Catholic Fatherhood, growing in geekiness, holiness and intelligence.

kc0lex (Matthew). Get yours at

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Fears About Childbirth

My sister-in-law recently gave birth to my third nephew in what can be best described as a traumatic birth experience. She didn't have a long labor but my nephew was on the larger end of the spectrum. The delivery ended up involving the use of forceps leaving him bruised and he had trouble maintaining his blood sugar so he ended up in the NICU for several days.

His five days in the NICU wasn't easy but it was serious and required much more effort from my sister-in-law to start a breast-feeding relationship with him than if she had been in the same room for a couple days and then home. This whole situation has really gotten my wife thinking about priorities in the birth experience and what is really important.

3 of our 4 children have been born naturally and I have learned lots about childbirth through that time and feel that I am fairly knowledgeable about the subject. I must say though that my wife seems to have fairly easy and uncomplicated births. My wife has really started thinking about things and her fears with childbirth and what is important. She has told me that she believes the most important thing is to be able to take home a healthy baby. I agree that is more important than have the "birth experience" that you want to have.

Tonight my wife asked me about when she is pushing if I get "freaked out". She told me that she feels out of control and knows that I don't show it but she wondered if I was scared. I can honestly say that I haven't felt scared during the birth of any of my four beautiful daughters. Tonight I started thinking about the season of Advent we are in, it is a season of preparation for, guess what, a birth. That is the season I am in, sometime in the first half of March I am going to attend the birth of my next child.

What am I afraid of? As the father of the child I don't have to fear for myself but I do have things I am afraid of.

I am afraid of having to make a decision about my wife's medical care when she is not capable of doing so. If this was to happen it would be under pressure and I would have very little time to make the decision. That is alot of pressure for and on me. Do I allow a hysterectomy or have them try to save her fertility?

I also don't want to have to be in a place where I have to pick between my wife and my new child. If they are both in need of medical care or decisions I can't be in two places at once. This really scares me, this is my biggest fear, I know that if my wife is okay that I will simply stay with our baby but what if she needs me too?

Those are the things I fear about childbirth, I don't have to worry about finding a place to stay or wondering if their will be room at the inn. No, we know we are going to a hospital and we know which one it is, my fear is making the wrong decision or losing someone in the process, it scares the hell out of me. I know God will offer me the grace to deal with whatever may come my way. I just pray for another safe and uncomplicated birth.

I want to be with my wife supporting her, not making decisions that will impact the rest of our life. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can.

Under the mercy,

Matthew S


Emily K said...

good post Matt. Also consider it a blessing that your parents are so near-by to help with Mom & Baby - if the need should come up, God forbid it!

We are excited to meet Baby Sauer:)

Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.