My husband won't be my birth coach—and we're both okay with that

Our doula Amy—calm, experienced, and a veteran of childbirth herself—was the right person to have at the helm.

My husband won't be my birth coach—and we're both okay with that

[Editor's note: This story is a an essay about a women and her husband. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]

The first birth I ever witnessed took place at home. It was my sister's fourth and by this point she was an old hand, as was my brother-in-law. There were two licensed midwives standing by, but they didn't get to earn their keep because my brother-in-law provided nearly 100% of the emotional support, coaching and delivery assistance. He was the one who caught my nephew and put him on my sister's chest. He, not a paid medical professional, was the first one to see his newborn son's face.


This all happened long before I even met my husband, but I always kept that image in the back of my mind as my ideal birth experience.

We've come a long way from the days when fathers were relegated to waiting rooms, pacing and smoking helplessly until the medical powers-that-be decided they were allowed to see their own wife and child. In the US it wasn't until the 1970s that it began to be considered normal for fathers to be present during delivery.

Fathers finally taking their rightful place by their wives' sides during childbirth prompted an exploration of what a father's role in the delivery room could or should be. While many fathers attended their child's birth as little more than a white-knuckled spectator, some fathers embraced a more hands-on role.

Dr. Robert Bradley, author of Husband-Coached Childbirth, developed the now-famous “Bradley Method" in which husbands are taught how to support and coach their wives through the childbirth experience. Many men got on board, successfully ushering their newborns into the world from hospital rooms or even at home, like my brother-in-law.

When we found out we were expecting our first child, I thought that was what I wanted. I dove head-first into the process of childbirth education, reading everything I could get my hands on, and writing and re-writing my birth plan obsessively. One night over dinner I was waxing eloquent about my new obsession with placentas when I realized that my husband was just not as interested in all this medical minutiae as I was. In fact, it was putting him off his dinner.

Slowly, I began to come to grips with the reality that my husband was just not my brother-in-law. My brother-in-law had assisted in delivering calves in his teenage years and the blood and guts of birthing had never phased him. My husband, on the other hand, when asked to watch Call the Midwife, looked at me as if I'd invited him to join in a Saw marathon.

I may have pictured a husband-assisted delivery as my ideal childbirth experience, but to him it was a worst nightmare. While I was imagining him coaching me through breathing exercises, tenderly cutting the umbilical cord and basically doing everything but pushing the baby out, he was psyching himself up to just get through the experience without vomiting on the floor.

As I got closer and closer to the big day, my own views on what kind of support I wanted from my husband during birth changed, too. Although I definitely wanted my husband there, both for support and so he could be present to welcome our child into the world, I didn't know how much I actually wanted him to be the one “coaching" me through childbirth.

It wasn't about not wanting my husband to “boss me." He's the one who taught me how to throw a Frisbee, shoot a bow, and use tons of obscure Excel functions. (I still find it hilarious that he set up an Excel spreadsheet to time my contractions during early labor.) But childbirth is a uniquely female experience, and I realized that for me it was important to be surrounded by female support, preferably from women who had gone through childbirth themselves.

We ended up having a doula: a friend of a friend who had had three children herself. My husband was there every step of the way, but Amy was the one who assured me over and over again that my body was doing exactly what it was supposed to do. Amy was the one who knew just where to apply pressure to counter the pain of the contractions.

Not only did she coach me, she coached my husband on what he could do to help me: sometimes supporting me in a standing position through an intense contraction, sometimes helping me remember to drink water when my body gave me a break. I wouldn't have wanted to go through childbirth without my husband, but Amy—calm, experienced, and a veteran of childbirth herself—was the right person to have at the helm.

Even without being a “Bradley Method Husband," the birth was a hard experience for my husband to go through. The blood and the fluids and the mess weren't easy for him to deal with. What's more, seeing me go through pain that he couldn't take away was so draining that he felt physically ill as soon as it was all over.

While I was enjoying my birth high, he was feeling sick as a dog as the adrenaline subsided and the whole experience caught up with him. But the point was that he was there, and he was there when it wasn't easy to be.

We're expecting our second now. This time, instead of jumping into a birth plan that assumed my Excel-sheet-loving husband would suddenly morph into Dr. Bradley himself, I sat down and said to him: “I know the last birth was hard for you. Be honest: Do you want to be there this time?"

He said yes. A little wooziness wasn't going to stop him from being at his baby's birth.

Birth is an individual experience, and it is different not only for every woman but for every couple, too. A husband-assisted birth is a beautiful experience, but it is not for everyone. I didn't marry a birth coach, I married my husband, and I wouldn't trade him for 10 Dr. Bradleys.

14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners
Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.


"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

Keep reading Show less