Do we need more dad midwives?

The latest trend in parenting is dads being midwives. But there is some debate about it.
Feb 13, 2016

295 views   |   2 shares
  • Martin Boyce has achieved super dad status.

  • This week, Boyce helped his fiancee, Holly Dawson, give birth to their baby daughter Isabelle during a home birth.

  • Boyce didn't expect to deliver his new baby daughter. His wife went into labor hours earlier than expected, forcing Boyce to act as a midwife. He listened to his mother's instructions that she received over the phone from midwives at the Leicester General Hospital and successfully delivered the baby.

  • "It was a bit scary as it was some time before 'Belle moved and cried, but it was fine. As well as a bit scary, it was also absolutely amazing," Boyce told The Leicester Mercury.

  • They filmed the event, and the video has since gone viral.

  • Here's a look at the home birth. It may make you uncomfortable. The highlight here is Boyce's attention to Dawson, and how sweet he treats his wife and daughter.

  • After Isabelle was born, the couple brought her to the hospital, where the midwives checked on her, the Mercury reported.

  • Though midwives later attended to her, Isabelle's birth was still a case of a dad taking the reins as midwife, a position normally held by a woman, who act as a care provider for mothers and infants.

  • In the United States alone, there were 11,018 registered nurse-midwives and 88 certified midwives in 2015. These registered midwives helped more than 320,000 women give birth, attending to 92 percent of all midwife births. Research has found that home births with midwives usually are a safe form of childbirth.

  • But for men, being a midwife is not always common. In the United Kingdom, where there are 42,000 registered midwives, only 122 are men.

  • Advertisement
  • One of those men is Mark Harris, who has been a midwife for 22 years. He told The Telegraph he's sometimes met with confused glances and crooked eyebrows about his role as a midwife, as some haven't come to accept it as an occupation for men. His own children tell people that their dad is unemployed rather than explain that he helps women give birth, he said.

  • At the same time, he's had three babies named after him — "proof that many women find Harris a welcome presence in the birthing room," The Telegraph reported. In total, he's delivered 500 babies.

  • But he may be the exception. Men can sometimes feel helpless in the birthing room, resorting to inappropriate jokes to make themselves feel more confident about the ongoing events. It wasn't until the 1970s that men, including fathers, were even allowed in the birthing room, after all.

  • "It doesn't just feel powerless, it feels emasculating," Harris said. "At the moment when the one they love is having stuff done to her, they feel completely unable to handle it. Not only that, they have professionals around her saying, 'can you move away', 'can you sit down', 'we'll be back for you' after they've rushed her off to theatre."

  • But these men can find confidence with being in the hospital room by becoming midwives or learning more about childbirth.

  • Helping out during childbirth can also help these men become betters fathers, according to Midwifery Today, a magazine written for midwives.

  • Fathers who are in attendance for the child's birth create an early connection with their soon-to-be born baby, kicking off the framework for a strong father and child relationship. These fathers, upon seeing their new child, tend to feel strong empathy and compassion for their baby, which will then establish a better relationship, the magazine said.

  • These fathers also feel like they'll be more comfortable holding their child, and will have a better ability to distinguish their new baby from the crowd, the magazine said.

  • Acting as a midwife, or staying in the hospital room during birth, can also help husbands improve their relationship with their wives because it shows their partner that they are around during stressful times.

  • Advertisement
  • Still, Harris suggests that fathers only be there if they really want to be, not because research or experts says so.

  • "If he doesn't want to be there, he shouldn't really be there," Harris told The Telegraph. "The foundation for an energetic, passionate fatherhood is a courageous choice at that point. Making that kind of choice could be the making of a great dad."

Want uplifting and insightful stories in your inbox?

Share with your friends and family...

Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

Website: https://twitter.com/HerbScribner

A piece of paper is all you need to stop bullying. Here’s what you need to know.

Fight off bullying with these four suggestions you can start with your kids today.

Advertisement
Tell us your opinion
 

Thanks for subscribing to our email list. Please enjoy our latest articles.

tumblr