There is a lot of support available for pregnant woman, and please do not misunderstand
me, I am quite in favour of this. There are even magazines, such as Mother and Baby, to
back up this support. I have yet to hear of a magazine called Father and Baby, or even
Father and Mother (or Mother and Father, if you prefer).
This is given from the United Kingdom, where we have a National Health Service, which is paid for in taxes, and available to all.
The National Health Service gives my wife all she needs from them, in terms of pre-natal
and ante-natal care. What she really needs, though, is not short-term while-you're-pregnant
care, but long-term care, which can only be provided by her long-term partner. Me.
I am not a sperm-donor. I am a husband and father.
The midwife is around during the pregnancy (and birth, assuming my wife gives birth at a convenient
time, that "our" midwife is available). She is quite willing to advise my wife, but
has nothing for me. I can hold pamphlets, since I happen to be around. I can "be supportive".
At the moment, my wife has a bad rash from an insect bite. It's a long weekend, so one
product suggesting "if pregnant, consult your doctor before use" is useless. Instead,
my wife has to try something else (and presumably lesser) to cure her itch,
which isn't working well. Do I have a number to call? Is the Pope a Muslim? So my wife
must settle for the inferior product. The other product may not be suitable - who
knows? But she's not giving birth, so the Hospital don't care.
Excuse me, but I've not been here before, either. Everyone is happy to support my
wife through this difficult, strange, and potentially troubling time, giving their
expert and experienced advice. I say that I need a midhusband to talk to me, about the
difficult, strange and troubling time that I am going through. The midwife seems
to believe that I am transparent.
At the 20-week scan, when we first "saw" our baby, the nurse included us both as parents
of this marvellous human being. That is the one and only time I have felt included
in this pregnancy. The other nurses who have tended my wife, have simply dealt with a
physical condition, which is fair enough, since they're just testing glucose levels,
blood pressure, etc.
The midwife, however, is surely supposed to be supplying us with continuitity
throughout the pregnancy. As far as I can tell, the whole Health Service is merely
concerned with dealing with an issue. That issue is : Pregnancy -> Birth -> Job Done.
I am expected to be: Supportive - not that I am even told what the issues
might be, or what my wife might be going through, let alone how to deal with them
as they happen;
Assisting in the birth - not that, at 28 weeks, we have even been given
the opportunity to specifiy
a Birth Plan (something I know about from reading the literature the midwife gave my
wife, without even suggesting that I might be involved in any of this) - my wife likes the
idea of a water birth, though neither of us have been told anything about this; Chauffeur -
there are major roadworks going on right by our hospital; have I been given any information
about how these are planned, what roads will be closed when, or what routes are particularly
congested because of these roadworks? No.. I happen to have a colleague who lives
nearby; I try to get information from him.
How the fsck am I supposed to:
When Nobody tells men anything?
- Help my wife through her pregnancy
- Help my wife through the birth
- Know anything about what is going on, in order to reassure my wife?
Pregnancy is not a female issue. This is a couple having a child, not just a woman
Now I am quite happy to acknowledge that the Health Service must be prepared
for single mothers, when the father is not interested/availble. That is a sad state of
affairs. But when the father is around, he must be included. Otherwhise, how
can he hope to be involved in the process? I have been physically shut out of
the room, and simply ignored. I am equally a parent to this child.