Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood
When I first watched a birth video with Eric I immediately wondered if he was lusting after the woman’s bare breasts. They were full and round and probably four cup sizes larger than mine. However, the only part of the video that seemed to faze him was the liquid pouring out of the vagina as the head popped out. I asked him about the boobs, and he said he didn’t notice them. Whether or not he was fibbing doesn’t matter. What matters is that I was forgetting why we watched the birth video. We didn’t watch so I could compare myself to other women, or fall down the rabbit hole of doubt about whether my partner thought I was attractive — we were watching to expand our knowledge of birth and prepare for our journey as parents.
That’s my long way of saying I relate to this question. It’s normal to have a slew of insecurities during pregnancy, when our bodies are under- going rapid-fire changes. And naturally, these insecurities can bleed into our romantic relationship. It can come to a head when we’re watching a video of a beautiful naked woman handling birth — a process we might not think we can get through — like a pro, all while our partner looks on. So. Many. Triggers.
While it’s absolutely okay to avoid watching birth videos with your partner, I also think it’s a missed opportunity. Watching birth videos that depict an empowered, peaceful birth can help you and your partner realize that such a birth is possible for you. As a childbirth educator, I can talk for hours about how wonderful birth can be, but few parents really get it until I show the videos. This visual depiction of birth allows all the information I’ve shared to really sink in.
Of course, it’s most important for you to watch these videos, but get- ting your partner in on the action helps them develop a more positive perspective on birth. This shift in perspective will support them in bringing an enhanced, trusting, serene energy to your pregnancy and birth experience. And let me tell you, the energy coming off your partner makes a big difference, whether you’re aware of it or not.
What to do
First, figure out what it is about watching birth videos with your partner that makes you uncomfortable. Is it just the idea of your partner looking at naked women? Or is it more than that? For example, I was afraid Eric would be thinking, “There’s no way Bailey is strong enough to birth like that lady.” (A thought that was my own, not his.) Write out your particular triggers, then follow one of my all-time favorite recommendations — talk with your partner.
Sharing your concerns gives your partner the chance to assuage many of them — because in most cases, the partner is not at all thinking about the naked woman, they’re just worried they’ll pass out when they see the blood. So this conversation allows you both to get out your questions and concerns so you can move into the exciting process of watching birth videos with confidence and a fortified sense of partnership.
How to find the right birth videos: Because all birth videos are not created equal, I recommend an internet search for “calm birth videos,” “gentle birth videos,” or “HypnoBirthing birth videos” to help ensure you discover encouraging videos that won’t strike fear in your uterus.