It does not really matter what birth your are planing and what is going to be in the reality – birth is always a life-changing experience, unique and existential. Many dads are saying that witnessing the birth of their child was one of the greatest moment of their life. So let’s talk about how you can prepare for this important experience and provide better support for the mother!
1. Just Be There
The most important point of being good support in birth is your presence!
I know, it sounds obvious, but what I mean is – being with the mother mindfully!
When you are present, you able to observe and truly see what she needs right now!
However, if you do not know what she needs (and while long process of labor you will find yourself in that situation at list several times) just be near, ready for support.
2. Don’t take what she says personally
Contraction most of the time is a very heavy sensation, so do not talk while she is having one! Ask questions and suggest any support in between contractions! The more close you are to meet your baby the harder it gets with emotions! If you hear something like “do not touch me”, “leave me alone” and other really touching words, please, know that it is not about you, it’s is about her pain! She is in a very challenging physical situation! Do not take it personally!
3. Take care of yourself
Clearly, you are going to be tired, you most likely will miss meals and forget about water! Please, try to take care of yourself, keep your battery charged!
Once I was a doula for a couple who was about to become first-time parents! Future father was so supportive, giving massages and back rubs to his wife, but next day he needed to visit chiropractic with severe back pain, as he spent a few hours in a row at the same position: bending forward to give those massages!
Make sure that while labor you fulfill your basic needs as well as mothers: food, stay hydrated, use the bathroom. If you are not comfortable you tense up your body and that is very contagious! You do not want to pass your tension to a birthing woman as this will lengthen hours of labor!
4. Learn pain relief techniques
Knowing a few tricks is essential for being able to give hands-on support! You can read about them in books, like “Birth Partner…” by Penny Simkin, you can take local childbirth education classes. That will give you confidence and a great help to your wife in birth!
5. Listen other dads and moms
Finding new friends who are about or went through a similar situation is very encouraging and stress-releasing! It is also helpful to talk with your female friends, sisters or mother and ask what was helpful and what they were missing while being in labor!
These are the top 5 tips, of course, there are much more details and points to pay attention! If you would like to learn more I invite you to take my birth partner preparation course (link to the service “Partner preparation”). After the course you will know about timing and stages of labor, you will learn hands-on support techniques and massage, you will know what and how to say to a laboring woman that will impact birth in a positive way!
I wish a great experience to everyone who is about to become a parent.