10 Things Dads Just Don't Get A Say In When It Comes To Picking An OB-GYN
I'm part of the thinking camp that things, if you're having a baby with a person, you should be part of a parenting team. Whether you're in a romantic relationship or co-parenting, the two of you are now bound together by this mini-human and, well, that should mean certain decisions are made together. There are some decisions, however, that the non-pregnant partner just doesn't get a say in because, well, they're not pregnant. So sorry, fellas, but there are things dads just don't get a say in when it comes to picking an OB-GYN, and while I'm all about advocating for equal parenting responsibilities and teamwork and the like; the pregnant woman needs to be calling the shots, especially when she's looking for someone to help her do one of the most incredible, and one of the most difficult, things she'll ever do.
Of course, this goes for any partner of a pregnant person, regardless of gender. However, when that partner is a cisgender male (completely incapable of ever experiencing pregnancy, labor, delivery or postpartum life) it's extremely important that they learn how to take a back seat and let their partner drive. Just like the pregnant woman is looking to find someone she can trust when she's at their most vulnerable, the soon-to-be dad needs to learn to trust his partner when he is, perhaps, at his most vulnerable, too. I know, for my partner, it was very difficult for him to relinquish control because he was scared. Two people he cared the most about in the entire world were going to be in the hands of someone else and that person was going to be responsible for our continued health. That's not easy, I am sure. Still, how I felt about my OB-GYN is what mattered most, and my partner knew that if I trusted and felt comfortable with my doctor, he could, too.
So, while this decision is best made as a parenting unit and together, if your partner doesn't feel comfortable with your OB, but you do, the final decision should default to the pregnant woman. After all, she is the one who is going to bring another human being into the world, so she should be the one who decides who helps her. With that in mind, here are just a few things about finding your obstetrician that a dad just doesn't get a say in. Sometimes, gentlemen, being supportive means knowing when to back off.
Whether Or Not You Feel Comfortable With Them...
Of course, your partner should feel comfortable with your doctor as well. In a perfect world, you would both think of the person that will help you bring your kid into the world as an extension of your family and your oldest, closest friend.
But this isn't a perfect world. While it would be nice, how you feel is what matters most, because you will be the one actually birthing another human being. So, if you feel comfortable around your doctor, that's truly all that matters. Your partner can deal, for lack of a better world, because you'll be dealing with a baby human coming out of your body.
...Or You Trust Them...
Again, no one can (or ever should) police your feelings or emotions. If you trust your doctor, but your partner doesn't, well; too bad? Of course, again, it would be the best if you two could come together and make this very important decision as a team, but who you feel closest to and who you feel safest with is what matters most.
...Or You Value Their Opinion
When my partner and I met my birthing team, I knew I had found "my people." My partner, however, needed a little more convincing. One of the doctors was a little, um, more "alternative," than I think my partner felt comfortable with.
However, that didn't matter in the end, because I felt extremely comfortable with her and valued her opinion as if she was my best friend. I knew I could listen to her, follow her instruction and that myself (and my baby) would be OK. Eventually, my partner came around and we had the best birth experience we could have had thanks to, in part, my team of doctors and nurses.
If They're Worth A Potentially Long Commute Or Not
Again, hopefully the two of you will get to make this decision together. After all, if you have a vehicle, it will probably be your partner that ends up driving you to the hospital and it is important that they feel comfortable with that drive and/or commute.
However, you don't want to sacrifice feeling comfortable with your doctor, for comfort. I know for me, personally, I would risk a longer drive if it meant I would end up in a labor and delivery room with someone I truly trusted and felt safe with. So, if your partner is worried about the drive ask them to figure out alternative routes, plot multiple options and, you know, calm themselves. There are things you can control when it comes to labor and delivery, and things you can't. You can't control when you go into labor, so if it's in the middle of some busy rush hour, well, that's the cards you were dealt. You can, however, control who your doctor is. I know, from experience, that a competent and kind doctor is worth a few more minutes of driving.
If They Can Speak To You Privately Or Not
While you and your partner are a parenting team and, I'm going to assume, probably share everything with one another, your doctor is your doctor. You have the choice and the capability to talk to your doctor privately; a choice and capability you should definitely take advantage of if your partner isn't being supportive or, even worse, abusive.
If that's the case, reach out to your doctor because they will help you. You don't have to have your partner in the room during every single doctor's visit. Your physician is there for you and your baby. No one else.
If Their Bedside Manner Vibes With Your Personality
My personality jived with my OB's bedside manner, while that same bedside manner seemed to somewhat bother my partner. I think the jokes and nonchalant attitude my doctor had worried my partner and had him even questioning her competence, while it calmed me down and allowed me to gain some perspective.
Everyone is different, of course, but in the end how you react to your OB's bedside manner is what matters the most.
If You Think They'll Honor Your Birth Plan
This one can be tricky, as I've heard so many "horror stories" of OB's promising to honor birth plans, only to throw them out the window the moment a woman is in labor. In this instance, do your research. Seriously.
Still, if you feel comfortable with someone, you feel comfortable with someone and having a relationship with your OB inevitably means that, in the end, you simply have to trust them. If you trust them to do what they say they're going to do, that's all that matters. My partner was a little hesitant at first, and was worried that our OB would take matters into her own hands whenever something went even mildly "wrong," but I had a great OB who constantly checked in with me, asked for permission instead of demanding certain interventions, and kept to my birth plan until I said I wanted it to change.
What Gender They "Should" Be
Sorry, fellas, but this is 2016 and, honestly, you just need to be an adult. If you're "uncomfortable" because your partner's OB is a man? Well, sorry, but that honestly shouldn't matter and it's time to grow up.
This is your kid coming into the world, and gender should play absolutely no part in picking whoever is going to assist you in bringing your baby into the world. If a "guy doctor" is who you, dearest pregnant mom-to-be, feel comfortable with, but your partner is "uneasy" about someone looking at your vagina all day, perhaps you need to sit down and discuss the many uses of your vagina. They're not all sexual, you know.
How Many Times You Feel The Need To Call Them
If you want to call your OB, call your OB. Yes, I'm sure you don't absolutely need to call them for certain things, so maybe some light reading or internet surfing is in order instead of a personal call to your doctor to ask that one question that is keeping you up at night.
However, and especially if this is your first baby, you should feel comfortable calling and talking to the person who has "done this before" (in a way) and the person who is going to help you do this, yourself. I called my OB and my team of doctors and nurses all the time. They knew it was me before I even opened my mouth and started speaking. Was my partner a little embarrassed? Sure. Did he also benefit from my never-ending phone calls? Yep. He was learning along with me so, you know, you're welcome, dear.
Basically, Just Whether Or Not You Think They're The Doctor For You
In the end, the only person who matters when making this important decision, is you. Sounds selfish, I know, but you're the pregnant human being who is going to either push a baby from their body, or have a baby cut from their body so you get to be "selfish." If you feel comfortable with your OB; if you trust your OB; if you value their opinion and if you truly feel like you've found the person who is supposed to assist you during labor and delivery, that is your OB.