Profile of a Pregnancy, Follow-up: Squeemish Dad

Profile of a Pregnancy, Follow-up: Squeemish Dad
Dr. Phil tackles common decisions couples face during the roller coaster ride of pregnancy.
Kathleen says she was stunned when her husband, Matt, told her he didn't want to be in the delivery room during the birth of their child. "I had not even considered that as a possibility," says Kathleen. "What I want him to do is be next to me at my shoulder offering encouraging words."

Kathleen is worried that their upcoming childbirth classes will make Matt even more adamant about not going because of the graphic videos they may show. "My fear is that I may actually resent him down the line for not sharing that moment with me," she says.

Matt makes no apologies about his stance. "While Kathleen is in the delivery room pushing out our child," he says, "I would much rather be in the waiting room — trading commodities, making money and being productive." Matt admits he doesn't like hospitals, he doesn't like blood and gore, and he doesn't want to have anything to do with seeing the child come out or cutting the umbilical cord. "Wash it, clean it, diaper it. Talk to me in a few weeks when the child becomes cuter," says Matt, who doesn't understand why Kathleen is set on him being there.
Dr. Phil points out to Matt that his feelings stem from fear. He's afraid of fainting, getting sick, passing out, etc. Kathleen's feelings come from the need for support and the desire for sharing that moment with her husband.

Dr. Phil cuts to the chase: "Listen, I wasn't crazy about going into the delivery room 24 years ago, but my wife was in there and it was important to her that I be there and I learned a long time ago — women have a real long memory. My advice to you is to go," says Dr. Phil.

Matt explains that he plans to be there to offer support for Kathleen's labor, but doesn't want to be there for the actual delivery. Dr. Phil suggests a compromise. He can have his back to the delivery while being there for his wife. "At some point in a relationship, you have to say, 'It's not all about me, it's about my partner,'" says Dr. Phil.

Dr. Phil tells Kathleen: "And likewise, since you know it's the blood and gore that bothers him, then by all means exclude him from all activities that would involve that, like cutting the cord and that sort of thing. And have him be there comforting you physically, mentally and emotionally."

Dr. Phil asks Matt, "Is that something you're willing to do even if you do that for her instead of for you?"

"I love my wife so I'll do whatever she wants me to do, but I don't understand why this one point needs to be a negotiated point," says Matt.

Dr. Phil sums it up for Matt: "You're just about to piss her off. And that's a hard bell to un-ring." He turns to Kathleen: "Do you fear you will resent him if he isn't in there?"

"I fear I will have some resentment," agrees Kathleen.

"And do you want to be dealing with this three, four, five years from now?" Dr. Phil asks Matt, who says he doesn't. "Then it seems to me, it's a small concession to go in there, drape the parts of this you don't want to see, share the parts that you feel equal to, and move on to the joy and excitement of having a baby," says Dr. Phil.

Jill Butler is a nurse who has attended over 1,500 deliveries and says she's never met a single husband who, at the end, wasn't glad he was there.

"You wanted data, so I brought you an expert with 1,500 experiences. Are you going or not?" Dr. Phil asks Matt.

"I'm going," agrees Matt. The audience applauds and Matt reaches for Kathleen's hand.