Alright ladies, let’s take a minute and talk about your baby daddy and his role when you give birth. I hear it time and time again about dads and the dumb things they say and do in the delivery room. It’s completely understandable to want to have the baby’s dad in the delivery room. He was part of the initial process, he should be there at the finish line.
The problem is when your partner doesn’t know how to act during the labor process. So go ahead, grab your husband, boyfriend, baby daddy, partner, whatever and have him read this. This post is for him.
This post is primarily focused on the male part of the parental unit because they sometimes need a little extra help understanding what we as women want, but by all means, let your wife or girlfriend read this as well.
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Appreciate Your Partner
First and foremost, Dads, you should bow down and kiss the feet of the life-giving goddess that has seen fit to have your child. Building a baby is hard. I mean really, really hard. You should appreciate each and every thing that she does on a daily basis because she has a person inside of her.
She is caring for that little baby in a way that you will never truly understand. She is nurturing it and supplying it with all of the vital nutrients that it needs to not only survive, but to THRIVE in this world. Be thankful each and every day that you are a man and will never have to go through any of this.
When the big day comes and that little baby is ready to make his way into this world, you need to be ready. She will be relying on you to be her support during the most important moment of her life. She will need you to not only be her rock, but to be her advocate as well. She will need you to handle things for her while she handles bringing your baby into the world.
So in order to help make the transition from couple to family as easy as possible, you should follow a few steps.
What NOT to do During Childbirth
When the contractions start, or the water breaks, the worst thing that you can do is panic. Panicking means that you are unprepared. You had nine months to get things together, please don’t tell me you procrastinated that badly??
Labor will take a while, so just relax and be there for her. If you are stressed, then she will be stressed, and that isn’t good for her or the baby. So just breathe and be happy. You’re about to become a dad!
Do not, under any circumstances, complain about ANYTHING. There is nothing under the face of the sun that you could be going through that will even come close to matching what she is enduring during childbirth. So don’t even try.
If you do have the audacity to attempt to complain, then you deserve any foul thing she says or object that she throws at you.
Say You’re Bored
Do not say that you are bored. This goes back to the complaining notion. You are not allowed to be bored. Labor is not the quick and easy thing they make it out to be in the movies. Especially if it’s the first child. It can take a while.
The average time for labor and delivery for a first-time mom is 12 hours. Mine, for instance, lasted 16 hours. You don’t get to be bored.
When planning for the things that you two will take to the hospital, make sure you pack some movies or music. (She gets to pick) If she wants to watch a movie to distract her from the contractions or listen to the same 5 songs on repeat for 12 hours, then that is what you will do. Just grin and bear it, and remember that you aren’t the one that has to push out a watermelon through a straw.
Just showing up to the delivery is not enough. You need to actually be a part of the process. If you wife is not sleeping, then you are not sleeping. Keep in mind that she hasn’t been able to sleep normally for months and she’s going to get a hell of a lot less sleep after the baby is born that you are. So just drink some coffee and push through it.
Do not eat anything in the delivery room. Especially if it’s smelly. When I was in labor, I ended up going for the epidural. While it was amazing for my pain, it meant that I wasn’t allowed to eat anything. 16 hours of labor and no food really sucked!
If my husband would have come in the room with a cheeseburger I probably would have murdered him. Don’t be that guy. If your wife isn’t allowed to eat anything, or if she still has her super-sonic pregnancy sense of smell happening, don’t eat anything in the delivery room. It’s just rude.
Describe Her Pain
Don’t tell her what her pain is or isn’t. You don’t know what childbirth really feels like. You will never know what she is really going through. Do not presume to tell her that her pain “isn’t that bad” because you’ve “had worse”. Don’t try to compare it to anything. There’s nothing that you can compare it to.
Be there for her in any way that she needs you to be. If that’s rubbing her back, holding her legs, letting her squeeze the life out of your hands, so be it. If it is helping her make it through her delivery experience then that is all that matters. You don’t get to win this one.
Ask for Gloves
Childbirth is gross, there’s no doubt about that. There are so many different bodily fluids and tissues involved with pushing out a baby. It’s going to be pretty nasty. Do not be the guy that asks for a set of gloves.
Your wife is giving birth to your baby. Asking for gloves makes it seem like you think the whole process is disgusting and you would rather be somewhere else. Don’t do that. Embrace the gunk and just let it happen. You can take a shower later.
Remember when I said childbirth is gross? I wasn’t kidding. Do not be the guy that can’t handle it. Passing out in the delivery room not only is embarrassing for everyone involved, but you’re opening yourself up for an entire life of ridicule as the guy that couldn’t handle the sight of a baby being born.
If you think you might get queasy, go watch some birthing videos. I remember the ones from 70’s that they used to show in middle school health class. Anyone else? There are probably some updated ones since then, but it could be worth checking out so that you have a better idea of what’s going on during the whole process and won’t be surprised.
Ways You Can Help
Now that we’ve talked about all the things not to do, let’s talk about ways that you can actually help during labor and delivery.
One of the best ways that you can be helpful during the whole labor and delivery process, is to know what to expect. Knowing the different stages of labor as well as common problems is a great way to be prepared before the big day arrives.
Pulling Curls has an excellent Prenatal Class for Couples that I would strongly recommend. The class is fully online so you can watch the videos whenever they are most convenient for you, but it is taught by Hilary who is a labor and delivery nurse so it is chocked full of great information. If you haven’t taken a prenatal course yet, then definitely take this one!
Be Her Advocate
Giving birth to a baby is a full body and mind experience. There may be times when your wife is unable and unwilling to deal with things other than pushing out her baby. You need to be ready and willing to be her advocate.
Her birth plan is your birth plan. Knowing how she wants to give birth and what is truly important to her will help you make the necessary decisions on her behalf when the going gets tough.
Be Her Bodyguard
In addition to being her advocate, you may need to double as the bouncer to the hip new club that is the delivery suite. As much as she loves and adores all of the friends and family members that have come to see her and the new baby, she probably will not want all of them to get the full show.
You guys should make sure and discuss, in detail, any and all people that should be allowed into the delivery room and also discuss at what point during childbirth they should be allowed in. Is your mother to be allowed in during the birth? Immediately afterwards? Or should she wait until after the first few hours until mom and baby have had a chance to bond and get through the first feeding? These are important considerations.
Knowing who she wants in the room ahead of time will keep you from having to guess later and it will also ensure that she is more comfortable. She’s going to be on display and she probably has a few people that she doesn’t want to see her in all her glory. Find out who those people are.
It’s a Whole New World
Just because you’ve seen her vagina in the past, does not mean that it is going to look the same while she’s pushing a baby out of it. Once you see that, you will never be able to un-see it. Find out how important that is to you.
I personally tried to convince my husband that he didn’t want to see any of that. I know I didn’t, but he was so fascinated by the whole process that he wanted to see everything. It’s up to you, but just keep those things in mind.
Capture the Moments
Talk with your wife and discuss what kind of documentation that she wants. Does she want a video, just photos? Anything she doesn’t want to be shown?
She may tell you that she doesn’t want any pictures because she won’t think that she looks good or whatever. Don’t listen to her. She’s going to want to remember this moment.
My husband snapped some pictures of me the first time I held my son. I was crying full on ugly crying, covered in blood and gunk, and only wearing a bra, but those are some of my favorite pictures. They remind me of how I felt the first moment that I became a mom. I wouldn’t change them for the world.
Be supportive, but don’t be surprised if she pushes you away. Your wife is going through so much bringing your baby into the world. She may want a few minutes to herself every now and then. She also may not want to be touched when she’s having contractions. How she chooses to labor is completely up to her and also completely unique.
Don’t be upset if she doesn’t need you every second, but definitely be available for when she does. When she decides she needs you, she needs you NOW!
Be Her Rock
The pain of childbirth is something indescribable. It is intense and horrible, but also reassuring and amazing. It means that the pregnancy is almost over and your baby is nearly here.
There may be times though, especially towards the end, when she will probably want to give up and not go through with it anymore. That’s generally a sign that it’s almost over. You need to be there to remind her not only why she is going through all of this, but that she is amazing for doing it.
She is bringing a person into this world. It is a truly magical thing that only women are capable of. She is a goddess and a warrior and you need to remind her that she can do this. Her body was made for this and this will not beat her. She needs to hear these things from you. She needs to know that you believe in her. Take it one contraction at a time. Don’t look at the clock and count how long it’s been. Only focus on the here and now and let her know that she is doing a great job.
Don’t let the idea of labor and delivery overwhelm you. You will make it through just like so many men have before you. Just remember that the day your child is born isn’t about you. You are the dad and you are important, but in that moment, you are not the primary. Your wife is doing an amazing thing. Make sure she knows how much you appreciate it.
Until next time!
- How to Make Your Pregnancy More Comfortable
- How to get More Sleep During Pregnancy
- How to Bond with Your Baby While Pregnant
- How to Survive Life with a Newborn