7 Things About Labor And Delivery That Men Just Don't Get A Say In
There are so many decisions that go into parenthood; decisions you'll end up making long before you become a parent, yourself. Arguably the most important decisions you'll make have to do with labor and delivery, and while it would be nice to make those decisions together with your parenting partner (if you have a parenting partner), there are certain things about labor and delivery that men just don't get a say in. Honestly, regardless of the gender of a pregnant woman's partner (because families aren't made of just heteronormative couples) there are labor and delivery decisions that the pregnant woman, and the pregnant woman only, is entitled to make, sans outside suggestions or opinions.
My partner and I made so many of our decisions together, starting from whether or not we wanted to be parents to where we would end up having our baby. However, my partner was also acutely aware that while I was open to discussing certain choices with him, I would have the ultimate say. After all, it was my body pushing another human being out of it, and whatever it took to facilitate that incredible act is exactly what I was going to demand. That's why, although our initial birth plan was to have a drug-free labor and delivery, after 10 hours of painful labor I changed my mind and made a different decision and demanded an epidural immediately. My partner didn't protest or ask me to think about a decision I had already made, he simply supported me because, yes, that is my choice (and only my choice) to make.
Which is why, even though couples should strive to meet in the middle and come to certain decisions together (and everyone's voice in a couple should be respected) there are some choices men just don't get to make, including the following. Sorry, fellas.
Where Their Partner Wants To Labor
Whether it's at the hospital or a birthing center or outside or in their living room, where a woman ends up laboring should be entirely up to her. She should feel in control and safe and comfortable, and where that can happen depends on each women, as every woman is different. A woman should definitely not be forced to labor and deliver somewhere she doesn't want to, just because her partner thinks it's better.
Who Is In The Room
Sorry, fellas. Even if you want your mother there or someone that you think may help, it's up to your partner. If you don't want anyone there, but your partner wants her mother or someone else to assist her, too, that's exactly what she should be afforded. I can understand a man wanting the birth of his child to be an intimate experience, but until you're the one pushing and/or having another human being cut from your body, you don't get the ultimate say on who is around in that moment.
If Changes To The Birth Plan Are Necessary/Made
Birth plans are more of solid suggestions than steadfast rules, and more often than not there will be alterations to them. For me, personally, I changed my birth plan after 10 hours. I wanted to go drug-free, but when a birthing ball and a tub and walking the halls and multiple positions didn't help with the pain, I wanted a change. My partner and I had discussed our birth plan at length, but he didn't bat an eyelash when I told him I had changed my mind.
Whether Or Not An Epidural Or Other Pain Medication Is Involved
Again, unless you're in that amount of pan and laboring another human being into the world, you don't get to decide how much it hurts and if pain medication should be administered.
If A C-Section Is Scheduled Or Not
If your partner wants to schedule a c-section, your partner should schedule a c-section. What labor and delivery looks like changes from woman to woman, and her grown-ass man partner should be there to support her, instead of try and run the show "for her."
If Their Partner Plans On Immediately Breastfeeding
Her body, her choice. So many women choose to breastfeed for a multitude of reasons, and so many women chose not to. How a woman wants to feed her child is entirely up to her, especially when parts of her body are involved.
How Their Partner Wants To Labor
There are so many ways a woman can labor that can potentially help with the pain. I wanted to labor in a tub, and tried doing just that for around 10 hours. I also labored with a birthing ball, by walking around, by standing up and swaying back and forth; all my choice and all facilitated by my partner and the hospital. Whether it's screaming at the top of your lungs or chanting mantras, how a woman labors and works through the pain is entirely up to her.