Should a husband witness his wife giving birth?

Thursday July 2 2020

Break up. Research has found a fifth of couples

Break up. Research has found a fifth of couples break up during the 12 months after welcoming their new arrival. Among the most common reasons for separating were lack of communication and constant arguments. 

By Joan Salmon

Relationships have for long been said to be a fragile matter and inasmuch as technology is changing so fast, hence trying to pull everything with it, some things remain unchanged.

With marriage in mind, many wonder if sex before marriage is okay while others think it is not fine. So, where does one draw the line?

If people with varying thought lines are in a relationship, what happens? Do we get married to satAs little children, we argued our way to being understood. This went on into our adulthood and one thing always stood out, there is a thin line between arguing and quarrelling.

Truth is, labour is painful. Do women feel cheated that they go through the actual pain of bringing a new family member into the world alone? Even more painful is that in most cultures, the child is given a name from the father’s lineage.

Could all this be the reason why women today wish to have their partners present as they go through the childbearing process? Or is it a change in perception by the fathers, that they feel they need to be more involved in parenting?

Collins Oduka, a father of three, says he has been there for the birth of all his children and believes every husband should.

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“I remember seeing an expectant mother, without even the basic needs. I believe these women need our emotional support,” he shares.

Rachel Akugizibwe, a mother, says it depends on the kind of relationship the couple has. She believes that most men who see what happens in the labour ward bond more with their wives.
“They respect her more, knowing that what she goes through for the family is a matter of life and death,” she says. Doreen Mazakpwe Ssemujju, a lactation specialist, says they encourage men to be with their wives right from antenatal, through labour and after.

Respect
Matthew Nabwiso, a father of four, says he has been to the labour ward for the birth of all his children.

“However, it varies with the hospital your wife is delivering from as some do not allow men in the labour ward, which I hope changes. When men see what their wives go through, they develop a certain level of respect. However, seeing that most men shy away, they miss it,” he shares.

Nabwiso points out that just like a man would want for the woman to understand what he goes through to make ends meet, so should they for their women.

Mental torture
He also highlights the aspect of mental torture because some men cannot stand to see what their wives go through. “I was so traumatised when I saw her being cut to remove our first born that I almost passed out. I had seen such scenes in movies, but never in real life.
Nonetheless, I went on to go for all the other three births because I had resolved to do that. I got stronger with each subsequent birth,” he says.

Expert say
Beatrice Balitenda Kakembo, a counsellor, says until recently (after 1970s), the birth process and time was a female duty and domain. “But, with more involvement and proactiveness of fathers, better understanding of the father-child relationship and bonding, more and more men are being seen in labour wards.” However, she wonders, are they doing it willingly or are they routed into it by their partners? Or is it peer pressure? Or is it a new type of macho?

Divided opinions
Kakembo says on the other hand, the medical team responsible during childbirth also has divided opinions. “Whereas some strongly believe that women need all the support at that moment, others argue that the presence of men disorganises their work and often makes the woman weak to go through the push-push process of giving birth.

They argue that men tend to fuss so much, especially when they see their partners go through that much pain that they tend to think that maybe the midwife and crew are not doing enough, hence negating the purpose.

Kakembo adds that some medical staff prefer to be allowed to do their job while the men wait for results.

“A lot of study is ongoing regarding this, especially now that fathers are encouraged to play a more involved role in the parenting journey and, couples are having less children. This helps in tighter families where such issues such as presence of father in the labour ward can be discussed.”

jsalmon@ug.nationmedia.com

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