At the third parent group meeting we discussed what would happen right before you go to the hospital to give birth.
No one was missing, except my partner.
We first went over topics we had discussed at the previous meeting (e.g. relationships), and then started jumping into preparations for giving birth.
We were all handed a book on breastfeeding (slightly weird, since we talked at length about breastfeeding during the first meeting).
The midwife checked in with all people present about their current pregnancy situation–one by one. In other words, expectant mothers were not given any extra time or questioning compared to expectant fathers.
Most expectant mothers complained about losing sleep, changing their walking habits, and looking forward to not being pregnant. While most of the guys either agreed with their partner or restated similar sentiments.
Two women complained about a pain in her side. The midwife, later in the evening brought up this ligament in her talk, and suggested that due to the baby growing, the pain from the ligament could affect every expectant mother.
Since Lisa wasn’t present, I spoke for her, saying that she was losing sleep, but that she was waking up a couple of times a night due to her acid (no solutions or suggestions were provided).
I then said that I was losing sleep and needed to support Lisa during the night with her acid. This was met with laughter from the parents, with one expectant mother exclaiming “oh, poor you.”
“No seriously,” I replied. “And I can see the lack of sleep starting to affect both of us. Now not just one person is irritable, but two people are, which can add to various relationship problems.”
People still laughed, although not as much as the first time. The midwife waited a second before moving on to the next person. Actually, in thinking about it, not only did the midwife not validate my concerns, but she failed to provide any insight to any individual or couple–she let everyone talk about their problem(s), but offered no sage advice or even thoughts.
After we were all done sharing our problems and concerns (and joys) related to the pregnancy, the midwife then went over several “useful” tips for preparing for birth.
- Take baths to relax your body
- Have your partner give you a massage
- Do relaxing things in your house
- Play with your pets
- Take a shower/bath before going to the hospital
- Eat food before going to the hospital
We then did a basic profylax course. Profylax is a type of massage that you can give to your partner to make them feel better. There are whole courses that you can take (for a fee) that teach you how to do profylax massages so that when you give birth, your partner can massage the expectant mother to 1) make her feel more comfortable and 2) give the expectant father a role in the birthing process.
Side note: I heard from people who took the profylax course that the course had good information, brought the couple closer together (in that they were now both focused on the pregnancy and the importance of giving birth), but that it wasn’t necessarily worth the money. (Sadly I can’t remember how much it costs, maybe 2000 SEK? or thereabouts).
The partners’ role was quite basic–be there for the expectant mother. There was little discussed in the way that expectant fathers are important and that they have a right to be at the birth; let alone, what the experience of being there means for the father, for the couple, and for the family. Father’s (partners) were discussed, but mainly in terms of taking care of the expectant mother, and mainly via making her feel comfortable (destressing her in various ways, especially via massages).
At the end of the meeting, I approached the midwife to go over the highlights from the night (just to make sure I understood everything–after all, I knew Lisa would be asking). After going through the key material, she also handed me an extra book on having a baby (in English)…just to make sure I understood everything that was in the seminar.