Quotes from the labour room.
“Stop breathing on me, go get some gum.”
“Leave me alone, don’t touch me.”
“I will not do that.”
“Give me back the gas.”
“I can’t do this anymore.”
Labour support people, if this hasn’t got you concerned, I don’t know what will. Prenatal education can help prepare you for the rare experience of supporting your partner through the marathon that is childbirth.
First, prenatal ed. will help you to know when things are progressing and you need to connect with your healthcare team. For our first child, it was a gift to know that as soon as the first contraction happened, we didn’t have to race to the hospital. Take the initiative, and get a sense of what labour will look like at its various stages. Second, prenatal ed. will give you a few tools in your tool belt for encouraging your partner. Believe me, you will need a few, your first few could get thrown back in your face. Third, prenatal ed. will offer suggestions on what physical contact might be helpful and give you a chance to practice. That being said, you still need to be prepared to be flexible. For example, what feels good in early labour, doesn’t necessarily feel good in active labour. Or, your partner may not want to be touched at all. Forth, and probably most important, prenatal ed. will help you prepare to see your partner face this incredible challenge. For me, knowing that when I didn’t think it could get harder, it would, was a gift because I had taken the initiative to learn how to be there for my wife. In those moments where labour seemed uncontrollable, I was able to stay strong knowing that this was part of the process to bringing us closer to our baby.
Whatever you do, don’t get offended. Don’t check out. This moment is less about you, and more about her. She may not know it yet, but she needs you to show up. So take some initiative, and get yourself prepared.
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