During our first two pregnancies, I bought up and read just about any book I could find for expecting fathers. Titles like “Dad’s Pregnant, Too”, “The Expecting Dad” and others filled our book shelves. As with books for the groom-to-be, many of these books were intended for the “lowest common denominator” when it came to expectant fathers. The assumption was that the men reading these books were absolutely clueless, completely dependent upon and not supportive of their partners. They contained advice like “when your partner goes into labor, make sure that you don’t let the big game take priority”. While some of the anecdotes can be entertaining, having done some of my own research and taking interest in the pregnancy and birthing process of my wife, there wasn’t much for me in any of these books.
Thankfully, Lindsay and I found The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin which came very highly recommended by many people. Penny Simkin is a highly respected childbirth educator and labor support person who has helped over 11,000 women and couples prepare for their births since starting in the field in the 1960′s. She’s been the producer of many birth-related movies and authored many birth-related books.
The Birth Partner does take a more clinical approach to the pregnancy and birthing process, while at the same time interweaving the stories and experiences of other mothers, partners and doulas to allow the reader to more easily relate. Having covered a lot of the subject matter at a very level in our birthing classes with our doula-to-be this book provided me with in depth knowledge to allow me to be as prepared as possible to play as supportive a role as possible for Lindsay during the birth of our child. Simkin explains both the physical and emotional sides of labour and how both of those may present themselves an change throughout the process. She is sure to present the reality of the situation rather than focusing on just the good parts or the ideal situation. While, hard to read and imagine at points, I felt that this was very important in helping us to be prepared for what COULD happen during the labour if there were any complications. She is thorough in covering completely natural births and possible interventions (including c-sections and emergency c-sections) as well as planned interventions. You never feel that she is passing judgement on either approach and is just doing her job to prepare you to make informed decisions. She covers the entire process in her book from picking a doula(it was actually what convinced me that we needed a doula!) and supporting your partner during her pregnancy to lactation and post-partum advice. While not as well formatted on the kindle as they would be on paper, there were plenty of worksheets and learning aides included in the book as well, that I either used for reference or inspiration.
The Birth Partner was an indispensable aid in my preparation for the birth of our daughter. It helped to both enhance my knowledge of the birthing process that I gained through our child birthing classes and partner’s yoga and fill in any gaps that weren’t covered in those classes.
Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post all thoughts and opinions are my own.