“I wish I could have a home birth but my partner won’t have it!"
My ears perk up whenever I hear a woman say that she CANNOT ____ (fill in the blank) because her partner opposes it, is not on board or not comfortable with her wishes. In the case of a pregnant woman it often has to do with birthing out-of-hospital. She will say that she must have her partner’s support even if it means not having the birth she envisions.
I find “The Spousal Objection” fascinating.
When a woman knows herself and makes decisions from her deep knowing, her partner will support her. That support might not look the way either one expected. The people in our life respond to what they perceive energetically from us, not to our words. When we are apprehensive, they want to protect us. When we are empowered, we all grow from the experience regardless of the outcome.
By allowing a partner to make a life changing decision for us, we give our power away and postpone facing our true self. We also deprive ourselves and our partner from experiencing life in all its blissful, sometimes messy, unpredictable fullness.
It is important to address the birth partner’s feelings. Is this the partner’s apprehension OR the woman’s apprehension being reflected to her?
When a woman knows herself she will not hide behind her partner’s apprehension; she’ll face it with compassion and determination. Life and birth are about personal responsibility. Whenever a woman owns her power we all gain.
If you are facing THE Spousal Objection consider these four steps:
1. Ask yourself:
Is this person/situation bringing something up for my own healing (e.g., codependency, using my voice, any form of abuse)?
Do I have any fears about childbirth?
What experiences have I had that influence how I view birth (e.g., cesarean, abortion, miscarriage, traumatic birth, traumatic childbirth, rape, sexual abuse)?
How do I feel about my body’s ability to give birth?
How do I feel about becoming a mother?
Am I willing to accept the responsibility that comes with being pregnant, giving birth and becoming a parent?
Am I willing to take full responsibility for my decisions?
2. Set aside time to talk with your birth partner about the upcoming birth:
What are your partner’s expectations, fears and hopes for this birth?
What are yours?
How do you envision their support?
How does your partner feel about seeing you in pain?
If either of you have birthed before, take turns sharing your memory of past childbirth experiences. Childbirth can be an overwhelming and sometimes traumatic experience for a birth partner as well. If something did not go as expected, your partner might have strong feelings that need to be addressed.
3. Sit with your partner and make a list of all of their objections. No need to explain, just make a list.
4. In private, sit with this list and reflect on each item as if these were your own objections.
What did you discover?
Pregnancy, birth and parenting provide a unique opportunity for transformation, individually and as a couple. No one can meet a partner’s needs perfectly 100% of the time. Your partner might prefer not to participate in the labor as your main support. You might prefer to hire a labor support person to help during the birth or make other arrangements that honor and support YOUR Birth Wisdom.
We all bring ourselves to the birthing room; every person who is in the presence of a laboring woman needs to be there to support HER decisions and contribute in a positive way to the laboring woman’s efforts.
When it’s time to push your baby out of your body, the only person required to be present at your birth is YOU!
“Being pregnant and giving birth are like crossing a narrow bridge. People can accompany you to the bridge. They can greet you on the other side. But you walk that bridge alone.” African Proverb
Dr. José Gorrín, an obstetrician/gynecologist from San Juan, Puerto Rico is my favorite example of "The Spousal Objection." He shared his transformation with the Orgasmic Birth website.
“I have been an obstetrician/gynecologist in both private and academic practice since 1973. When I married Ana, also a physician, we talked about having a baby, but she insisted that she have a home birth; she was never going back to a hospital to have a baby. I was not sure about that, I had never been to a home birth.
When Ana was pregnant she presented me with tons of information, videos, scientific evidence, and testimonies from the midwife she chose for the birth. I was impressed with the strength of her resolve.
When Ana Sofía was born, my life changed forever.
I had never seen a natural birth in over 25 years in this field! I thought I had been practicing humanized obstetrics, but was I wrong! Ana Sofía is now 10, and in this decade I have reinvented myself. I am a birth activist, and dedicate my efforts to changing the system for reproductive health care in my country. I want my daughters, and all Puerto Rican women to give birth in a safe, humanized environment where having a baby will no longer be an act of violence against women.”
**Clearing and releasing any energy trapped in your mind-body system will open the space needed for peaceful birth and conscious parenting. I offer Transformational Mentoring services to guide you and your partner navigate these questions.
PS– If you can, don’t wait till you are pregnant to do this work!
Have you faced The Spousal Objection in any area of your relationship? Leave me a comment.
Evelyn Ojeda is a mother’s mentor, healer and gatherer of women. Her intention is to provide a safe, supportive and nurturing community for women to cultivate their inner wisdom and THRIVE in their mother-woman journey!! Her Transformational Mentoriing Method weaves together the very best of her training and experience. She believes pregnancy and birth are healthy, natural and normal body functions. When peaceful and undisturbed, women find their own rhythm and give birth with power and dignity. Birth is an opportunity for spiritual and emotional transformation. This post originally appeared on her blog at thepeacefulbirthproject.org.