It depends who you’re asking.
Is it a generally acceptable preference? Sure. Is it okay with your husband, specifically? You’d have to ask him and decide from there.
Scared of Being That Exposed?
One of the main reasons women decide NOT to have their husband or significant other at the birth is because they’re worried about being that vulnerable, that exposed, in front of them. He may have never seen you grunting, pooping yourself (it will happen), shouting, swearing (maybe), losing full control of yourself.
You may have read stories about men who found their partners less desirable (for a time) after seeing them go through all that. And yes, it does freak some men out to watch their Mrs’ lower parts stretched to the extreme. Then to see a whole head pop out of her, followed by a slimy baby, blood (there can be lots), a wriggly looking umbilical cord and let’s not mention the alien that is the placenta.
Truthfully it may happen, but he will get over it, and so will you. He will find you desirable again, usually pretty quickly, and often way before you feel ready to hop back on.
Good Reasons to Have Him With You
If you can get over the fear of exposure, there are numerous benefits to having your husband present for your child’s birth. Unexpected medical decisions may arise, for example, where you need him to advocate for you and your child. Also, it’s important to note that scientific studies have literally proven that women exhibit less fear in intense situations when accompanied by their husbands. Pretty cool, right?
However, I suppose it also depends on the type of husband he is. If he becomes queasy easily, if he is not very supportive, or if he’d simply add more stress to your plate by being present, asking him to wait outside until the baby has been birthed is reasonable. He may even prefer it that way.
Still, the birth of one’s child can potentially be one of the most beautiful moments of one’s entire life. If his presence would do no harm, and if other concerns could be temporarily squashed, I would not rob my husband of this experience.
“No matter how independent and strong you believe yourself to be, labor is one of the most emotional, physically-intense experiences you’ll go through in your lifetime.”
If you’re becoming a mother for the first time, you may not yet realize just how much you may need to lean on your husband for support, both mentally and physically, on the big day.
Points You Might Not Have Considered
Unlike your doctors and other medical staff, your husband is familiar with your personality and your reactions. He can indicate to the medical staff when something doesn’t seem right with you and can be your advocate if needed. He can recognize your anxiety increasing and reassure you. He can communicate updates to your extended family, and he can also update you with what’s going on outside of the room.
Think about it: while expected, the actual timing of labor is often a surprise. You may have arrangements with a friend or family member to either care for your other children or take your dog out while you’re gone. Having your husband reassure you that everything is going as planned, calls have been made and all is taken care of is one less thing for you to worry about. That will allow you to fully focus on your breathing, pain management and laboring.
At the very least, your husband may provide enough support for you just in the form of hand-holding—a physical recognition that you both are responsible for– and have been waiting on– this moment. You’ve reached its anxious peak, and you’re in it together.
Is there another underlying Issue?
If he wants to be there, however, and you disagree, I’d firstly aim to focus on the root of the issue before dominating the circumstances of what will become a very special day for both of you. After all, your question relates to your husband, not just a boyfriend, and certainly not some one-night stand.
If your husband is not supportive of you, there’s a bigger picture that deserves examination well beyond delivery day. You should be able to look to your husband as a crutch when life gets challenging. Birthing the child you created together is tremendously intense, and you should be able to rely on him to see you through it. If you cannot, perhaps discussing the issues that concern you prior to delivery day would be useful. Marital counselling would provide you with the mediator that will keep your discussion calm and goal-oriented.
Of course, if you’d both prefer that he not be present for the birth for whatever mutual reasons you may have, what’s to worry about?
All in all, I would certainly exhaust all my personal efforts before excluding my husband from delivery day, assuming, again, that my decision is against his wishes. If the attempt to reconcile our differences or address his lack of support prior to that day fails, then I might reconsider our marital status.
Ultimately the decision whether to have your husband at the birth will lay with you – it is ok to say no – but don’t take it lightly and please don’t ignore his feelings. Hopefully you’ve started this discussion early on in the pregnancy leaving you both plenty of time to talk through every concern and eventually come to a mutual decision that you’re both happy with.