Help, I’m a Guy! Homebirth from a Man’s Point of View
by Ken Magri

[Editor’s note: This is an excerpt of an article which appears in Midwifery Today, Issue 104, Winter 2012. View other great articles and columns in the table of contents. To read the rest of this article, order your copy of Midwifery Today, Issue 104.]

Thirteen years ago my wife and I were blessed with a perfect home waterbirth. During the early months leading up to the birth, I would have been the last one to predict that our son would be born by candlelight in our backyard horse trough on a warm night in September as I enjoyed an ice cold Corona while sitting just outside the “birth tub.” Now that’s the way to do it!

At the beginning of Teresa’s pregnancy when she said she wanted a homebirth, I had to be convinced. This is a father’s story about how I became convinced and about some of the serious (but silly) concerns that can preoccupy a typical male’s mind while the female is having a giant estrogen jam-session of birthing. In other words, “Help, I’m a guy!”

“How am I going to explain a homebirth to Mom?”

Once we found out Teresa was pregnant, she made a great case for a homebirth. She armed herself with facts that I couldn’t refute. Actually, I had no passion for even trying to refute them because I’ve always had a healthy (no pun intended) skepticism about hospitals anyway. Guys will usually concede to a woman’s point-of-view if they can just see the sense of it. But what was my mother going to say about all this? It was important to me that Mom didn’t think my wife and I were nuts. It helped our case that both Mom and Dad were homebirth babies born in the 1910s, but it was mostly Teresa’s knowledge and confidence that convinced them we knew what we were doing and that their first and only grandchild would be born safely.

“Hey, what about my issues? Do they count?”

Affording a midwife was never going to be a problem, but I did have two reasonable concerns. The first was that we were failing to take advantage of a health care system that we were paying for—one that could serve us well in an emergency. The midwife reminded me our house was exactly three minutes from the hospital, and we had enough time to make use of it and get there if an emergency occurred. Without that reassurance of an emergency plan and a hospital, I would have been far more reluctant and worried.

Ken Magri is an artist and art history professor from Sacramento, California. A survivor of the old hippie era, Ken likes to travel, write, jump rocks in the Sierras and ride his Harley Davidsons.

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