I was in a little room of the hospital in the early hours with a baby son a few hours old, born happily in water at home. My partner was having a ‘routine’ procedure. It should take 20 minutes. That was an hour ago. What’s going on? Should I be worried? Where is everyone? Why can’t I find anyone? Am I going to be a single dad… These are the thoughts running through my head. Medicine, hospitals and a lack of communication equals worry on an industrial scale. I could not gauge for this – it wasn’t in the birth plan but I did have instructions if the worst scenario panned out. Now’s as good a time as any to review it… no, stop worrying.” As for as advice for dads whose partners are experiencing trauma I can only speak from my experience. I wasn’t asked if I wanted to be with her and no one thought to keep me in the loop. That’s not the norm but when you are in a situation like that it’s difficult to fight your corner. So make sure you have an advocate – a go-between. It could be someone on your side (parent maybe) or someone on the medical team. Someone who can think when you can’t.Lee Newton
A message to dads from the Birth Trauma Association
“Witnessing a traumatic birth can be very distressing, and some partners do suffer PTSD as a result. If that applies to you, please do seek professional help from your GP.”
Messages from Dads
I’ve been there, seeing your partner in so much pain and not feeling much help is hard, really, really hard.
If your partner is feeling traumatised by the birth too, ask for someone from the hospital to go over the birth with you. Getting someone to talk to you about why what happened, happened can help.
You aren’t alone mate. Thousands of Dads are with you on this.
Talk to someone you trust, get those thoughts and experiences out.
Dads get this too, you aren’t weak, you aren’t letting anyone down. You’ve experienced trauma, get help!
You are important too, you need to be tip top so you can look after the Mrs and the new little one.
Messages from Mums
Don’t think that your thoughts are burdening her – they’re not.
It’s ok that the birth affected you too. Maybe you weren’t aware what was happening or maybe you saw things happen to your loved ones – your partner or your baby – that scared you. Your feelings wont make your partner ‘feel worse’.
Trauma is in the eye of the beholder, if you feel subjectively traumatised by any part of the birth then this is real and valid. Try to talk to friends, family. Some people find art or writing their story in a journal really helpful. Exercise helps. Trauma takes time to heal. Seek help, don’t be embarrassed or ashamed. PTSD and trauma affects any of us not just soldiers!
Speak to her, let her know it affected and scared you too.
Your experiences of birth trauma are valid, it is ok for you to feel like this, you are not alone – other Dad’s feel this way too
Go see your GP, say you have experienced a trauma and you are struggling to deal with it. Ask for help.