Family Stress and Perinatal Mental Health in Non Birthing Partners

The anxious gaze of non birthing partners is a familiar sight. How can I help her not be in pain? I’m worried I’ll faint. What do I do if I think my partner is depressed? What happens if there are complications? I want to be there for my baby in a way my dad wasn’t for me. I don’t get paid leave—how much time off work do you think I need to take? These were common concerns I heard in my childbirth classes, particularly during the hour I met with non birthing partners alone.
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About Author: Stephanie Rayburn

Stephanie Rayburn, MS, MFT-C, CCE (BFW), is a doctoral student researcher and mother of two who has worked with birthing families for the past decade as an educator and doula. Stephanie more recently has continued her education at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, to support families as a couple and family therapist and intervention researcher. She has focused her graduate research on identifying ways to support new fathers at the transition to parenthood and is passionate about increasing awareness of the support needs of the entire family system in the perinatal period. She may be reached at

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