Most dads here in the U.S. now expect to be present at the birth of their child but what if you and your husband are splitting up? You could be giving birth and not wanting your husband in the delivery room.
My present guest Liv, left her marriage of ten years while she was pregnant with their second child. When it came time to giving birth she knew it was important for baby and dad to bond, yet she couldn’t face having her STBX in the delivery room. Here’s Liv:
I had to have a Cesarean so my ex was not in the room when my daughter was born. He was there immediately afterwards.
The doctors and the nurses were so fantastic. It was the same doctor I had when I had my son. And she knew kind of what I was going through. And she had actually met him prior too so she kind of had an understanding of my situation.
My mother came in with me to the delivery room so I had said to the doctor, “Is it possible to have two people in there, would that be OK?” I think something in my voice said I really don’t want you to say yes to this. And she said, “No, you can’t do that.” She was amazing and the nurses were fantastic.
I actually delivered in a hospital where my aunt had retired from the maternity ward, so a lot of them, I don’t know if they were familiar with my situation, but they knew my aunt. I stayed in the hospital for five days. I didn’t have to, but I needed the extra support. I didn’t want to go home with him when I wasn’t ready for him.
It was very difficult in the hospital, there were a couple of shouting incidents. And they actually sent in a social worker at some point to speak to me about possible domestic violence issues. I explained I had already left and yes we’re loud and we’re still going through the whole throes of how nasty this is, and I’m out. I think they accepted it at that point.
I can remember sitting in the hospital, the aftercare room and shaking, just worried about he needs to bond with the baby. And he needs to come in and see her. But I knew that I couldn’t handle having him in the actual delivery.
The hospital, the whole birth experience, aside from the fact that I have a fantastic daughter, it wasn’t something that I would ever want to have to go through again.
The Divorce Coach Says
I am sure that Liv’s doctor had an awareness of her situation and wanted to help. For most humans, that’s innate.
However, people don’t read minds so getting help means asking for the specific help you need and that means admitting you can’t do it all. And that can mean having to open up, make yourself vulnerable and let people in, especially if you’re looking for emotional support.
Let me share a story. A young lady in one of my Meetup groups was getting divorced from her high school sweetheart. They had been together for half her life and she was heartbroken.
When I asked her who else knew about her situation she said she’d told no one at work. She’s a radiation treatment nurse. She felt she had to stay strong because her patients were dealing with cancer and had enough on their plates without hearing her troubles. Keeping up the appearance that everything was normal however, was taking a toll, making already emotionally-demanding work even more demanding.
We encouraged her to open up to her patients – not to off-load and dump her troubles on them but just to say, “Actually, I’m not doing great. I’m getting divorced and it isn’t what I wanted.” We thought that her patients would welcome the personal interaction and some of them would even be able to empathize with her.
She followed our advice and sure enough, her patients responded with warmth, caring and compassion. Not a single one was judgmental or dismissive. The relief from not having keep her own troubles secret was visible – her face was little brighter, she stood a little taller and her smile was little bigger. And she herself said that it had made work easier.
So if you’re feeling like shutting down, closing yourself off from others, shielding yourself from the pain and hurt, try doing the opposite. Pull your Personal Support Team together and start opening up to them. Now is not the time to isolate yourself.
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