Episode 20

#20 The Role of the Birth Partner with Andrea Hausheer The Matrescence Podcast

In this week’s episode we speak to Andrea.Andrea is a doula and birth educator who works with couples all over the globe to prepare them for birth. Andrea’s birth courses are unique in that they pay particular attention to the role of the partner- both in birth and in the months that follow. Throughout the episode we explore the role of the birth partner, why it is so important and how to do it well. We also touch on some juicier topics partner’s who insists on staying away from the business end or sitting the birth out completely.This episode is perfect for couples who are currently preparing to give birth or processing the role that their partner played in their birth. It is informative and insightful and we know you will love it.If you want to get in touch with Andrea, follow on whichever link suits your needs:Website:  https://www.birthprepcourse.com Instagram https://www.instagram.com/andrea_hausheer/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebirthprepcourse 


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20210623 Andrea Role of Birth Partners

Kelly: The birth of a baby is a defining moment in a woman’s life.

Bree: But what about the birth of a mother?

Kelly: That’s right when a baby is born. So too is a mother..

Bree: This transition from woman to mother has a name it’s called Matrescence.

Kelly: This developmental stage is as powerful and irreversible as adolescents, and yet few women have ever heard of it.

Bree: So let’s talk about it.

Kelly: Let’s talk about it. Each episode, we will bring you honest and thought provoking conversations, evidence-based research and knowledgeable guests in order to help you emerge a more powerful and aligned version of yourself.

Bree: So join us, your hosts, Kelly and Bree. As we attempt to make sense of our Matrescence journey and to help you make sense of yours.

Kelly: Welcome back to the Matrescence podcast. Today’s guest is Andrea, She’s a doula based in Barcelona in Spain, although she is originally from Switzerland and met her partner in New York, Andrea works with women and couples as a doula, but she also specializes in online courses for couples and men around their role as birth part.

This is an area of particular interest, both because of Brie’s experience with getting her partner on board. And also the feedback that we get from many of our listeners and our followers on Instagram, about how to get their partners on board and to get them engaged in the process and what to do with them during the birth.

So we talked to Andrea about her views on that and the couples she talks to as well as some ideas about the role of a birth partner during pregnancy birth and birth. We hope you love this chat as much as we do.

Bree: Hi, Andrea. And thank you for joining us. You’re actually our first international guests, so that’s really exciting. And we’re really excited to have you here today.

Andrea: Thank you so much. And hi Bree. Hi Kelly. And, um, yeah, I’m very excited to be here and to be your first international guests. What’s an honor.

Bree: Lovely. So do you want to start by telling us a little bit about yourself? So who you are, where you’re from and what work you’re doing in the birth space?

Andrea: Yeah. So I’m originally from Switzerland and I’m a certified doula. I’ve been living in the U S for quite a while in New York where I met my partner, John.

And then when I got pregnant with our son Arlo, we decided to move back to Europe. And since then we’re living in Barstow.

Bree: Beautiful. So are you working as a doula now? Are you actively taking on clients?

Andrea: Yes, I’m working as a doula here in Barcelona where I support couples, women private here in Barcelona.

And then also I’m specialized in online courses where I’m really, really focusing on demand.

Bree: Lovely. And that’s what my mainly gonna talk to you about today. Excited to dive into the role of the partner and how you prepare them for birth. Cause I know a lot of women as they approach their birth, they’re really seeking resources and support around how, how to prepare them.

But we’re going to start off with your own birth actually. And I’m really curious to hear a little bit about what that experience was like for you and how that relates to the work that you’re doing now.

Andrea: Yeah, it, it really very much relates actually. And also I was asking myself a couple of times, why do I concentrate?

In like, especially about the male part. And it goes back quite a long time. And I have a big circle of friends who are male and they all had kids when they were quite young, I would say like 10 years ago. And they came afterwards, they came to me, they were like Andrea for really, really okay. This was not a nice experience for us.

We were overwhelmed. We didn’t know what to say. We didn’t know what to do. She was disappointed. It was horrible. And already back then, it was like, okay, something is off. That should not be. And then hooray, I’m pregnant myself. And one evening my partner sits down with me and is like, listen, I have to tell you I’m most probably not going to be there.

And I was like, oh wow, here we go again. And of course it was very important for me that he is there. And then we decided that we need a doula in New York and we spent one afternoon with her. And after this afternoon he was convinced that he is going to be there, that he knows what his role is that he knows if he knows the technique or positions, how he can help me.

He sees a certain role that he is confident. So that really changed the whole, you know, perspective of, of giving birth alone or with a doula or with my partner and doula and midwives. And then during the birth, I w I had a really, really beautiful experience in a purpose in Switzerland, and we trained for techniques because I gave an all natural birth that.

Medication. And it was absolutely beautiful. Like we were even left alone by the midwives. So it was only him and me in the room. Uh, no midwives, no two lost nobody because they were like, you you’ve got this and we can just leave you alone. And I was amazed. We were sometimes for hours alone and just working through the techniques and it was such a personal and beautiful birth.

And when. You know, this whole birth experience? Um, yeah, I was, for both of us, we were sure that if we can manage that, that he didn’t even want to be here at birth, that everybody should have at least.

Bree: Absolutely. He did a total through 60 didn’t hear from not wanting to be there at all to showing up for you as a really great birth partner.

And I’m curious to know what is a birth house, because I don’t think we have anything really like that I knew in Australia. I know we did in the past, but can you just take a little tangent and tell us about that?

Andrea: Uh, yeah. Interesting. As a, to be honest, I didn’t even know that, that you don’t have that in Australia.

Uh, yeah. It’s very common in Europe, I would say. And the days, yeah. Uh, with a birth, have this like led by midwives. So there are no doctors and they are very, very close to hospital and they’re working with the hospital. So in case something goes wrong, they can go immediately to the hospital within, I would say 10 minutes, 15 minutes drive, but it is a house slept by midwives and you don’t get any medication there.

So it’s all good.

Bree: That’s probably pretty similar to our birth centers in Australia actually. And how did you reflect on that birth and how did he reflect on the birth? Did you both feel like it was quite a positive experience for you both?

Andrea: Yeah, very much so. Very much so, uh, it was, it was an amazing experience too, and maybe also really, really lucky because we, we all know can be unpredictable, right?

Yeah. Um, okay. Even more so that we were lucky, grateful that we had this experience, even though it was very hard.

Bree: Yeah. So even though you worked for it and prepared, there are still variables named Beth isn’t there. Now we’re going to actually go right through the role of the partner in birth. And we aren’t going to at times specifically address men and fathers, because that brings a, a little bit of a unique perspective compared to being supported by another woman.

So we want to go right back into history. Can you tell us a little bit about the role that men have traditionally played in birth? How have they supported women? Have they been president birth? What did that look like in the past?

Andrea: Yeah. Good question. So, I mean, when we look many, many, many years back, it was more that.

Men were standing outside the cave, protecting the cave while the women were inside the cave with other women, surrounded by other women giving birth. And this was really the role of demand to protect. And nowadays we, I would say most of the women, yes. Expect partners to be their wrapper. Hmm, but he, most, most of the men, I would say they never really got familiar with that role.

And also they don’t really talk about it. So they end up being in a position where they feel actually very uncomfortable. I don’t know if you have experienced that as well. Yeah,

Bree: absolutely. And interestingly, I interviewed my, my Nana actually a little while back about her birth stories. So she gave birth in the 1960s.

And when she went into her lap into labor, she said goodbye to her husband and checked into hospital and didn’t see him again until seven days later when she came home. So yeah. As recently as the sixties and the seventies, men weren’t even present at birth. And as he said, not only now, do we expect men to be there and partners?

Of course, I think we really expect them to take an active role and to advocate for. To provide hands-on support and emotional support to hold space and, um, to understand the medical terminology, essentially, to do everything that we, we expect to do to do, but they’ve got no training, no experience.

They’ve probably never seen it. Um, and as you said, they’re not even talking about birth. They’re not having conversations within their friends groups regularly about what birth looks like. So they almost a completely blank slate and often their perceptions of birth are formed entirely from what they’ve seen in movies, which is quite scary and horrific at times.

So I think it is a really huge challenge for them to then step into that role. And I thought it was quite interesting that you used the word protector because that’s what we see. A lot. I think for men in the birth space these days is that they feel the need to almost save women from the experience.

And I’ve heard that from a lot of men recently that when they saw their partner in a lot of pain, they associated it with suffering and wanted to step in and protect them. Um, so I found it really interesting that you drew that parallel back to our caveman days.

Andrea: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I see it. I, yeah, totally makes sense what you’re saying.

Absolutely. And I totally agree. I see it more, um, in a way of protecting that, he makes sure people are not running in and out all the time that people are not talking are loud because she has to be in that bubble of giving birth and really, really protect her from, you know, getting out of this bubble.

Bree: Absolutely. So protecting the space and really holding space for that process more than anything. Now that brings me to my second question. We have these expectations of men. Are they realistic?

Andrea: Yeah. Very good question. Um, sometimes yes, sometimes no, it’s really, really depends on, on demand on the partner.

Right. Um, I, I guess it’s really, and it’s, it’s interesting because I can kind of see a pattern I would say, and I’m still doing research about it because I find it fascinating. I’m working with loads of different cultures. There are mainly ex-pats living in Holland and Switzerland and Stockholm, and they’re joining my courses and I see two patterns.

One of the patterns. As I’ve got it all figured out and perfect unpredictable. And then the other pattern from the man is Andrea. I have no clue. Please help me, whatever you tell me, you can help me. So, and I find it very, it doesn’t matter which, which, which culture, it really they’re. Mostly those two patterns.

And it’s very interesting because even with, with the ones who are like, I’ve got it all figured out and perfect unpredictable they’re realize during the course that they can influence it. And that if they have a certain knowledge, that it will be a different experience than when they have no knowledge at all.

And so I think you can really, really give a man a chance to understand and to have, to start to have a different point of view about yeah. But he needs to be having training or a personal doula or a personal midwife needs to be open to talk about it, about his worries. And you mentioned that before Bree men, they don’t do that naturally.

Like we do women that were like, oh my God, we need to have a coffee and I need to talk to you. Uh, and also I always say, put yourself in the shoes of the others, how weird would it be if our men would give birth and we would see them. That enduring those nine months, their bodies are changing. They start to have a different character because of their hormones.

They’re experiencing, it would be super weird for us as well. So men maybe subconsciously they always feel a bit left out because everything happens with the mother. And they’re mostly, maybe also a bit worried about a new situation. How is everything going to be? And so.

Bree: Absolutely in Cal’s husband described it as feeling like a third wheel that even though he was going to the appointments and present at the birth, he kind of didn’t know what to do or how to support her.

And so he almost felt like a third wheel at the birth of his own child.

Andrea: I can totally see that.

Bree: And interestingly, I did write an article about this on the blog where I asked the question, do men make good birth partners? And I think my general consensus is no. And I do stand by that to a point. Um, but I recently just gave birth to my second.

Um, To Emmy and my husband was an incredible birth partner. So it has shifted my perspective a little bit. And there’s a few things that I think made a difference. And one was really investing in, preparing him through education and attending a childbirth course. But the other part that I think made a difference was having a doula present, having a team presence.

So when it got intense and it got intense, there was a period there where I was pretty wild. Um, My husband could then look around the room and see all these experienced women who had witnessed physiological childbirth and who were really comfortable. And, you know, they were just taking photos and pouring jugs of water in the birth pills.

So I think being able to look around yeah. I see the calmness of more experienced women allowed, came to be a better birth partner. And I think that that is where the role of the doula comes in not to replace partners, but to really facilitate and support them in that role.

Andrea: Absolutely. Yeah. To add to that also, maybe sometimes as a doula, you help him and to, to find his role in the, in the Burford.

Because he’s maybe standing there and it’s like, oh, we had that all in the course, but now I don’t know what to do. So there is a, can be a super midwife who sees it or that you have a doula. Additionally, what I highly recommend always can just add to it and help him to, to find this role and to not be worried about anything.

Bree: Absolutely. And I think there exists kind of a gap between expectation and reality of what you think birth will look like and what it’s actually like. And do you have the chance to talk to birth partners after they’ve completed your course and given birth, do you have a chance to follow up and debrief with them at all?

Andrea: Yes, they are writing their birth stories to me. And, um, we’re in contact. Mostly over WhatsApp and they do me voice positive to spat their birth experience and so on. So I hear a lot how that felt and how everything went. Yeah. Um,

Bree: and what is the general feedback you’re getting from them? Did they feel prepared or was it still quite surprising or what’s that like?

Andrea: Um, it’s really, it’s really beautiful that they’re giving actually recommendations to other men or other couples, uh, partners. So what I hear a lot. And you mentioned that before as well, is that men they’re like, you have to be the strong partner, even when she’s suffering. It doesn’t help her. If you, if you feel sorry for her, that’s not going to help her.

You have to see her as a strong human being to give birth to our child. Don’t feel sorry for her. Um, And, you know, there are tons of recommendations that come, come up from, from other guys to other guys or make her laugh, distract her, uh, watch birth videos. That’s the best you can do and not the ones that are movies.

Yeah, it’s a cure. I would say recommend positive birth videos, but a simple, positive birth videos on YouTube is can help so much for a man. Um, to change his point of view to see like, oh my God, this is really loud.

Bree: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s something that I feel really passionate about actually is that often in the birth courses, um, you know, through the hospital and otherwise we only see birth videos with music over the top of them, or with women who had a real traditional hypnobirth calm.

Um, labor and we’re not seeing the intensity gave birth. And it seems like that is what really catches men off guard is just how no primal and raw and loud it can be at times, times, of course, not for everybody. Um, but for some women. And so I think just preparing them, um, for what normal may look like can go a really long way in building that confidence when they in that space.

Andrea: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think it, I don’t know how you felt about that, Bri, but it may be gives the, also the confidence as a mother, when, you know, he has a bit of an understanding what’s actually going on that I can go wild if I want to. And I don’t have to hold anything back. I can just be. Who I am on how this whole birth process is, is, is it’s affecting me in a very positive way.

And I don’t know if you feel like that, that you went into almost like an animalistic, they say a kind of state during your work. Yes,

Bree: and I’m still processing it, but my breath is very quick. It was three hours start to finish. Um, and I experienced the fatal ejection reflex. So my pushing stage was very intense, very fast and yeah.

I couldn’t even tell you. I was, um, you know, making animalistic noises. I was just screaming through it. And I was aware of it specifically because my little boy was asleep in the other room and I had, you know, seven people in our house, but I couldn’t stop it. It was just the noise that was coming out of me.

And I remember feeling so good about that noise. Like that is what I needed to birth this baby. And it felt good and it felt primal and. The birth felt incredible to me. And a few days later I was chatting to my husband about it and I was kind of like, you know, how did you feel about it? And he was like, that was terrifying.

I was absolutely terrified. Um, I found it quite traumatic. I was very distressed and you’d never would have known this looking at him. He was cool as a cucumber, just sitting there. Um, and I was so intrigued to hear that that is how it felt to him. And how different it was for me. And I then went to Kellen, was like, ah, you know, I didn’t realize that it was so distressing for you guys in the room to have to listen to me like that.

And it was like, I wasn’t distressed. Like I thought you sounded awesome.

Kelly: And what was so funny about that when we talked about it, because with both of my babies, I wrote my babies out. Like I think I pretty much was one of those women that they were like, you’re upsetting the other women because I really didn’t care. So when Barry was like, was I being really loud? I was like, not really.

So to hear and obviously witnessing. Um, w with Matt who did look as cool as anything to hear him say, that was really just so interesting. And it just reminds us the different perceptions. So to me, the noises you were making was exactly what I expected for a woman who was in that phase of birth to really vocalize.

There was one moment where I could hear you getting quite high. And I was about to say to you, bring that energy down and then a baby. Yeah. Yeah, literally, it was that high pitch moment, which is when you injected her, but it was, you could hear it creeping up the off days. And I was about to say, you know, put that energy down, but it was, the baby was out.

Bree: Yes. And I was actually just talking about that, um, with Matt today because he’s still quite traumatized by it. Why didn’t no one reassure me. Why didn’t someone just say, Hey, this is really normal. She’s getting close, but it’s because he looked so calm. I don’t think it even occurred to anyone to step in, but I was quite surprised because I think compared to the, um, To most women, I had really prepared him for birth and he was still caught off guard by the intensity.

And I think that that may have been different. Had I given birth in hospital? Um, I know with my first birth, I had an epidural and the mat that was far more pleasant because it was great. It was calm. I was eating toast. He loved it. Yeah. This is just so different that I think it caught him off guard.

Andrea: Yeah.

How interesting is that now? And also that you say that you really prepared him and still, yeah, it was not prepared a hundred percent, so maybe we can never be prepared, prepared a hundred percent. Right. We can just do some homework, but then they’re always going to be saying stuff. Very unexpected. And, uh, yeah, I remember I couldn’t talk after I gave up.

Uh, almost couldn’t talk the next day. And I told, I asked my partner what’s wrong with my voice? Why, why, why can’t I talk? And I’m sorry. He’s like, oh my God, you had no idea how you were screaming.

Bree: Oh, I love that. I don’t even remember it. So no. That actually leads me to my next question. Is what specifically are you focusing on in your course?

Because it feels like there’s so much to cover when it comes to birth. It’s like how long is the piece of string? What do you focus on and what do you find is the most impactful when it comes to really preparing and empowering birth partners?

Andrea: Yeah. So we’re, we’re coming. Normally we’re coming together on four evenings.

There is also a shorter course, um, because people are so busy, uh, which is happening on two evenings. That’s happening right now this week. And we are mainly talking about what is actually his role. What can he do? Um, what does he want to do? There’s also a big difference there. Some men want to do more, so men want to do less.

It’s also very much about the mother with the, she wants him to do, um, because every woman feels different. Some women, they like to be touched. Some women, they don’t like to be touched and they already maybe know how to feel about that, that they want to be really within themselves or more focused on the outside.

Um, and I realized. Pretty much in every course, I realized that those couples, they talk about it there’s time that they, they just assume mostly that the other person knows because they’re a couple and they know each other. Um, he has this personality, she has this personality. However, it’s very often I realized when they actually talk about it in the course, it’s very, very different.

And he’s like, I had no idea that she doesn’t want to be touched. And how good is it that I hear this now and not just on the day itself, because that will be such a different outcome for him to be left out, feeling disappointed instead of, oh, that’s how she needs to birth. That doesn’t mean I’m feeling left out.

That doesn’t mean I can find my role. So it’s really finding your role as a couple, uh, and who takes on which role? Hmm.

Bree: Yeah. And I think it’s about negotiation, negotiating those expectations. So you’re on the page on the same page, and obviously you don’t know what you will want or need in labor. It’s very different when you’re actually in it and experiencing it.

But at least talking about you give about it, gives you some ideas and. We found that we had very different expectations. I said to Matt going into it, like, I want you touching my nipples and hopping in the birth pool with me. And he was like, absolutely not. I’m not doing any of those things that was

Kelly: Kelly.

Do that. He was like, no, not that one.

Andrea: Sorry. That’s

Bree: all we. You know, we were having these same conversations and I was saying, you know, I want this and I want that. And then on the day, the one-time Kelly tried to help me. I snapped at her and said, no, don’t touch me. Um, so sometimes, you know, what you want in the moment is going to be different.

But I don’t think that that means we should not prepare it all. There’s this kind of idea of, oh, well, Beth is unpredictable. We don’t know how it goes. There’s no point preparing, but there is actually a lot of value in having tools so that on the day you can try something and go, okay, no, Isn’t working, I’ll try something else.

And I think, as you said, men really like to feel like they have a job and they know what it is. And even if it’s something really simple, like the three of my birth, my husband just sat with me and did light touch on my back. And that was all I needed. But to me it felt like the world, you know, like he was giving me so much, even though it was quite a simple task.

Andrea: Yeah, absolutely.

Bree: Absolutely. And what are the common jobs that you give men? Are there some that they take to really well?

Andrea: Yeah, it’s mainly that, um, the couple is focusing or deciding on one technique. Um, and then they’re going to try that technique. And as you said, Bree, it can be that it didn’t the day itself.

When you give birth that you change your mind and that you don’t feel like him to touch you wherever. However, what I experienced is when you train that technique, it’s like a trigger that goes. On the day itself because you did it so many times before that your subconscious mind is used to it. And when the day itself it starts.

And especially when you’re having pain, I would say it works to 90%. Because they’re used to it, right? Our subconscious mind knows what is happening. And that is a very good saying, and this can be like, you know, that he holds his hands on the back of, of the modern. She really does with a breathing technique, briefs into his hands.

Um, just can be setting, pushing into her. This can be breathing together, counter drew, the contractions, whatever technique, dancing, whatever technique they’re choosing, they’re going to stick to that technique. And this has been very successful.

Bree: Absolutely. And something that I found personally we chose to do.

I’m not sure if you’re familiar with it. The light touch massage. Yes. Do you call it the same thing? Yes. Cool. So that’s a universal one. Um, and we did that throughout our pregnancy to prepare, and I wasn’t sure if I would like it on the day, I did end up using that through my whole labor, but even if we didn’t, I found it so valuable because it meant that at least once, twice, ideally more awake, we were sitting down together as a couple.

We were relaxing, we were connecting and breathing and that was so powerful for us. Staying connected throughout pregnancy. And I think for him feeling like he was a part of the pregnancy, because really there’s not a lot that men can do, um, during those nine months to grow the baby. So that was a really hands-on way for him to feel involved.

I think.

Andrea: Absolutely. So, so nice. What you’re saying, and this is so important that you feel as a, as a teacher. That you’re doing this together. You produce those babies together. You, you know, you also should have an awesome start into this new life together and that he feels yeah. Needed in a way. And that he starts to talk about certain things, which man, still not enough.

They’re not talking about it enough, but their worries and whatever, whatever it is.

Bree: Absolutely. And at the end of the day, you know, once you give birth to this child, you’re not going home with the midwife or the obstetrician. You’re going home with your husband or your partner. And you’re going to have to parent this baby together, and you’re going to have to work as a team and have confidence in one another.

So I feel like the birth is a really great opportunity to build that trust and confidence in one another. And to start your parenting journey off on a positive note. And I am curious to hear from you, how do you think that the birth and the way that couples interact throughout berth sets them up for that postnatal experience?

Do you think? It, it really matters.

Andrea: Yeah, I would say yes, that you’re, you’re, you’re on the same page together that, you know, I can trust my partner. Um, I don’t have to like, remind him do this, this, this, this it’s like, we both have a, a general interest. To make this happen too, to be a team too. It’s also a bit of an effort, but come on, we, we start to have a family or a second child or research child.

And it’s also, I realized when a man already feels like included. As you said, with those techniques, you’re learning during those nine months pre or during the birth process. He he’s also going to feel different than back home. And we talk about that as well in the course, what does it mean to be at home, uh, with that new situation?

And then he, most of the time men are taking a vacation from their work. And then again, they’re coming to me and they’re like, I took a vacation from work, but now I’m feeling like left out at home. Why did I do that? I could have gone to. Right. And just to talk about it again, like just to address it, to be like, listen, you’re not gonna feel like left out, but you have to understand that maybe this is the time where you really have to be here for the mother actually, because the baby.

Once the mother, I’m sorry to set. Tell you, buddy, but the baby wants to mother and you look after the mother and for guys to hear that they’re like, oh, oh, okay. I could cook. Or I rent some takeaway food or I rented a cleaning lady or I clean for once or whatever it is, but you can organize it and she can be used to it.

Bree: Absolutely. And that’s something that I’ve said before that with our first child, especially, I feel like I fed the baby, but my husband did everything else because feeding a newborn baby is a full-time job. And amongst that, you’re trying to get enough rest and enough nourishment to be able to continue to feed them.

So. While they can’t do the primary role. They can’t give birth. They can’t breastfeed. There’s so many other things that they can do. And if they know what that job is, what’s required of them, then they can really feel empowered in that role because it does matter. And as you said, newborn, babies just don’t need dads.

And I know that that’s really hard for some people to hear, but moms do we need partners, we need dads. We need that support so much. Um, so I think that if they’ve provided that to them, In birth, it provides a really beautiful transition into that postnatal period. Absolutely.

Andrea: Yes. Yeah, no, I was

Bree: curious in terms of jobs going back to the birth a little bit.

Yeah. I’ve heard a lot of conversations recently about men wanting to not go down the business end in air quotes. That’s how they refer to it. So not wanting to see the baby’s head be born or anything like that. Do you encounter men like that and how do you navigate it? Do you say, you know, operate at your comfort zone, you know, step back or do you encourage them to be more involved?

Andrea: Um, I would, I would say first of all, I always recommend that are watching Bearfield. Um, that I see also have such a baby look so. For us as the modern, they look perfect. Right. For the people around. They’re like, oh my God was coming. What is coming out here? Um,

Bree: yes. And they’re so purple. And sometimes they’re really quiet or small lender. It could be quite confronting. Yes, absolutely. And

Andrea: yeah, it’s really funny. So I think if a man starts to get comfortable with that, seeing that, then he may be Cancun. Out of this comfort zone, but if someone doesn’t feel like, you know, doing that, then I would not recommend that.

And it’s the same with when we talk about men being present at birth or not. If a man really doesn’t want to be there, I think it’s, it’s not worth trying.

Bree: Hmm, you preempted my next question, actually, because it’s something I’m really curious about, and I’m not sure that I have a fully formed opinion. If you’d asked me a couple of months ago, I would have said, no, they absolutely need to be there.

You know, your partner is doing this incredible thing. She’s working so hard. She’s giving birth really it’s the least you can do to show up. And, uh, you know, I held quite tight to that belief, but the more I’ve looked into. How the BEPS space, how the people in your room, how the energy affects women’s ability to give birth.

The more I come to believe that maybe if someone doesn’t want to be there, if they’re going to bring a negative energy, maybe they’re better to just not be that, you know, to offer support in different ways and to. You know, acknowledge that maybe this is too much for them, and that there’s better people who could fulfill that role such as a doula or a really good friend.

Um, so my opinion is changing. Is it something you encounter often or is that quite rare these days?

Andrea: No, I do. I do. Caltrate. Yeah, quite, quite a bit. I would say that also women, they come to me and because they know I’m specialized in the end, they’re like, Hey, can you talk to this guy? He needs to be there at birth.

And I really, really feel strong for the woman because of course we want to have our partners there, but first recommendation I would give to a couple out there who maybe is experiencing exactly that. Yeah. Mean to doula. So I’ll have a talk to a doula or an online course and had one, couple, they agreed on we’re doing Andrea’s online course.

And after that we make a decision and there it was for him, it was a cultural thing, man, in his culture that would not be there at birth, but she felt really, really strong about him being there at birth and needed the course. And then he decided to be their wrapper. It’s a big thing because it goes against the culture.

Right. It’s just a totally different topic again. Yeah. But , and they were both really, really happy. And for him it was an experience he thought he’s never going to see, because that was just not something that they do in this culture. So it was actually a beautiful story. And then other examples where they maybe need to do law or maybe did my course and he’s still look.

I don’t see myself there and there are things for the woman. It would be important that she has professional help just to be okay. And on the same page, because if you have bad feelings towards each other, it’s going to come out later on. And if you don’t talk about it, and this is a very important that we can talk about it very much.

Bree: Absolutely. And as you said, it sets you up for that postnatal period. So whether you choose to have your partner at the birth or not, I think it’s really important that you work through that. And I was just chatting about this on Instagram actually today that I really recommend that couples have. A birth debrief, whether that’s with a doula or with their healthcare provider or even a counselor, because the main that’s becoming clear to me is how many men have birth trauma.

And obviously physically women are the ones that tend to experience the birth trauma. Um, but when it comes to that psychological birth trauma, Being in that position of not knowing how to support or witnessing their partner in a lot of pain. So many men are walking away from this experience feeling really shaken by it.

And I do wonder without the opportunity to talk that through with their buddies or with their partner or with a professional, how that carries on into their relationship and affects their yeah. You know, sense of self and how they shop for their family moving forward. So I think that that’s a really important topic to ensure you’re on the same page and

Andrea: to discuss that.

Yeah. Yeah. Very much so. And you know, in general, I would say if people are prepared or, or men are prepared, um, and feel like, sorry, I think we can stop that now. I didn’t know what I wanted to do.

Bree: You’re right. Is there anything specifically? No, you’re right. W w I’ve kind of worked through most of my questions.

So in the last little bit, is there any, anything specific that you want to talk about or touch on or, um, you know, where do you see it wrapping up?

Andrea: Um, yeah, maybe, maybe just as an example from a couple who had a, uh, not a very, very nice, perfect experience, but I felt really good about it. Um, to give that as an example and why that is for people who experienced that.


Kelly: Cool. Yeah. I think maybe the question could be, um, so even with all the preparation, you must still have couples that birth doesn’t go the way they want it to talk to me about how even when things don’t go the way they wanted, it can still be positive process because of the preparation, something like that.

Andrea: Exactly.

Bree: Yep. Do you want me to ask the question again? Okay. So as we talked about earlier, sometimes birth doesn’t go to plan. I mean, we saw that in my own birth. If I did all the preparation and still some things just did not play out the way that I had hoped. And of course it’s going to happen all the time.

We can’t control what birth looks like. So what happens when birth doesn’t go to plan? Are couples still able to walk away feeling positive about it or do they then reflect on this experience quite negatively?

Andrea: Yeah. Um, I can give you a very good example. I just had, uh, two weeks ago, a couple who did the course with me and we did the birth plan together and everything and nursing, but really nothing happens after their birth plan.

When she came back to me and she ended up in a emergency C-section. And when she came to me before her partner and talked about it, it was like, I’m so sorry. I’m really so, so sorry to hear that. But to my big surprise, they smiled at me. They were like Andrea refine. And I was like, how, how is this possible?

How can you say that? They were like, we cannot blame ourself. We really were. We were such an awesome team and we tried everything. We tried everything in the end, it just didn’t work and we couldn’t influence it anymore. So we had to let it go. But we tried for one and a half days without an epidural and she was fighting and I’m so proud of her.

And I realized even during the emergency C-section they were such an amazing cup. That they, they fell head over heels in love with each other again, because they felt the support from each other. And how, how important that isn’t, that that absolutely made my day. I was like, if somebody can come back and say, Hey, this wasn’t the birth.

I really expected, but I had my partner there and he was badass. This is a hundred percent. Absolutely.

Bree: And I think the term that you used influence is so fantastic because we can’t control Beth, but we certainly can influence it. And that’s what the research is saying as well, is that it doesn’t actually really matter how you give birth.

I mean, of course it matters, but whether it’s C-section or vaginal. Medicated or unmedicated. What matters is that women felt that they were supported, that they were heard that they were respected. And as you said, even in those moments, when nothing is going to plan, there are still opportunities for communication, for respect and for support.

And I think that that’s really empowering because it means that regardless of how. Plays out. We can walk away from it feeling really positive. Um, and my last question, before we wrap up, cause we’re almost out of time is you’ll still actively supporting couples as a doula. And something that we encounter a lot is that men are fearful and women actually that as a doula, you’re going to replace them in the birth space.

Um, and I think that that is one of the main reasons. Doulas are not more popular than they already are. So how do you compliment the partner role in the birth? Are you, are you working together? Are you supporting the partner or the mom? What does that look like?

Andrea: Yeah, good question. And I think you’re, you’re, you’re right about this.

And it goes probably it is because it’s something very personal. What we’re doing, we’re giving birth. It’s something very, very personal. And then like, why do we need to have a woman there? We don’t know. Um, I want to do this with my partner or about my partner, not to feel left out again. Right. Um, I think once you get to know the couple and once they understand how you can work together, the three of you that this can be only beneficial, only beneficial.

But I think again, you have to talk to the couple about it because I don’t know where that comes from, but almost all the couples they’re like, oh, I don’t know if I want to have a two lot there, because then she takes away the role from my partner or for my husband. And I think once you talk about it, then they realize, no, this is actually not the case.

And once you’re there at birth, you observe, especially, or that’s what I’m doing. I’m observing the partner. I see. Is he comfortable? Does he find his role? And if he has difficulties to find his role, I’m going to help him finding his role. And I’m going to make sure they are the main couple together. If she wants.

If she rather needs to have a woman, then I’m there or the midwives. So it’s really, again, finding out what are their roles, what do they wish for? And then in the actual situation to see again, is this right? And where do they need my help? And this is so beneficial for everybody.

Bree: Absolutely. And that’s very much what I said to Cal going into my birth is that I had this feeling that Kel would be more in tune with my needs.

She had given birth before she was a woman. And so I said to her, can you just kind of observe? And if you see something that you could do to support them, Tell Matt to do it, give him the opportunity first to step in and do it because I want him, I want this moment for us, but just kind of be the eyes for him and, you know, notice these things.

And as you said, so much of a dual, his role is actually supporting the partner. And I think that we don’t realize that is that, you know, in a way, your holding space for the partner so that the partner can hold space for it. The person who’s giving birth. So it’s really like a triad and you’re working together towards the same goal.

It’s not that you’re competing for that role.

Andrea: Absolutely. Yeah. There’s definitely no competing. Yeah.

Bree: Beautiful. So there’s so much more we could cover, but we are going to wrap up now, before we finish, can you. Tell us some of your favorite resources. Is there something that you point couples towards obviously being mindful that we’re in Australia, but, um, any links to websites, so books that you find it really helpful for preparing both partners?

Andrea: Yeah, I would say the positive birth book, but mainly hill is very, it’s a book I really, really love and I think it’s simple and it’s not. Too much. It’s not too little. It’s a very good understanding. Uh, you know, my class came, um, childbirth must rate for everyone who, especially if you would like to have a natural birth, like, uh, our medicated physiological birth.

Um, and then I think it’s very important to join maybe certain Facebook groups. If you want to, where you can ask questions where you are supported by, you know, certain midwife. Let Facebook groups, this is one which is a breech position for the Facebook group, which is really good. Um, I can send that to you if you want that.


Bree: actually already on that one. So send me yours and we’ll see if it’s the same as mine, but yes, it’s a fantastic, yeah, exactly.

Andrea: Or the, you know, VPAC vaginal birth after cesarean. This is really for every woman is it’s different. Right? She maybe has a second child, maybe has a breech baby. She maybe has a very big baby.

We also hear that as well. Um, or an induction Facebook website, beautiful, and also, um, positive induction.com. Beautiful with positive birth stories about induction. And this is so important because. Nowadays, I think I hear it the other day. Every third woman gets induced. Nowadays

Bree: two sticks in Australia are pretty similar to that.

So while, you know, maybe we wouldn’t advocate for induction. You know, this is the reality for many women and some are definitely medically necessary. So being able to speak to women who have been through that process can be so valuable.

Andrea: So, so valuable and also so valuable to read positive first stories because you, you see, oh, wow.

It’s still possible. Yes. I still can have an actual birth if I want to, uh, I need to try it like this, this and this with my partner, but it’s still possible. I can set up the room after the five senses and it’s so important to have the support from all those groups. And luckily we have.

Bree: Absolutely. So we will put links to those in the episode notes.

Lastly, if people want to connect with you, where can they find you? Are you on social media? Do you have a website?

Andrea: Yes, I do have a website and I’m on social media. I’m on Instagram where I share most of my everyday stuff and topics and courses. And this is, uh, my name Andrea Hausheer and the website is birth prep.com

Bree: love like, so we’ll put those links in as well. Well, thank you so much for joining us. We’ve loved chatting to you. Um, and yeah, we hope you have a great day.

Andrea: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure and very grateful and happy to be here.

Kelly: Thanks for joining us for today’s conversation. If you want to hear more like this, don’t forget to hit subscribe. So you don’t miss anything. If you’d like to know more about anything we talked about, or you heard on the podcast today, check out our website, http://www.birthofamother.com.au. You can find us on Instagram @Matrescence.podcast, or send us an email to info@birthofamother.com.au

Bree: If you think others could benefit from this podcast, take a screenshot of you listening to this episode, to post on your social media and title. Alternatively consider leaving a review with your favorite things about the Matrescence podcast. This really helps us to increase our visibility and ensure we are reaching as many women as possible as always thank you for spending your time with us.

We hope you will tune in next time.

Kelly and Bree


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