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It isn't really that long ago that expectant fathers were expected to nervously pace up and down the hall in the hospital, while their wives were in labor. Now, the role of fathers is totally different. If you're American or from any other "western" country, your husband will definitely be expected to be supportive, bring you ice chips when you're in labor, cheer you on and cut the umbilical cord after birth. But what if your husband is of the old-fashioned type, and doesn't want to attend your baby's birth?

Friends who have this kind of husband, and encouraged him to attend their babies' birth despite him not wanting to be there turned out to have a hard time. They felt stressed and their labor was negatively impacted by the presence of the man they loved, but who didn't feel like being there for the birth. While it is easy to think that husbands have an obligation to be there for their child's birth after all, it's their wife doing all the hard work! the other side of the coin is that the presence of an unsupportive or clueless spouse can actually make labor much harder. You could consider accepting that your birth will be just fine with your mom, sister, a friend or a birth doula as your labor support.

Not being present for the birth doesn't impact father-child bonding negatively, if it is really just the birth he is uncomfortable with. If you are not prepared to accept the idea of going through labor alone, you could take your husband to a childbirth education class to get used to the physiological process of birth, so that he will be more comfortable with the process. He may come round to the idea of being at your birth. Talking to other dads who were present at their baby's birth can also be useful. He may also want to read labor and delivery preparation tips for partners.

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