Deciding to attempt a vaginal birth after cesarean deliver (VBAC) is no simple matter. In a perfect world, it would be a casual decision that didn't require medical analysis, was supported by all care providers, and did not have accompanying worries or doubts. But it does and they don't and worries and doubt abound. Enter the grown-ass man: he's not going to make these issues disappear, but there are things every grown-ass man does to support his partner's VBAC.
Truth be told, the things such a man does to support a partner's attempt at a VBAC aren't all that different than the things he would do during any other pregnancy, labor, and delivery. In two words: he's engaged. He doesn't passively sit back and just assume that the baby doesn't concern him until it makes its grand entrance (or, I guess depend on how you're thinking about it, grand exit). Being involved and supportive is always crucial for any grown-ass partner, but when it comes down to it, everything is just a little bit more "amped up" with VBACs, so his dedicated services are required more now than is typical.
For starters, as mentioned, it's often difficult to find a provider willing to really work with a client to help her achieve her goal of vaginal delivery (despite their being proven safe and appropriate for most women). So, already, it's going to take extra effort to even get started. However, even after you do find a provider, the stakes just feel that little bit higher, mainly because you know and have experienced the alternative. For many the alternative isn't bad, it's just not preferable. For others, however, the alternative (a c-section) is a unpleasant, horrible, or even traumatizing experience whose repetition looms over their heads for nine months. A pregnant mom attempting a VBAC, therefore, will need a support team to help her through all this. If there's a grown-ass man in her midst, he can help lead the charge. Here are the things he does to help make a VBAC happen for her.
He Learns About VBACs
It's totally understandable that a person wouldn't know what VBAC stands for, much less the kerfuffle surrounding one's decision to attempt one. Between all the misinformation (and lack of general knowledge) about birth and general and VBACs in particular, there's a lot to learn. A grown-ass man does not shy from this challenge: he welcomes it.
He Attends Appointments Whenever Possible
Granted, people have a lot going on in their lives. Sometimes it feels like a miracle that an expectant mother is able to make her own prenatal appointments. Still, a grown-ass man proactively tries to find the time to sneak away from work and other obligations to attend his partner's appointments with her. Because everyone being on the same page regarding prenatal health and having as much information as possible is important with any kind of birth, but especially with a VBAC.
He Reads What His Partner Reads
This is just another way to learn together and be on the same page. A grown-ass man discusses the reading with his partner, asks her questions about what she thinks about a particular chapter or passage, and tells her his thoughts.
He's Not Threatened If His Partner Chooses To Use The Services Of A Doula
Many (though by no means all) women who attempt a VBAC will utilize the services of a doula to help guide them through labor and delivery, from pain management to moral support. A grown-ass man knows that he is irreplaceable and adored by his partner, and so he knows that a doula is not taking his place at his sweetheart's side. He welcomes his partner's doula as a knowledgeable partner in Operation Get-This-Baby-Out-Through-The-Vagina.
He Doesn't Dismiss The Idea Of A Midwife
Midwives get a bad rep sometimes. They're derided as unqualified not-doctors who think women should give birth in a forest surrounded by sage-burning wood nymphs and majestic looking deer (or something like that). A grown-ass man knows this is nonsense. He also knows (through all that reading) that midwife attended births are less likely to result in a c-section, that midwives have a higher VBAC rate (on average) than OB-GYNs, and that there is a robust population of excellent certified midwives available to attend births.
He Attends Birth Classes Upon Request And Without Complaining
Because, obviously, all Teammates of Operation Get-This-Baby-Out-Through-The-Vagina need to have the proper training. Of course the pregnant person is going to doing the majority of the heavy lifting here, and a grown-ass man knows that. He also knows that he can be useful if he's educated about what he can do and, at the very least, his moral support uplifts his partner in helping her believe she can accomplish her goal.
He Prepares To Advocate For His Partner
A grown-ass man knows that, when the time comes, his partner is going to be entirely focused (necessarily) on herself. That means he may have to be the one to step up and talk with care providers, back up his partner's decisions, and ask questions. Remember Robert Duvall's character from The Godfather, who basically communicated between all parties, gathered information, and then counseled Marlon Brando and Al Pacino in order to get the family what they wanted? The consigliere? A grown-ass man knows that he is his partner's VBAC consigliere. (And, even though he is a mature and responsible adult, that comparison makes him geek out like a kid because, come on.)
He Knows His Partner's Birth Plan
A. Grown-Ass. Man. Is. On. The. Same. Page. As. His. Partner. (I will say this until I no longer have to.) In this case, if the birth plan is written out, he is literally on the same page! Obviously, if he has already been reading and talking with his partner about her desire to attempt a VBAC, he knows the basics...
1) Healthy mom and baby
2) Vaginal delivery
But the particulars are also important, especially with a VBAC, in order to decrease the likelihood of another c-section. While there are certainly no guarantees, no matter what one chooses, one can nevertheless help their odds.
He Asks His Partner What She Needs From Him
Because a grown-ass man is proactive and does not presume. He communicates regularly and openly with his partner.
He's His Partner's Cheerleader
Many women who attempt a VBAC will come out of their c-section experience with complicated feelings about birth and their bodies. They may feel that their body "failed them" the first time around. They may question if they can delivery vaginally. A grown-ass man encourages his partner and lets her know he believes in her, that she is amazing and that her body is a powerful, awesome force of nature.
He Doesn't Expect To Ultimately Have A Say About Her Choices About Her Body
A grown-ass man knows he is there in a support role. He will encourage, he will advise, but ultimately his job, first and foremost, is to back up whatever his partner wants to do. Even if the initial plan changes. Even if it's not what he feels he would do if the shoe were on the other foot. He knows where he stands, and that's beside his partner, cheering her on and telling her he loves her.