I once taught a private childbirth education series to a couple in their home. The mom-to-be was excited and eager to learn about her progressing pregnancy, labor and birth, and the importance of postpartum support. Her husband, on the other hand, wasn’t engaged at all. He’d impatiently walk in and out of the room as if the conversation didn’t pertain to him. During the scant few moments he actually joined his wife on the couch, it was abundantly clear that his text messages were far more important to him than anything we were discussing.
At first, I thought that the subject matter might be freaking him out or that maybe he was just super nervous (plenty of partners are). Perhaps I was boring him – who knows? What I did know for certain was that his wife was clearly embarrassed by his behavior, and at one point she huffed off to get a glass of water.
And so there we were, me and the husband. All alone. Yup, it was awkward – as in, “cue the deafening crickets chorus.” I was about to attempt some small talk when he put his phone down, glanced upward and locked eyes with me. “Look”, he said. “Can you just…can you just give me the top five takeaways here? What do I really need to know so that I can support her when all of this goes down?”
I thought to myself, “Like, wow. We just reviewed massage approaches, questions to ask on your hospital tour, 85 comfort techniques, a comprehensive packing list. Where the heck have you been, Sir?” And then, I took a pause, and decided to meet him where he was.
“Okay – here’s my top five: 1. Be present. 2 Be present. 3. Be present. 4. Live, eat and breathe the location of her lip balm. 5. Be present.”
At first, he looked at me quizzically. Then, after a moment of contemplation, he said, “Alright. That makes sense. I can do that.” I forgave him his discomfort, his rudeness, and his anxiety. He was going to become a father soon, and that is just about as big as it gets. After attending over 100 births and observing many partners, I know that what matters most to laboring moms is continuous support, plain and simple. And in case you’re wondering, the literature backs this up as well!
Many partners want a labor and delivery playbook to which they can refer. Most, at the very least, want an introduction to pro tips and tricks so that they aren’t caught unawares on the big day. But in the end, it’s all about showing up, stepping up, and being mindful. If you can do that, you’re well on your way to becoming the best support partner ever, and to learning what being a parent is all about.
There are a lot of decisions that you and your partner will need to make about birth. Hospital or at home? Who is in the room? Will you bank your baby’s cord blood? These decisions are best made after research and discussing what is best for your family. If you need more information on cord blood and it’s benefits, please contact us for a free information packet.