When you’re pregnant, if you’re lucky, you have a midwife who cares for you. Your blood pressure is taken. Your health is monitored. Your emotions are asked after. You are checked and prodded and consulted with. Your partner is not.
Nobody asks dad how he’s feeling. Is he lying awake at night, worrying about the baby? Will it have all ten fingers? Will it have a beating heart at the next scan? We will have enough money to feed and clothe it? Nobody asks dad.
And when baby is about to be born, it is all about you. Of course. As it should be.
But what about dad?
How does he feel seeing his wife covered with wires, with an oxygen mask across her face and machines beeping wildly at every turn? How does he feel when feet begin to pound the corridor; when his wife is whisked away to theatre and he’s left with useless but carefully packed hospital bags at his feet? Alone?
And after it all, what about dad? When you are feeling failed. You are feeling let down. You are feeling as though you have been violated and destroyed. You. You do not get enough help or support. Dad gets even less.
Pregnancy, birth and birth trauma affects dads too. They aren’t innocent bystanders in the whole thing, not usually anyway.
There needs to be more services and support for families affected by birth trauma. There needs to be more understanding. There needs to be more ways to talk about birth trauma and to help people understand that it is real and it does not deserve to be swept under the carpet.
Hearing the words ” at least he’s alive” hurts dads too.