So I have announced Me and Mel are expecting our third baby and couldn’t be happier about this, since me and Mel found out in April we were going to have a baby one thing really had me anxious and if I’m honest out of all the anxieties I get during Mels pregnancy this one is still one of my biggest anxieties. That anxiety is becoming just another ornament in the corner of the room.
Let me explain a little of what I mean when I say this, for most dads this won’t need much explanation as you will have all been there, it’s that horrible feeling of sitting in a chair whilst your midwife or health visitior has a long in depth conversation about “your wife’s” baby or at least that’s how it feels at the time. If your a dad expecting your first you will have at least one moment like that, although if your at the birth and your lucky enough not to have had this moment don’t decide that the time is now to be an ornament in a chair as your wife will most probably squeeze your balls so hard you won’t be having anymore kids.
You definitely won’t feel like an or ornament at the birth or at least you shouldn’t. The times I am talking about is all those little appointments that you get dragged to before and after birth. Usally it will be with a midwife or health visitor who will be talking about mum and baby.
At this point I want to make it clear I am not slagging any midwives or health visitors off, they are doing an amazing job on a limited budget and everything they are doing is exactly right they are there to look after mum and baby, make sure that everything is going well both before and after baby is born and they do an amazing Job, it is not their fault I feel like this they are doing their Job. I know some amazing midwives including my mum and even know a few good health visitors. The truth is rightly or wrongly at the points before and after there is a focus on mum and baby. I will talk about the rights and wrong on another blog.
Now to why this has become such a big anxiety of mine, when both my kids were born at every appointment and visit before I admitted I needed help when ever I tried to talk I was shot down. Especially with my first, at our first meeting Mel was called in and we got up together and went to walk in, the midwife pointed at me and said very abruptly “not you, I want to talk to your wife first” straight away I was left feeling anxious wondering what I was missing, was I going to miss something important. Soon after I was summoned to the midwifes room and I sat still holding Mels hand. The midwife asked a question about Health in the family Mel answered I piped up and said I have that in my family. Again the midwife snapped “not your family, we don’t care about your family” from that point on I never spoke I was an ornament sitting next to my wife at every appointment even after birth when was struggling I didn’t talk as I felt I wasn’t important, it was Mel they were there for not me.
You see everything the midwife did was right, when I was told to wait whilst the midwife spoke to Mel, was to make sure she was happy with me, to make sure I wasn’t abusing her or controlling her and I totally agree that midwives check this, again checking all conditions on mums side is right as a lot of things pass on maternal side. It was the tone and temperament of that midwife that led to me spending the next two pregnancies as this object in the corner too scared to talk. If she had even spoken gently and with a better tone I might not have had this anxiety.
Now to big up one of the most amazing midwives I have met to date apart from my mother, although I’m bias.
We have had both our kids in Norfolk so now we’re back in Liverpool we both feel like it’s our first again as things change slightly from area to area. We arrived at the appointment and Mel was told to go sign in whilst I waited I was preparing myself to sit quietly and nod. Mel came back and we were soon called in to see the midwife from Liverpool Women’s Hospital, her name was Anna. She was amazing I was anxious and not wanting to get involved, she brought up mental health and I thought I’m going to Speak up. I told Anna I had suffered from PND and her response was amazing, she said to me “for the purpose of her document it only needs to know about mum, but please do tell me how you suffered” we spoke at lengths about my PND what happened and how I found help, we also talked about how more needs to be done for dads and she advised I talk to the help team on the maternity website for new parents, something I haven’t done yet but I will be doing very soon.
Since that moment I have stopped feeling like an ornament, I felt like someone cared even though Anna was there to make sure Mel and baby were ok, I felt involved and felt like someone cared about Mel, the baby and me.
I believe most men will feel like this ornament in the corner at times, judging what other dads have said to me I am sure we have all felt like this, I don’t have all the Answers I dont know how we can change this feeling like an ornament, all I do know is if more health care professionals were like my Mum and Anna, doing their jobs well but going above and beyond, to even talk to us guys the world would be a better place.