoke to a mother from one of my most recent birth classes. She told me something that her husband said to her in labor that I found very profound. Staff at the hospital were becoming concerned that this mother’s labor was ‘not progressing’ and ‘not normal’ She, in turn, became worried that she wasn’t normal and that something was wrong. Her husband told her: “There is no normal. There is no right way. There is only your birth.” (via No Right Way + Fathers at Birth | Talk Birth.)
It is Father’s Day! I know I spend most of my time writing about women and mothers, but dads are amazing people as well. And, conveniently, I keep finding things I’d like to share about fathers and birth this week, including this article by a male doula:
As a birth professional, I have worked with many amazing dads who glowed at least as bright as their pregnant partners. At most of the births that I have attended, the tears coming from the eyes of men overwhelmed with joy and relief at the birth of their baby have been just as wet as those of the mothers. I am not trying to equate the experiences of becoming a father with becoming a mother. However, I do hope to shed light on how birth professionals’ communication with fathers can influence the pregnancy and childbirth experience not just for fathers but also for mothers and babies. Like many birth professionals, I have worked hard to support the whole “client family” and honor the role of each person involved…
And, just for a laugh!
I’m also remembering babyloss fathers at this time of year as well after scanning over these Healing Resources Specific to Fathers: Long Term Healing/Perspectives – Still Birth Day.
I’m not sure if anyone remembers, but in early 2011 as I watched my husband bond with his new baby girl, I explained the following:
We have discussed how each of our babies has been a catalyst for big changes in our home situation. Our first baby was the catalyst we needed to move away from our by-the-highway-no-yard townhouse in a city and onto our own land in the country near my parents. Our second baby was the catalyst we needed to finish building our real house and to move out of our temporary house and into our permanent home. So, we are now wondering what kind of catalyst our baby girl will be? We have spent our entire married life (13 years!) saying that we want to live a “home based life.” I truly do not think it is (biologically) normal, desirable, or healthy for anyone to spend 40+ hours a week out of their home, regardless of whether or not they have children or who the primary caregiver is. I don’t think fathers belong at work that much time, I don’t think mothers do either, and I don’t think children belong at school every day. The home-based life idea came to us long before we had kids and it came from all the reading and thinking I did about the simple living movement. So, I wonder—and hope—that maybe our new baby will be the catalyst we need to finally face the fear of possible failure (and/or no money!) that accompanies jettisoning his full-time job and building our other “multiple streams of income.” Maybe we will, maybe we’ll keep talking ourselves out of it, but that is what our baby girl makes us feel like doing!
That time has finally come and he gave his notice at work on Friday! His last day is June 28th and we are feeling a little freaked out. This is huge. This is also a decision that has been a long time coming, having tossed it around for the first time in 2001, two full years before we even had any children at all. We’ve gotten to a point at which it feels like it is less helpful to our family to have him at work than it is to have him home and that the costs of him working in his present job are outweighing the benefits. He has several different project ideas to explore and also a whole heck of a lot of life to live. I promised we’d take some time to “un-job” or detox from the regular work world for at least three months before we start trying to explore the other ways we have in mind for him to make money. He’s been sitting at a desk every day since he was five years old. It is time for a change! I’m feeling a bit of pressure with the shift of household wage-earning responsibility to my shoulders, especially since I make about 60% of his salary (and I work on a contract basis) and this means our household income is now falling by two-thirds. However, I also remember that he’s been in the position of primary wage-earner for our entire now-15-years of marriage and quite frankly, maybe it is high time for me to take a turn, especially because my work only takes me out of the home for seven hours a week (fourteen on the “heavy” sessions when I teach three classes) and he is gone for fifty or more…hmm…do the math!
Mark and I have always been wonderfully compatible people, but we do sometimes have our differences over parenting. I feel like he is tougher on, and more critical of, the boys than the parenting ideal I hold in my head. I have been terrible for years about butting in and not letting them define the boundaries of their own relationship and I’m also terrible about “correcting” or interfering with what he is doing with the kids. As I looked through pictures from our recent trip to include in this post, I saw something really, really clearly: I saw an amazing dad taking good care of his kids. It was woven throughout our entire trip. Just because his communication with them doesn’t always look like what I read in all my books, doesn’t mean it isn’t working…
Speaking of my husband’s awesomeness, might I also mention that I’m here at the La Leche League of Missouri conference on Father’s Day and who is here with me, taking care of the kids, driving, etc., so that I can do something important to me. I really appreciate him!
Also, I can’t let Father’s Day go by without a picture of me with my own dad! These were taken in April when my grandma was sick.
Happy Father’s Day!