Dads and Bedrest

Mamas: Support for Dads During Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery

June 13th, 2014

Greetings Mamas!

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This dad was all in for the birth of his child! Photo courtesy of Photographer Kelsi Scheel, Grace Ray Photography. See this photo and the story behind it in From Mamas to Mamas: The Essential Guide To Surviving Bedrest

Father’s Day is upon us! Have you spoken with your partner about his feelings on being present at the birth of his child? On becoming a dad? I ask this question in light of this post on one of my birth providers chat lists: (Paraphrasing to protect privacy!)

Have any of you ever had this happen:  You connected wonderfully with the momma and the energy between you two was phenomenal, yet you weren’t able to click with their partner? I feel a very awkward energy with the dad, even though the momma said that he is pretty much on board with my presence and role in the birth and is glad I’ll be there. He doesn’t attend prenatal visits and hasn’t really seemed interested in the pregnancy or my services. I’m not sure if he is avoiding me or if there is something deeper. Thoughts?

Ladies, there are a few things to consider here.

First, let’s face it. Even those of us facing our first pregnancy, completely in the dark about what is going to happen, we are lightyears ahead of our male partners (unless they are obstetricians!)! We are “accustomed” to “the weirdness of womanhood” and all that entails (i.e. menstrual cycles, feminine products, bras, make up, concealers, body shapers, hair extensions, etc…) So yeah, a high risk pregnancy with bed rest is just one more adjustment we’ll make. We will do like we always do-make the necessary shifts and accommodations and make it happen! Men don’t accommodate as easily or as readily to change as we do. So we have to be patient as they “catch up” to us.

Second, the idea of actually being present during childbirth totally skeeves some men out! Oh yeah, they are all about “gettin’ with us in the moment” but getting down and dirty with something (actually someone) coming out of their “pleasure palace” really messes with some men’s minds. In hindsight, I really pushed for my then husband to be present at my daughter’s birth. And when she came out not breathing and then I hemorrhage, it nearly took him out! I should have listened when he told me he wasn’t up for being in the delivery room and chosen another, more capable childbirth support and advocate. Ladies, some men are not up for childbirth. It doesn’t mean that they don’t love us or support us, they just can’t be present at such a raw, visceral event. We must hear them and respect their limitations. (FYI I had my sister come in with me when I had my son. Much better experience!!!)

So Mamas, Find out where your man is on the spectrum. Is he all in, ready to be of utmost assistance? Is he totally freaked out and secretely signing up to become a merchant marine? Or is he somewhere in between and really just needs to process all that is happening and about to happen to someone he loves dearly, and is petrified that he has caused to have to go through unspeakable pain?

Ladies, do we ever really ask our guys what they think about what we are going through? In our book, From Mamas to Mamas: The Essential Guide to Surviving Bedrest, One dad shared poignantly about his experience when his wife went on hospital bed rest saying, “It felt like she had died and suddenly I had all this responsibility heaped on me.” It is so easy to get caught up in what we are going through; after all, we are the ones who are growing and changing and we are the ones who are enduring the brunt of this experience. But you and your partner are a team and he is going through this experience, too. And many men don’t say anything because they feel like they have no right to “complain” given all that we are going through. I want to reiterate, you and your partner are a team! This pregnancy isn’t just happening to you, but also your partner and any children you already have. Everyone’s thoughts and feelings need to be considered and attended to so that everyone’s needs are met and the wee one you are carrying will come into a cohesive, loving family.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! We love you and thank you for your love and support! We’d love to hear from you. Share your experience regarding your wife’s pregnancy and bed rest, labor and deliver (if applicable) in our comments section below.

Get your copy of From Mamas to Mamas: The Essential Guide to Surviving Bedrest Today!

Mamas on Bedrest: Depression in Dads

April 16th, 2014

Greetings Mamas!

I have a question for you. Could your partner be depressed? A recent study has noted that as many as 5-10% of dads become depressed following the birth of their children and remain in a depressed state sometimes until the child goes into kindergarten! Even more alarming, young dads-men who become dads in their 20’s-are at increased risk of becoming depressed and have a 68% risk of increasing depression for the first 5 years following the birth of their children.

This is really sad to hear. At a time when we would expect joy, many men are experiencing sadness/depression. The researchers who are reporting this work in the May 2014 edition of Pediatrics, Craig Garfield, MD, Associate Professor at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine and Eric Lewandowski, PhD, Clinical Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychology at NYU Langone Medical Center, say that there is so little data upon which to draw that much more research needs to be done to figure out is this more prevalent in younger men because they feel ill equipped to be fathers? Are they stressed out about providing for their families? Are they worried about finances? The reasons are likely multifactorial and the truth is that we really don’t have any of these answers. We also don’t know if these rates hold for dads in their 30’s, 40’s or beyond. Again, much more research needs to be done.

I Wrote a blog several years ago about depression in dads and in that post shared some signs and symptoms of depression in Dads. It is critical that depression in dads be identified and treated as dads’ interaction (or lack there of) with their children can have long lasting developmental effects on the child.

Having a baby is a major life changing event and while the focus of this website is on mamas, we have to be aware of the fact that the birth of a child affects everyone-mamas, dads, siblings and even pets! The addition of a new family member completely alters the family dynamic such change needs to be acknowledged and supported for all family members.

So keep this information in your memory bank. I hope that you won’t need it, but if you do, I hope that it will help you to find the support and resources that you need to help the man that you love.

If this blog helps you, please be sure to let us know in the comments section below. If you have a resource to help dads, please share it in the comments section. If you have a question that you would like to submit privately, please send it to info@mamasonbedrest.com

Reference:

Young Dads at Risk of Depressive Symptoms, Study Finds. MedlinePlus

 

Mamas on Bedrest: What do Dads Need to Know?

January 13th, 2014

This is from “Rich” a Dad to be.

Hi, 

My wife is pregnant with our first child. What can I expect during the first and second trimesters of my wife’s pregnancy? What can I do to help? 

I love this!! It is SO important to include the dads in the pregnancy and so often they are pushed aside as we all try to meet the needs of the mamas and ensure a safe delivery of the baby. We have to remember, it’s dad’s baby too! And while at this time his participation is somewhat secondary to all that mama is doing, dads can play an integral role in the pregnancy and birth of the baby. And if this dad’s wife becomes a mama on bed rest, his participation is going to be integral to the success of this pregnancy.

So what are some of the important things that dads-to-be should know in order to help make a pregnancy, especially a high risk pregnancy involving bed rest, a success? Scott Schrier wrote an excellent post for dads which we featured previously on our blog. these are some of the thoughts I had:

1. Stay Calm. If you think you are freaked out at what is happening, mama-to-be is that and then some! While this baby may be everything that you both dreamed of, it is also ushering in a trip into the unknow and that is scary. It’s a fun and wild ride. If you can stay calm, you’ll both do just fine.

2. Be patient. You partner’s body is undergoing massive changes in a relatively short amount of time. At times this may be really uncomfortable-or at the very least, awkward. Try to be patient. Your partner’s body isn’t going to move as fast or as easily as it does when she’s not pregnant and every day will bring some sort of change-and perhaps some sort of limitation. Be patient-both of you!

3. Do what you can to help around the house. I know that this is a given, but it bears acknowlegement. Many men are so used to their partners doing most of the household duties that they are unaware of many of the things necessary just to keep life flowing smoothly. Do what you can to help out. Ask her what you can do and ask her, if she is able, to show you how to do it. It may not go so well the first time or two, but soon you’ll find yourself as fascile at things as she is and that is a huge help! (Especially if she doesn’t have to remind you or ask you to do things! Being proactive will go a really long way!

4. Get help if you can’t do it. This is soooo important for families on bed rest. I say families because when a mama goes on bed rest, everyone in her world is affected. Sometime a couple tries to go it on their own. This is no time for pride! Ask for help. Family, neighbors and friends are usually more than willing to help-if you just ask.

5. Don’t take things she says too personally. This goes back to #1 and #2. You partner may be really frustrated, scared and angry-especially if she is on bed rest. She likely has had friends who have cruised through their pregnancies, had glorious and transformational experiences (or so it seemed) and she may be feeling jipped, or like the complications she’s experiencing are all her fault, or simply sad. Unfortunately as the saying goes, ” We lash out at those closest to us!”  and you’re it! Try not to take what she says too personally. And when something does happen that is cutting, approach her at a more calm time and share with her how her comments hurt. Don’t keep it in, it will only fester and make things worse later on!!

Mamas, you can also do much to boost your hubby’s morale and to help him understand your feelings (and outbursts!). Bedrest is tough on all members of the family, but taking your frustrations out on one another won’t help. This is the time it band together! Working together will truly make your Bedrest a success!

Mamas, what has helped you help your partner with Bedrest? Share your tips and experience below In our comments section!