(Trust me guys you need this)
Having listened to so many stories about men getting into trouble whilst their partner is in labour and having guys that I have worked with come back and tell me “You were right, I did x and it didn’t go down well!!” No S***!! That will be why I told you not to do it!
So what will make everyone’s life easier during labour, and get you out of this alive?! These tips apply to all types of birth, just use your common sense and modify them slightly depending on circumstances. I could write you complete instruction manual, but let’s be honest, you would just glance at it and put it to one side and then guess how it’s all going to go anyway… So what’s the point?
So let’s keep this simple
Do as you are told!! Really. It may not be the way you were taught at your antenatal class, or what the book said, but she really does know how she wants to be massaged or rubbed. And yes if she tells you to shut up it because you are annoying her then SHUT UP. No, she doesn’t need you to keep talking to her to “take her mind off it.” Trust me, you won’t achieve that, and you’re probably just preventing her from staying focused!
And if she does want something, she wants it NOW!! Not when suits you, so react to all requests speedily and without question.
This rule overrides all my others, because if she is telling you to do something, and I have suggested differently, listen to her. I do not want to be cited in any divorce cases as the third party.
Be a Boy Scout. Be Prepared. Yes, I know she insisted on packing the bags for the hospital but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to know what’s in there and where it is! Make sure you know where everything is… and NO ‘man looking’, telling her during the middle of a contraction that you can’t find something, when it’s right there in front of you, won’t go down well either.
Gadgets. I know us blokes like gadgets, but don’t get too focused on that contraction monitor. IT’S not having your baby!! And trust me; she does not need you telling her “here comes a BIG one!” She will already know that!
Be Coach Sven. You are Sven and not Sir Alex; you are not to shout encouragement from the sidelines at the top of your voice. Yes she can do it, but she doesn’t need you shouting at her. Be like Sven – focused, calm, and offering support as required.
Extend your vocabulary. “You’re doing really well, Sweetheart” uttered the 10th time in as many minutes, will start to really irritate. You of course will be proud of her, she will be doing brilliantly, be amazing, awe inspiring. Have some ideas of different things you can say to show your support. Oh and anything you say, say it softly!!
Ok, if your eyes are starting to glaze and you are already looking at this like a manual, take a deep breath and keep going. This is for your own good!! You have only been reading for 3 minutes! Consider it preparatory training and focus!!! Ok, focused? Good, because the learning starts here… during labour your total focus is her and her needs. Your text messages, emails or even the football result can wait. Do not be constantly checking your phone.
Your partner needs to have your support; she will probably be scared at points, so hold her hand. Tell her it’s ok, even if you are scared too. During transition (end of the first stage of labour) the bout of adrenalin which is released into her body which triggers baby’s birth, can also make her feel quite low/as if she can’t do this anymore, so this is where you need to be at your supportive best. She can do, she is doing it, and baby is nearly here.
If it isn’t Broke…. Do not give in to the male natural instinct of ‘fixing’ things. You will undoubtedly at times believe your partner is in need of help, this does not mean you override any discussion before hand and start deciding things based on you feelings. You need to understand sometimes she will scream at you, she will swear at you, this does not mean she needs you to take control. You have a job here as her advocate should the need occur, you are there to make sure her wishes and requests are listened to. Write a birth plan together, discuss preferences in advance and make sure you understand what she feels strongly about.
Ok, so things are progressing and you are feeling tired? Back hurts? So what we going to do? Absolutely NOTHING you are not going to say anything at all! However you are feeling, it doesn’t compare to how she is feeling right now!!
Plan in advance if you think you would like to maybe take some pictures or video of moment baby is born get clearance. Some women will not want pictures under any circumstances. And even if you have agreed in advance she still has women’s prerogative to “change her mind”. This also includes disappearing down the business end to “just have a look”!
Do not rush off straight after the birth to announce it to the world, it can wait. Stay with her, get her glass of water, give her a cuddle, tell her how proud of her you are and make sure she is ok ………………. Ok, sod off, now you can go tell the world.
If at any time you are in doubt of what to do always refer back to DO AS YOU ARE TOLD!!
DaddyNatal supports men to become better birth partners and fathers. If you have any questions please email me Dean@DaddyNatal.co.uk