parents

Giving birth without your partner? No. Big. Deal.

How would you react if your partner said they couldn’t make the birth of your child?

Can’t make the birth sorry luv. The footy is on.

Could you deal with that? SHOULD you deal with that?

Is it okay for a father-to-be or partner-to-be to skip the birth of their child because they have somewhere else to be? Or is the birth of a baby so sacrament that absolutely nothing should get in the way?

What if going to the birth means your partner will miss out on doing something they love for the very last time?

This morning on Sydney radio station Triple M the Grill Team of Gus Worland, Mark Geyer and Matty Johns literally grilled a man who is about to miss the birth of his second child because of footy.

Outrage. Anger. Fury. But you know what it is their choice.

Cowboys NRL Player James Tamau is going to miss the birth of his 2nd child because he is playing for the Australian Kangaroos at Suncorp Stadium tomorrow night. He told them that he may never play again for such a squad and didn’t want to miss the chance.

“You only get to play so many tests for Australia” the team at Triple M teased him.. “ And you are right you might go on to have seven or eight kids.”

Cue: outrage.

You can probably predict the comments. That he is selfish. He is putting the needs of himself over the needs of his partner.  That he is only thinking of his career.

That she needs him.

His partner, Brittney McGlone actually gave him her blessing to miss the birth of their first child in 2013 so it seems she has dealt with this before. In that case he made it.

James Tamau, his wife Brittney McGlone and their son Brooklyn.

However women I have spoken to who heard the segment  were not so easygoing. Most felt it was something he would regret and said that they would be furious if their partner made that same decision.

“I am not going through all that pain without him there to support me.”

“There is no way I would let my husband miss my baby’s birth”.

“He got me in this position he can watch me get out of it.”

Yeech.

Its time for everyone to get in the calm birthing position and breathe deep. Pant if you must.

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My partner wasn’t there for the birth of my third child and you know what? It was fine.

The reason he didn’t make it is long and complicated, and wasn’t to do with sport – not that it would have bothered me if it was.

But I was aware for many months before the event that he wouldn’t be there. Knowing I was going to be birthing my child alone was confronting at first. But after I got used to the idea I wasn’t concerned about having no support or having to go through all that pain without a loved one to bare witness my animalistic screams.

More birth stories: We bet you haven’t seen birth like this before. 

I had offers from girlfriends and neighbours and even (on one occasion) a complete stranger to be there with me.

(Really? But you don’t even know me? And you want to watch me push a baby out my vagina? Odd.)

But I was happy to just be with the wonderful medical staff around me and my very good friend – nitrous oxide.

These days it is so unusual to give birth “alone” (let’s face it, there isn’t much aloneness about it, so many medical staff wander in and out at times you feel like you are on display at the national museum) that when you tell people you are planning on it they look at you with pity.

I never needed their pity. It was a wonderful experience. I had a beautiful, healthy baby girl in the end and that was all that mattered. I had friends sending me text messages and family looking after my other children. I was fine.

If she doesn’t mind why do we? ( Facebook)

We seem to forget that many, many women give birth without their partners. Women whose husbands are in the Army. Women whose partners have died. Women who have no partner and are going it alone.

Some have cherished girlfriends alongside them, some have their sisters or mothers. Others like me just have the company of Friends re-runs. The fact is whether they birth alone or broadcast it live on YouTube it is their choice.

So many of the discussions we have about birth revolve around judgment and expectations rather than about choice.

If James Tamau misses the birth of his second child.. so what? He has a lifetime to make memories with his family. Let him have his last night of football glory.

If it doesn’t bother his wife then why does it bother us?

Did you, or would you, give birth alone?