Congratulations, letís crack open a beer. You have a birth to support! Itís really not that scary, but beer goes a long way right?
Most blokes show up at the hospital with their labouring partner, hold her hand, have a snooze when the epidural goes in, and hey presto, the world wants to buy you a beer. More beer! WOOT
What can go wrong with this scenario? Weeeeell only a couple of things really. Let me make it simple for you. Pace yourself with that beer, image is everything. ]
Youíre not a very emotional creature are you. Thatís ok. But your wife / partner is probably open to expressing her emotions, and in birth sheís going to need you to help her. ďOMGĒ I hear you say. ďThatís not for me *gulp*Ē. But I think it is, I really do. I think you can do a perfectly fine job of supporting the birth of your baby, you just need to know a few tricks of the trade.
a homebirth after two caesareans and a previous stillbirth.
Crack that beer now. Weíre going to talk birth and support. Support from YOU, the man she adores! Did I mention that she ADORES you? In fact she adores you SO much that for years to come sheís going to be telling folks (randomly!) how awesome you were when she was in labour (this is like money in the bank, you wanna get it right)
First off you should know this:. Odds are good that she wants a natural birth. Most women plan to give birth without pain relief because itís better for babies. Believe it or not, major narcotics arenít optimal for babies OR women. But labour is hard (like no joke, itís hard!) and women often want drugs anyway. So when the push comes to shove (howís that pun for you? *satisfied wink*) you need to help your babyís mama get through the hard spots!
Speaking from the perspective of a woman who has given birth THREE TIMES without drugs I know that labour is ok. Itís transition that really stinks. Women can give birth without drugs as long as they are well supported emotionally and physically. Did I mention emotional support?
Holding hands is emotional for a woman in labour. Looking into her eyes and telling her what she needs to hear (you know her, you made a baby with her, you KNOW what she needs to hear) will earn you brownie points. It can mean the difference between birth and caesarean. Epidural vs VAGINAL. Ooops. I said vagina. Youíve probably never been exposed to vaginas before Ö...
Your wife will hate you in transition but she will love you forever after. You will be elevated to hero status after birth. And here is the biggest secret out. If you hire a doula you will have a partner in crime - Seriously! Doulas are great for supporting drug free births Ö.. and getting you off the hook *wink wink*. If she wants a doula you should sign on the dotted line. FAST!
Doulas wonít hold her hand when she wants you, theyíll get you a beer (have a homebirth if you want beer) or tea (hospitals like tea) while you gaze into her eyes and she tells you that she canít do it.
Doulas will hold her hand while you pee. Labour is long enough that youíre gonna want to pee. Doulas facilitate birth, they donít steal it from unsuspecting men. You should hire a doula because your wife wants you to be at the birth of your baby, not because she wants someone else to be there. She wants YOU. You were there at conception Ö.. we know you remember that.
The doula is there while I am too
Youíre longing to meet your baby, birth is a new thing to you, how normal! Donít expect your pregnant wife to display superhuman efforts. Expect yourself to be the very best birth support partner that ever happened. Itís ok to have a doula, it doesnít mean youíre less of a support, it means you can be MORE amazing for your partner while she does the hard work of bringing your baby into the world. (oh YEAH BABY!)
Birth matters to women and babies, itís an undeniable fact. But it also matters to blokes. So have realistic expectations of yourself. Be the best birth support partner you can be while your wife Ö.. makes push into shove. Remember that mothers are vital to birth stories but fathers are MOMENTOUS!