It's a Guy Thing

It's a Guy Thing

As you might expect from a man who later wrote several books on fatherhood,Armin Brott did a lot of things right as he supported his then-wife through thebirths of their two children. Except for one blunder: He used the C-word.

When the going got tough during the second birth, Brott suggested --apparently too indelicately -- a cesarean section.

"She had been in labor for 20 hours, plus 16 hours the week before,"recalls Brott, who also has a syndicated radio show called "PositiveParenting" in San Francisco. "I thought, God, this is enough already --who the hell wants to go through this?"

Well, she did, he quickly realized. Two words said it all. "Shesaid ''f--- you,'' frankly," says Brott, sheepishly.

That big day is sure to stretch limits -- and not just for the one pushingthe baby out. The dad-to-be has lots of pressure, too. But even with thedubious distinction as "The Coach," how can he possibly have all theanswers?

"Here''s a person who''s never had a menstrual cramp, and we''re asking himto empathize with somebody who''s in freakin'' labor," says SusanrachelCondon, a certified nurse midwife, doula and massage therapist in New YorkCity. "It puts a big burden on him."

Nor is it easy straddling the game and sidelines at the same time."They''re going through their own emotional process in the labor, too,"says Erica Lyon, a childbirth educator and president of the ChildbirthEducation Association of Metro New York.

The best game plan? Drop the sports metaphor, for starters.

"It''s not about coaching," Condon says. "Women don''t need acoach. They know how to give birth. They need support. Labor should be likelovemaking. Hold her. Touch her. Acknowledge her. Let it be intimate. Light thecandles. Put on the music. Give her something sensual to eat. Be her lover, nother coach."

Top 5 Ways To Be A Supportive Partner During Labor

No. 1: Be prepared. It''s easy to feel scared and helpless, especiallyif you''ve never been through it before. But the more you understand about thebirth process and what''s normal, the more comfortable you''ll be.

"Having a basic understanding of what''s going to happen with her -- anda basic understanding of how they can help -- makes partners feel a little morein control in a very out-of-control situation," Lyon says.

That means getting a childbirth education class under your belt and readingsome childbirth books. There''s a slew of them written especially for dads,including "The Birth Partner," by Penny Simkin and "The ExpectantFather," by Brott.

That goes for the mom-to-be, too.

"I would encourage women to educate themselves enough about the normallabor process and all their choices, and put the support they need in place, sothat they''re not venting on their partner during labor," Lyon says."Women tend to go off on their partner when they''re frightened, scared ordon''t trust the people around them."

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