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'AITA for wanting a doula and not my husband in the delivery room?' + UPDATE FROM HUSBAND

'AITA for wanting a doula and not my husband in the delivery room?' + UPDATE FROM HUSBAND

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"AITA for wanting a doula and not my husband in the delivery room?"

I am currently three months pregnant. We were both overjoyed until I started discussing my ideal birth plan with my husband, "John," because I don't want him in the delivery room. John is a wonderful and supportive husband, and I'm sure he'll be an equally wonderful father.

However, in the birth room, I want the support of a professional doula: someone who has made a profession out of helping women through labor, and ideally I will be able to find a doula who has given birth herself and has personal experience in the matter. John very much wants to be there for the birth of our child himself. Although I understand why he wants that, the idea makes me very uncomfortable.

John is a take-charge man. The moment I knew I wanted to marry him was when my mother had a stroke several years ago and he immediately organized a rotating calendar of volunteer family members to clean, provide her company, cook easily frozen casseroles etc., and reheat them. Everyone got a week on each of the tasks until she was well again, so nobody got overwhelmed,

and he personally made sure that her fridge and freezer were always stocked with easy to eat foods. But that kind of hyper-preparation is what he brings to everything, and when I am in tremendous pain and experiencing a lot of turbulent emotions, I think his style of comfort is going to just...overwhelm me and make me feel worse.

I also feel so embarrassed about the physical parts of birth; I don't want him to see me covered in blood and fecal matter. I know that the afterbirth is equally messy, and told him that I had calculated the cost of afterbirth nurses/doulas in case I need a C-section or stitching, because I know that he would try and bathe me and hover over me when I'm on the toilet and bring stress and embarrassment there.

And although I know that doulas being a thing for new age moms is an outdated stereotype...I confess that I have a touch of that in me, and I can't shake the feeling that there's a reason that birth and labor have historically been women's only environments for thousands of years. Men might say that they don't mind seeing their wife give birth and don't feel any less attracted to them afterwards,

but I can't really believe them. This is the only part of it I haven't told him, because I feel embarrassed to tell him given that it's so close to the whole idea of sacred womanhood stuff he's called "crystal woo" in the past. I've felt so anxious about him being present I've had some difficulty breathing about it when I sat down to outline my birth plan.

He seems really hurt by this being my ideal birth plan, though, and says that he really wants me to change my mind. So, AITA?

What do you think? AITA? Here's what top commenters had to say:

said:

NAH but I do feel absolutely awful for him. It seems like he’s been a stand-up guy, especially with how he’s helped your mother and missing the birth of his child is going to be very difficult.

This might be unpopular because I’ve seen a lot of people on this subreddit blatantly disregard men’s feelings when it comes to this particular topic, but would it be possible for you to sit down and explain your fears to him and guide him to becoming a better support so that he can still be there?

I know you are worried about telling him, but you’re going to be raising a child together and if that’s the case you need to be able to communicate your feelings even if it feels scary. I’m concerned this could be something that might drive a wedge between you two if you don’t fully talk it out and perhaps try to come to a mutual understanding or even a compromise.

From how you’ve described him, he seems like a very good man and I’m betting he’d be willing to adjust how he acts in the situation to better suit your needs.

said:

I actually think YTA. I had a baby 5 months ago. I think I am similar to you in that I find a lot of bodily functions gross and embarrassing, and for example have never allowed my husband in the bathroom with me while I am using the toilet. So I get where you are coming from with this. However, labour and delivery simply are not that gross. For you are just breathing hard and experiencing contractions.

It is physically and mentally exhausting but there are no fluids whatsoever. During delivery, which is relatively quick, the blood and amniotic fluid are handled very quickly by nurses and they will not let your husband stand there watching it happen because he would be in the way. He will be allowed to stand or sit behind you, by your head, or at your side.

The most involvement he will be allowed to have is holding one of your legs if you’re on your back or holding you up if you’re squatting (this is genuinely helpful because you will be too exhausted to do it yourself and you will want the rest of the delivery team to have their hands free) and cutting the cord, which is done with the baby on your chest after things have been cleaned up a bit.

Wanting this to be a women’s space is maternal gatekeeping, in my opinion, and is actively harmful to your marriage and your child’s bond with their father. You also will be mildly to moderately disabled for a few days after the birth and if you refuse to allow your husband to see any of that it will be more time that you’re keeping him from the baby.

You should be thinking of this as time for all three of you to bond as a family. I think our cultural past of leaving men out of the births of their own children is shameful and misogynistic and contributed to generations of cold and absent father-child relationships.

If you want to grow old with this man you will need to be physically vulnerable with him eventually, and I think actively trying to prevent that during the birth of your child puts dangerous distance between you. I just think it’s cruel to do this to someone you love.

I think it would be best to have some therapy for your own anxieties and a therapist’s help explaining to your husband what you need from him as a birth partner, but leaving him out without trying anything at all is an asshole move.

said:

I'm not going to go so far as to call you an a$$hole, but I will say that not allowing him to witness the birth of his first child will most likely end your marriage. There have been MANY posts on this sub and the relationship subs about this happening, and in every one of them it resulted in either divorce or at least severe permanent damage to the relationship.

So make whatever choice you want, but be aware that banning him from the room will cause him to lose not only attraction to you (which seems to be a big part of your concern) but he will also lose actual feelings for you and will resent you forever. NAH. Just be warned that once you do this you can never undo it and any damage caused to your relationship will be permanent and irreversible.

UPDATE: John here. My wife and I have started a conversation. A few things to clear up.

1.) Some of y'all are saying that this'll for sure lead to divorce or that my wife doesn't deserve me. Stop. My wife and I are talking this out. I'd forgive her if she said no, because there's a lot going on. She's anxious, not hateful. If I'm so great a guy, you'd think I'd talk to my wife before I divorce her.

2.) Speaking of that guy – that guy sure as hell ain't me. She spent a lot of time talking me up and ignoring her own qualities. Yes, I've taken charge over her wants before during scary times. We'll work on that. Also, that rota of care for my MIL? That was not out of the goodness of my heart.

That was so that my wife didn't break her back cooking with one hand, mopping the floor with the other, and blow drying her mother's hair with a spare foot. That was to protect her, not her mother.

3.) Those commenting on "toxic family": vats of chemical waste are toxic. This family is another level entirely. My wife is really underselling their issues. I stayed quiet on my problems with them so she could have a relationship. I refused help after my surgery and didn't tell her it was because I was afraid she'd feel disgust for me.

Care in her family is almost totally gender-segregated. We'll be raising this and possible traumas in therapy. Our contact with her family is getting reevaluated. I wish I'd spoken up earlier.

4.) Comments that encouraged her to talk to other women: I am thrilled she'll be talking with my mama. She'd drop everything to help in a heartbeat. My wife needs me right now, and she also needs a mother.

5.) We're still discussing a plan. Plan Groundwork is therapy. Plan A, right now, is to have me in the room with either a curtain or birthing stool (no mirror!) and someone given strict instructions not to let me look at the crowning no matter what. Plan B is that if she starts to panic, we'll have a breather moment and I'll step back or close my eyes.

Plan C is if I try and take over, and that's when I'd step out. I'm not sold on a doula, it doesn't sound like they've got a whole lot of training. If we're allowed two, I at least want to discuss having my mama there instead of a doula or, God forbid, hers.

Sources: Reddit
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