Pregnancy

Anonymous Mom: My Husband Is Not Invited To My Second Baby’s Birth

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labor roomAnonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

With my first child, my husband was very excited to be part of the whole having-a-baby process. He loyally attended every prenatal appointment, went to the labor classes, and helped me pick a dula. When it came time to actually push out the child, I knew it would be mostly on me. He tried to be helpful, but ultimately, he clearly got frustrated by how long it took, got bored, and was generally not a fan of the process. I knew he would be kicked out of the room once I started pushing (part of the reason I felt I needed a dula), but I wanted him out way sooner.

My labor lasted 31 hours, starting at 10 p.m. I was exhausted going in, having started my day at work at six a.m., and feeling fairly surprised to go into labor so late at night. The early few hours of labor were OK, but by early the next morning, I spent plenty of time furiously texting friends to babysit my husband—take him to lunch, bring him dinner, really take him anywhere away from me. He was bored, frustrated, and for lack of a better word, fussy. Once our daughter was born, I asked the doula to get him, and he met our little girl within five minutes of her birth.

They have been inseparable since.

I’m a private person. In an age of the STFU parents overshare, I’m proud to say my kid’s pic has never been on Facebook, Twitter, or any wacky blogs. I’m private with my body too. It’s not a shame thing, it’s just a personal preference. My first OB was very critical of this, and even made a snarky comment about how I could have gotten pregnant when I couldn’t even stand to have my husband in the room for internal exams.

I think with this next child, I need to honor my privacy a bit more.

As we talk about how things will be the same, or different, with baby number two, I realized I need a different sort of labor and pregnancy. If he feels he needs to come with me to the prenatal appointments, that’s fine. I don’t really feel like I need his support or participation, but I do appreciate that he wants to be so involved, and I recognize I’m lucky. But when it comes to labor, it’s a different ballgame, sister.

I realized I cannot focus on labor and on taking care of him. He wants so much to be in the room with me, wants to see the magic happen, wants to meet the little one right away. But I can’t do it, and I just want me, my doula, and my doctor. I can text him with questions, consult him with issues, and more. But if he’s in the room, I’ll spend the whole time worried that he isn’t getting enough sleep, irritated that he wants to watch TV, or grumpy that he thinks he deserves a vote in what we do to my body.

I admit I feel amazingly guilty.

It’s true that he will never have another chance to be there as THIS child is born. It’s his kid too, and in theory he should have a vote. In a way, a real way, I’m taking something from him that is irreplaceable. But let’s not kid ourselves. When it comes to labor, I’m a my body, my choice kind of gal. It’s not good for me or the baby to deal with extra stress during delivery; it’s not good for me or the baby to have another voice trying to be heard.

I love my husband. He’s a great father and husband. He will be the first to admit he’s terrible at emotional support. He’ll admit he doesn’t know what that means and gets frustrated when he doesn’t know specifically what I need. He also gets annoyed when I cry.

So I’ve already told him that I’m going to be selfish this time around. He can drop me off, stay until I’m admitted, then head on home. Or just let me go in all alone. I’ll have the doula text him updates and I will for SURE let him know when I start pushing so he can get to the hospital in time to meet the little one right after he/she’s born. But for baby number two, the labor and delivery room is invite only. And my husband just didn’t make the cut.

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(photo: ScrippsHealth)