Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Love and partners!
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we’re writing about how a co-parent has or has not supported us in our dedication to natural parenting. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
My husband and I have a unique relationship, or so it often seems when discussing relationships with others. We met each other the first day of college at an ice cream social. He was 18 1/2 and I had just turned 17. The next day I showed up for band practice to find that he and I would be playing percussion together. And that is how it started. It wasn’t a romantic relationship at first, but one of complete friendship. We quickly became best friends and have stayed that way ever since. While our communication has improved over the years, as I hope it continues to do as we grow in our personhoods, we’ve always been able to go to one another and bounce ideas.
So, when I approached my dear husband one day, long before we were ready to have children, and confidently exclaimed that I wanted to have our children via unassisted childbirth, he looked at me. He didn’t rant, scream, or try to put an antiquated foot down. Instead, he quietly said, “Tell me more.” At that point I began to show him research and talk to him about childbirth in general. The fact that both of us are researchers by heart helped in this matter. When I pulled out notebooks filled with articles from medical journals, showed him websites, and ordered books on the subject for us to read, he listened.
At that point, I can’t say that he was completely comfortable with the idea. However, it wasn’t that he wasn’t comfortable with the idea of unassisted childbirth or my ability to listen to my body and our future children. Childbirth and child rearing were merely out of his realm of experience. They are out of the realm of experience for many young men. He supported me in a way that I will never forget, and one in which every woman deserves.
We’ve spoken with many couples over the years about unassisted childbirth and our experiences with it. In every case, the desire for such a birth has been the woman’s, pulling along a reluctant husband. At these times, or any time that birth comes up with a man who isn’t quite behind his wife, my husband says one phrase, “Be a man.”
By “be a man,” my husband isn’t implying that a man should go off and hunt down a bear with his own two hands. My husband strongly believes, as do I, that a woman needs to be comfortable and supported in order to listen to her body and baby for an optimal birthing outcome. My husband then goes on to say that the husband’s (or partner’s) role in the birth is to do whatever he needs to in order to make certain that the birthing woman has whatever she needs/wants so that she can listen to her body and do what she needs to. Birth is not a spectator sport or a team sport. It is a very primal experience for a woman. Her partner’s role is one of support, whatever it may look like. For me, that means I need time by myself in order to listen. I labor alone, with my husband coming in to see if I need anything.
When we found out we were expecting our first child, my husband was overly excited about both our future child and our birth plans. He happened to mention the word “homebirth” to his parents, although not once did he say anything about our plans for an unassisted birth. We didn’t think much about his casual reference at the time, but it wasn’t long before we thought about it quite a bit, as extended relatives, some of whom we didn’t even know, called us up to confront us, demanded that we change our decision, and attacked us in general. Through all of that, my husband stood firm. He offered to show research and talk through their fears but always ended with the fact that it was our decision to make and really none of their business. He even told his parents that while the baby would be his first priority after it was born, until that time, his wife was the first priority; nothing they could say (or scream) would change the fact that it was his job to support and protect me.
He supported me throughout that first birth and the births of our next two children, just as he will with the upcoming birth of our fourth child. He has listened throughout the years, both before and after we began having children, about many topics: birth, breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, natural products, unschooling, consensual living, vaccinations, and supported the choices we have made, though I may have been the one to do the initial research.
Parenting itself is a labor of love, and I am thrilled to have my best friend as my “labor support” in this most important endeavor.
Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- A Thank You to my Husband — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl thanks her husband for keeping her grounded and giving her unwavering support in the face of discouragement from within and without. (@lactatinggirl)
- My Reverse Traditional Husband In the Wild — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries gives us a lesson on how dads in the wild parent their young. Can you guess which male animal actually nurses its young? (@babydust)
- TITLE — TopHat at The Bee in Your Bonnet tells us how the patience of a partner can make a difficult breastfeeding relationship succeed. (@TopHat8855)
- Parenting Together — For Alison at BluebirdMama and her husband, parenting is simply an extension of the way they live. (@childbearing)
- If We Had A MIllion Dollars — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! and her husband would both agree to be crunchier parents if they had a million dollars to ease the way. (@bfmom)
- February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Co-Parents — Dionna at Code Name: Mama has written a letter to her husband, thanking him for his incredible support in every aspect of their natural parenting journey. (@CodeNameMama)
- Natural Parenting Fathers — Sarah at Natural Parenting is balancing being all there for her son with being present for her husband. (@considereden)
- Just Wonderful: Love and Partners and Natural Parenting — Zoey at Good Goog let her husband lead her to babywearing and cosleeping. (@zoeyspeak)
- All that stuff I don’t get comes so easy to him — The Grumbles is taking this opportunity to say thank you to her husband for his mad parenting skills. (@thegrumbles)
- The Power of Having a Supportive Co-Parent — Chrystal at Happy Mothering and her husband started with vaccinations and moved on from there. (@HappyMothering)
- February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Love and partners — Lauren at Hobo Mama makes do with babbling incoherently about how her husband practices natural parenting in such an effortless fashion, with bonus video. (@Hobo_Mama)
- Love and Partners — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog shares her husband’s moving account of her birth story, and his testament to the power of a woman. (@myzerowaste)
- labor support… — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children is thankful that her partner has provided her immeasurable labor support through each of their last three unassisted homebirths (and will again for their upcoming fourth!).
- What co-parent? On prams, routines, ideals, sickness, and finding my way alone. — Ruth at Look Left of the Pleiades describes life without a present co-parent: making new choices and taking care of things herself. (@brightravenmum)
- Parenting With Support — How many people can say that their husband talked them into cloth diapering? Darcel at The Mahogany Way can! (@MahoganyWayMama)
- Co-Parenting Support — Summer at Mama2Mama Tips knows the importance of being supported in the face of criticism. (@mama2mamatips)
- Natural Parenting Carnival: Love and Partners — pchanner at A Mom’s Fresh Start has been blessed with an incredibly involved partner. Her husband loves to take part in every aspect of parenting! (@pchanner)
- Daddy’s Little Girls — Kate Wicker at Momopoly finds her husband right at home in a tangle of girls. (@Momopoly)
- How do I love my parenting partner? Let me count the ways. — Sybil at Musings of a Milk Maker is thankful that she and her partner co-parent fluidly and gracefully. (@mamamilkers)
- Interview with a Daddy — NavelgazingBajan brings us a highly amusing peek into her husband’s perspective.
- Being Supported in Natural Parenting — Sarah at OneStarryNight has witnessed both ends of the parenting spectrum, and is grateful she found a father who is comfortable with natural parenting. (@starrymom)
- Moments in time: a love letter — Arwyn at Raising My Boychick will make you cry with the beautiful way she describes the complete relationship between father and child. (@RaisingBoychick)
- Natural parenting converts — Jen at Recovering Procrastinator brought her reluctant husband around to cloth diapers, bed sharing, and time-ins as a discipline method. (@jenwestpfahl)
- Breastfeeding Father — Amber Strocel at Strocel.com describes how her husband helped her overcome the breastfeeding challenges she encountered with her premature daughter. (@AmberStrocel)
- A Natural Parenting Village — Acacia from Art, Body & Soul, in a guest post for Jamie at Suddenly Stay at Home, broadens the term “coparents” to embrace supportive extended family on both sides. (@SuddnlyStyAtHme)
- A Natural Dad — Shana at Tales of Minor Interest doesn’t have a husband who merely supports her — she has a husband just as dedicated to natural parenting as she is.
- Love and Support From My (sometimes pantsless) Man — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma describes life with the sometimes bumbling but always lovable Pantsless Man. (@kitchenwitch)
- G-O-T-E-A-M! — Jessica at This Is Worthwhile made sure her future husband agreed with her parenting choices early in their dating. (@tisworthwhile)
- how we come to parenthood — Michelle at womanseekingmother dances with her husband around the subject of cosleeping. (@seekingmother)
I am very drawn to the idea of unassisted childbirth. I secretly hoped my birth might go so quickly it would end up unassisted by accident, but no.
I’m really glad your husband stood up to the disapproving family members for you. I’m often too make-nice to take that role, and I love it when Sam stands firm. He’s not mean about it — just honest.
My husband is pretty easy going and totally non-confrontational. I think he really went into protective husband mode during that time. The damage done to his already tense relationship with his parents will never be healed. I think it was very eye-opening for him.
It’s awfully hard when family members and friends not only don’t support the choices you’re making but openly criticize them- at least you have a supportive and active husband to share it with. Plus I love it when my husband is willing to stand up for something just because I believe it, it’s like he’s telling the whole world he has faith in me.
I admire the fact that you believe in yourself enough to have a UAC – I am admittedly too unsure of myself to have an unassisted homebirth. I am thrilled that we’ll be having an assisted homebirth though (if we ever get pg again). You can be sure I’ll be coming to you for preparation advice 🙂
I did a lot of research first, digging through medical journals and scrutinizing data. In the end, I knew it was the safest optoin for our family. I would never be able to relax and listen to what my body and baby needed with someone else there. I would love to chat with you about birth. I pretty much keep my thoughts to myself (and with my husband) due to the unsupportive environment for those who choose alternative births.
I had an unassisted too! I agree- my husband’s support was priceless. And he loved being a part of it and catching our daughter. He might get the chance again this summer (if I don’t have a fast labor and he gets home in time). 🙂
My husband caught our first child, and I have caught our last two. He much prefers having me catch the babies. After our first, people kept exclaiming over how he delivered the baby. He kept explaining that all he did was offer support and catch the baby at the end because I wasn’t in a position to do so. With the last two, he has been able to say, “No, my wife did everything. I was just there to fetch whatever she wanted.”
I think your experiences with unassisted homebirths are wonderful. How beautiful and bonding they must have been, just you and your husband and the babies. Just lovely.
Thank you! They have been very special times for us.
I met my husband on the first day of Jr. High, when I was 13 and he was still a few weeks away from 13. We became friends first, and started dating about a year and a half later when I turned 15. There really is nothing better than having that shared history and that deep and abiding friendship, I think.
I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being married to my best friend is such a treasure.
It always amazes me just how ‘judgemental’ our friends and family can be. I am so glad that you have been blessed with a husband who supports you and sides besides you on your decisions.
I think it just shows how insecure they are in their own choices.
Sounds like you’ve got a keeper! 🙂 My husband is my best friend, too, and boy, was he invaluable during my three labors. I’ve been blessed to have three natural childbirth experiences in hospital settings, but I’m almost certain the first would not have been natural had it not been for my husband being my advocate (my midwife and a doctor looking over her shoulder wanted to start me on Pitocin, and he convinced them to wait).
I also met my husband in college. He was and is my best friend and a loving and dedicated partner. I wish that he was as willing to try an unassisted home birth. He was willing to do whatever I wanted as long as it is in the hospital. He’s a doctor and has a hard time separating himself from the idea that this setting just feels safer to him. Your husband sounds like your champion. It’s inspiring to read about such attuned families.
What a wonderful story. I love that the two of you met as teenagers and have been together ever since. I didn’t marry my high school sweetheart but I am still the best of friends with the first guy I kissed when I was 12.
I totally identify with how you explain coming to your decisions together…that you tend to do research on topics that might be new to your husband and then discuss them. I really think that’s different than “convincing” someone. We do this a lot too.
I am sorry you had to deal with such flak from family members. That’s too bad. How wonderful that you have your husband in your corner!
How wonderful that your husband stood by your side and defended your choices as parents. It’s funny how sometimes friends and family can become quite demanding when it comes to certain big events of your life. They fail to realize that it’s not about them.
What great support you have, that’s just amazing! I’m very interested to hear more about the unassisted births, as it’s something I “may” be interested in. My first, and only child was born in May, in a tub, with midwives assisting. My husband wants us to do it on our own, but it makes me nervous. However, it would be a wonderful experience. Thanks for sharing!
UGH! I keep trying to post but it’s messing up… I love your post, and am interested in hearing more about the unassisted birth… that’s the route my hubby wanted us to take in May, but we ended up using midwives. (STILL AWESOME, though)
That is wonderful that he has been so supportive of you. We were planning an unassisted birth with this baby, but I changed my mind, so now we’re back to midwife assisted homebirth 🙂