Fathers at Birth, by Rose St. John. 2009. (Ringing Bell Press, Portland, OR, $19.95, 273 pages, paperback.)
When I first picked this book up, I was excited to see something written expressly for dads. In the first chapter, “Your Presence Makes a Difference,” the father’s role at a birth is defined. How many moms have told their spouses that they just want them to be there? The author states early on that she has written this book with two goals: “The first is to share my experiences, to teach you practical skills and give you tools that work… The second goal is to share my perspective on the transcendent, sacred aspect of birth.”
The book starts out explaining how dads can hold the space for their laboring partners. This struck me as a wonderful thing! They don’t have to fix anything or take away her pain… they just hold her space. They are taught how to respond to their partner’s cues while keeping themselves centered and calm. The author does an excellent job explaining how dads can take care of their partner during labor and what signs to look for when she gets stressed or uncomfortable. There are chapters outlining helpful clues to look for and what to do to help her relax.
Next comes several chapters that contain exact step by step directions on how to use different positions and rituals to help her through labor. These are helpful for practicing before labor begins. The appendices at the back offer a quick refresher that can be used in the heat of labor. Beautiful black and white photography decorates each chapter and illustrates the different positions that are recommended for labor.
I could see how this book could be recommended reading for childbirth classes. It is one of the few books that actually address the father and his needs. This book reminds us how important it is for dad to take care of himself as well. How else can he be there for his partner if he is not caring for his own needs?
Buy it Now at Amazon: Fathers at Birth
Disclosure statement: We received a free review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for the review.