My husband, K, or, the Armenian Viper (long story), has been a fantastic pregnancy partner. Once he was able to move through the first six stages of grief over his former life as a carefree, child-free, relatively-responsibility-free newlywed, he reached the final stage of acceptance and hope several months ago. He now dutifully indulges my late-night pasta cravings and hoists me off of the furniture when I can’t get up fast enough.
As I was drafting our birth plan for my OB last week, I assumed K would be the one to “catch” the baby and cut the cord. When I confirmed with him that this was in fact what we wanted, he revealed that he had a few really legitimate fears:
- He’s never “caught” a baby before. What if she slips out and he doesn’t catch her in time? What if she falls through his hands?
- What if he awkwardly catches her by a limb and accidentally dislocates it?
- What if he misjudges the length of the umbilical cord and yanks too hard when he’s handing her to me?
It occurred to me that aside from my own natural fears about labor and delivery, I hadn’t given much thought to my husband’s responsibilities as a birthing partner and how he might be processing the situation.
He’s going to have as much experience being a new parent as I will. He may not have to learn how to breast feed or nurse his shredded nether region back to working order, but he has his own set of Dad worries.
And as his baby raising partner, I owe it to him to respect his role in the labor and delivery process, and all the fears and anxieties that come with the experience.
I also owe it to him to let him know that I aired his concerns with my brother, a father of two, who quickly confirmed that he has nothing to worry about. He’ll catch the baby. He’s going to be just fine.
Image via Tyler Olson/shutterstock