Alex Chiri's Blog

The birth

birthdadops

It all begins with the birth of your child and I was fortunate enough to be living in a country where I was able to take part of it, even during the covid-19 pandemic.

In many places of the world, dads are not allowed in the birth room and society in many places of the world conforms dads to not even want to be there, as birth is considered to be a moment and an experience only for the mother.

Well, that sucks. Far from me to be able to say if that is wrong or right, I can only speak for myself and my wife. And we both wanted to be together during the birth.

More than that, we prepared for it.

Hypnobirthing

A major influence for us was Hypnobirthing.

We found out about Hypnobirthing from a podcast episode of Russel Brand in which he interviews Katherine Graves, one of the more well known proponents and trainers in Hypnobirthing.

The name is rather bad, no hypnosis is involved or required. Hypnobirthing consists in a series of practices, exercises and ways of thinking to prepare mothers for birth. These are best done with a partner who supports the mother through the whole journey. So actually it prepares the partner for this journey as well and they play an important part in it.

When talking about ways of thinking, in Hypnobirthing an important one is that unless there are any medical issues, the mother's body knows best what to do during birth and mothers should listen to their instincts and be fully present. This means also that mothers should feel comfortable and safe with the people that are present at birth and with the location and atmosphere.

There are also different practices and exercises that you do together with the partner and these have the purpose to build certain triggers and habits that the mother can use during birth to be more calm and present. You exercise having a state of calm and presence that you can bring back through the help of your partner when you need them. But you need to do the work and build those triggers so you can use them. Of course, the mother can learn these on her own, Katherine provides recordings and audio support in her training, but it doesn't compare with you, the dad, being that support.

Another thing that KG Hypnobirthing provides you with is information. Lots and lots of information. About everything that happens before, during and after birth. It helps you decide, plan and document what you want and what you don't want to do during birth as a mother (or be done to you or your child). It is important to be informed and prepared for different scenarios. As we found out through our own experience, things might not go as you imagined. But you know you did your research, you prepared and you made a conscious decision. However the night goes (yeah, it will most likely be a night or afternoon, for some reason) you can be satisfied you did everything you could and maybe you can even enjoy it. 🙂

Finally, besides the active support, the dad or partner makes sure that the decisions that have been made are followed at birth. The mother needs to be focused and should not be bothered with unimportant questions or stupid remarks. Dad can also take those.

A life-changing experience

It seems to me that a very common perspective regarding birth is that it is something you just get done with in order to get the desired end result: the baby.

And until I learned more about births and how they can be and even watch some recordings of births (yep, done that too) I was minimizing the importance of this stage as well.

There is also research that shows traumatic birth experiences have an impact on the baby for months or even years after! So it is not something to minimize or neglect.

(I recommend reading the book Tears and Tantrums by Aletha Jauch Solter. In part 2, chapter 2 of the book there are more details about this and the research on it)

The birth is an unique experience where you welcome your child into the world. Although it didn't happened quite how we imagined it, I will never forget the moments I held my newborn daughter on my chest after she was born. She was so small and cute and alert and kept pulling my chest hair with her tiny fingers (ouch!). This and other precious moments from birth helped make the bond stronger between us. Not to mention the connection between the parents who share these experiences together.

Summary