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Ask The Good Enough Guy: My Husband Wants To Bail On Our Baby’s Birth!


Dear Good Enough Guy,

I’m 7 months pregnant and really want my husband, Mark, to be in the delivery room with me when I give birth – but he’s totally opposed to the idea.

I’m really ticked off and not speaking to him at the moment. Should I be worried that this is a sign of things to come after the baby arrives or am I the one being unreasonable?


Karen, St Louis

Hi Karen,

You are absolutely NOT being unreasonable. I can think of a stack reasons why he should be in that room (you want him there, you NEED him there, he has an opportunity to witness a once in a lifetime moment, it is his privilege as a father, his duty as a husband…) and the only reasons I can think of for him not being there either contain the word “selfish” or “scared”.

My wife and I went though her pregnancy together, and I did as much as she’d let me do without getting on her nerves. I took the Lamaze classes. I read the baby books. I learned what the hell those dots were on the ultra-sound photos. And on the big day, I held her hand, wiped her face, fed her ice chips, breathed with her, re-assured her, and watched as my son came into the world. Now, I won’t lie; there were some sights and sounds (and a smell or two) that I wasn’t completely prepared for, but I did what a real husband and father is expected to do everyday. I put on my big-boy clothes and acted like a man. It was one of the best days of my life. My brother-in-law has a problem with the sight of blood, sometimes to the point of fainting, but he was right there at his wife’s side through three births, two of which were C-sections (way to go, Dana.)

Maybe Mark has a problem with blood. Maybe Mark is scared that he’ll feel helpless. Maybe Mark is worried that he may see things that he’d rather not see. Maybe Mark is old-school and thinks he should be in the waiting room, passing out cigars. Maybe Mark has some other weak excuse. Well, Karen, do me a favor. Give the rest of this letter to Mark for me.

“Hey, Mark. Two words. MAN UP!”

You wife isn’t asking you to go shoe shopping or sit through yet another viewing of “The Notebook”. She NEEDS you on this one. Yeah, childbirth can be a little scary and a lot painful, but we, as men, have the easy job on this one. You don’t have to knock the doctor out of the way and actually take the snap; just hold her hand, tell her how great she’s doing and how proud you are of her, and BE THERE. I can’t promise that things won’t get a little unusual, but you will make it through and she’ll love you for it. On the other hand, if you punk-out and miss this chance to be there for your wife and child, I can absolutely promise that you’ll never be able to do anything about it except regret it. I don’t know how long you’ve been married, but being there when your wife needs you is Husband 101. You won’t always like every part of it, but it’s your job. Don’t let her down.

Hopefully, by now you’ve seen the error in your ways and have decided to act like a man. On behalf of men everywhere, “HIGH FIVE!!!”  Now, if Karen’s at seven months, you don’t have much time to prepare, so here’s a quick list to get you ready for the game day!

  1. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “What to Expect the First Year”. Read them, and you’ll look and feel like less of a doofus.

2      Make sure Karen has her delivery room bag packed and ready, and then pack yours. Change of clothes (you’ll be there a while), chewing gum (keeps you awake), something for stress (not hers, yours), a good book to read (see number 1).

3      Decide now on the hospital and know the best route to get there. If her water breaks and you’re trying to log into Map-Quest, she’s gonna rip your head clean off.

4      If you’re squeamish, stay at the end of the bed where your wife’s head is… Otherwise you’ll see the baby’s head crowning just before you taste the tile floor.

5      Put the baby’s car seat in your back seat now. I left mine in my trunk and then, after 48 hours without sleep, when it was time to take my wife and new-born son home, I locked the keys in the trunk next to it. You’d think, by now, my wife would see the humor in that. Nope.

You can do this, Mark. Do it for the baby. Do it for yourself. And do it for Karen. Hey, she was good enough to let you be there during the conception; you owe her this one. Good luck!

William Jones is originally from the tiny town of Alton, Illinois, and now lives in the tinier town of Reisterstown, Maryland. He is a happy husband and a proud father of three, and writes as a hobby, in those few, spare moments he finds between husbanding and daddy-ing.



  1. M.E. Johnson

    March 12, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    But is it an indication of how he will feel about this child in future? If so, how?

  2. Will Jones

    March 12, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Hey M.E.

    I knew someone would call me on not answering that question, but I have a really good reason for not answering: I don’t know.

    Even if I could talk to this guy, I bet HE doesn’t even know how he feels about what going on. The letter doesn’t give me a lot to go on, but the vibe I get is a young husband who’s feeling overwhelmed, and I don’t know any husbands or dads who haven’t felt that way before. Any man who says different is lying. Mark may burst to the birthing room at the last minute and become the greatest father who ever changed a diaper, or he may spend the next eighteen years bing the male version of “Mommy Dearest”.
    My money is on this guy being scared and selfish and just needing someone to tell him to get his backbone out of the closet and wear it into that delivery room and, personally, my money is on him doing just that.

  3. Irene

    March 12, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    I am way behind on my computer time today….

    Oh, Lordie bee!

    Mark needs to watch a couple episodes on tv of women giving birth…there are tons on the tv with our reality world on steroids.

    Karen…..I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes well and you have a happy healthy baby.

    When my brother was born in 1972 my dad was not allowed in the delivery room. My dad always had a knack of being in the right place at the right time..anyway, as Little Tucker was coming down the shoot somehow my dad snuck his way to the l&d window to try to peek (I wasn’t there so I am just trying to recall the story as my mom has retold it). Don’t miss this opportunity alot of dads have for various reasons like Military deployment etc.

    Just get your buns in there!

  4. M.E. Johnson

    March 12, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Will, I asked because I was thinking that back in the day dads did indeed pace the waiting room floor but turned out to be pretty darn good dads. And there are bad dads no matter where they are at birthing time.
    She should by now have a feel for where his heart is, don’t you think?

  5. Will Jones

    March 13, 2011 at 6:48 am

    M.E.- I missed the birth of my oldest son because I was in the military at the time and he came much earlier than expected, and I missed my daughter’s birth because there were serious complications and the doctors wouldn’t let me to surgery with her. The bonds that I have with all three children are different, but only because the children are different, not because I was or wasn’t in the birthing room.
    Yes, she should have a feel for where his heart is, but hopefully she isn’t judging his charactor based on his moment of weakness, which I believe will pass soon enough. I think, because the mother is so connencted in every sense to the baby, they don’t always undertand how disconnected, out of control, and helpless a man can feel during pregnancy. Sometimes, a man just gets scared.

    Irene- NO! DON’T WATCH THE VIDEOS MARK!!! LOL. Speaking as a man, watching my son born was a beautiful thing because he was mine, and I’m so glad that I got to be a part of the experience. I’ll never forget it (your dad’s a lucky man). But I watched several scenes of babies being born before that, and because I wasn’t at all connected to those babies, it was gross. I’m just being honest. I think watching those shows will keep more men OUT of delivery rooms than put them in! But on the other part you’re exactly right. He just needs to “get his buns in there”!

  6. Nelsie

    March 13, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Just wanted to share…
    My husband was w/me when I had my son 17 years ago and beleive me when I was in pain the only thing I wanted was his face looking at me, as soon as got in the labor room I felt so strong this is something that all father must see and not only see, feel it too, I hope this guy be w/his wife when she need him the most.

    Good Luck Karen and even if he decides not be w/u, remember that you will have the most important suport God.
    Hope everything be ok! 🙂

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